Saturday, June 25, 2016

Charleston, Ore. - a working fishing village

Charleston Marina is the heart of "a working fishing village."  (Julianne G. Crane)
Summer is the perfect time to explore small fishing communities along Oregon's coast. One standout is Charleston, just a couple of miles south of Coos Bay.

This small working fishing village came on our radar when we passed through it on our way to camp at Sunset Bay State Park (about four miles south) and visit the perennial gardens and grounds of Shore Acres State Park.

Parking lot viewed from our space at Marina RV Park.
As for parking your rig--a perfect place for recreation vehicles, of any size, is the marina lot, only a few blocks off Cape Arago Highway. Turn west onto Boat Basin Road and follow it, less than 1/2-mile, to Guano Rock Blvd.; turn right and you will see the marina parking lot.

 If you are going to stay longer than just driving through, pick up a "Chart a course to Charleston" brochure with features a wonder map of all the community's attractions.  They are available at many business and at the Visitor Center, 91141 Cape Arago Highway, (541) 888-2311, May 1-Sept. 30. 

Fishermen’s Wharf market & cafe.  (Julianne G. Crane)
 The brochure offers many places to visit including the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology Marine Life Center.  Also worth a consideration are:

-- Fishermen's Wharf Seafood Market,  63534 Kingfisher Rd, Charleston, Ore.; Tues.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Monday. (541) 888-8862

Mike, owner of market, is ex-Coast Guard (Julianne G. Crane)
Located on the D-Dock in Charleston’s scenic boat basin, this family-owned business offers "only the freshest local fish and seafood products," according to owner Mike LeDoux, a former Coast Guard guy. “Our business depends on the fishermen," says Mike. "We will not underpay them, and we will not overcharge you.”

The day we were there live crab were moving around in their 250-gallon salt-water tank.

Miller's At The Cove opens at 11 a.m., daily.
-- Miller's At The Cove, 63346 Boat Basin Road in the Oyster Cove Plaza, within easy walking distance of the harbor and Marina RV Park. Open everyday starting at 11 a.m.

We asked a couple of locals about a casual place for a beer and good fresh seafood. They raved about Miller's.

On the Friday evening we visited, it was busy with both locals and tourists. That said, after we were seated, I walked up to the small sports bar to check out what was on tap. The friendly bartender, also the owner, offered recommendations of local micro brews and offered samples ($4.50 pint).

As for dinner, we took advantage of the Halibut special (6 pieces with fries for $19.95; two fish tacos for $9.95). Quick, friendly service. Six TV monitors were showing soccer and baseball.

For more information on camping overnight while exploring the area or going on a fishing charter, click here to read more on the Charleston Marina RV Park.

--Julianne G. Crane

To read more about the RV lifestyle, go to

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cape Arago Light near Coos Bay, Oregon

Cape Arago Light from viewpoint on Sunset Bay State Park trail. (Julianne G. Crane)
Cape Arago Light is perched on a small three-acre island a few hundred feet off Oregon's mainland, roughly 10 miles southwest of Coos Bay on the Cape Arago Highway. The lighthouse and the land it sits on are not currently open to the public. And, there are only a few places it can be seen from land.

Cape Arago Light (Julianne G. Crane)
Spotting it was one of our rewards for hiking a short section of the Oregon Coast Trail that meanders through the coastal forest from Sunset Bay State Park to Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park.

The original Cape Arago Light was erected in 1866. The current lighthouse, the third, was constructed in the early 1930s, and is the only surviving structure on Chief’s Island. To read about Cape Arago Light’s full, rich history, click here.

RVers Jimmy Smith (pink cap) and Sharon and Ron Vail (Powell Butte, Ore.)
Another place for RVers to get a view of the lighthouse (bring your binoculars) is a pullout with parking for most-sized rigs.

From Highway 101 in Coos Bay, take Newmark Street west. Newmark Street will become Cape Arago Highway.  Follow Cape Arago Highway about 12 miles to Sunset Bay State Park. Shortly after you pass the entrance to the camping area on your right, and before you reach Shore Acres, there will be a pullout area on your right from which you can get a distant view of Cape Arago Light.

Cape Arago Light:
Latitude: 43.34123
Longitude: -124.37543

Julianne G. Crane
To read more about the RV lifestyle, go to

Photos: (Double click on images to enlarge) (Top two images) Camp Arago Light taken from viewpoint along hiking trail south of Sunset Bay State Park. (Bottom) RVers Jimmy Smith (pink cap) and Sharon and Ron Vail (of Powell Butte, Ore.) look at the Oregon Coast and lighthouse in the distance from a pullout area along Cape Arago Highway. (Julianne G. Crane)