In many editions of Oregon Coast Magazine I’ve seen a partial or full-page Gold Beach advertisement listing an agenda of engaging entertainment to fill several days. Due to this superb promoting, my husband and I had allocated a day of our Brookings camping trip to head north 28 miles and explore. Bravo Gold Beach tourism board.

We set off for this apparently bounteous section of southern Oregon coast with no particular game plan. Beaches and boardwalks are usually not hard to find in coastal Oregon towns, and based on the slew of published activities, fun would be available around every corner.

We headed first to the Port of Gold Beach. As you enter you are greeted with, well, a floating pile of junk. Finding no explanation near the heap, I later found this on the Port’s website:

“The world famous Mary D. Hume, constructed in Gold Beach in 1881, has enjoyed a colorful life up and down the coast.  She spends her final days in the Port of Gold Beach.”

Wikipedia tells us she is on the National Register of Historic places, but at this point she is just the rotting carcass of an old steamer. I value history and I appreciate sea vessels, but I can’t say Ms. Hume is a welcoming view.

Steering past this rather jarring entrance, we passed a few meager shops and found some picnic tables by the river, but no boardwalk per se. We continued to the neighboring Rogue River South Jetty, which is rugged and tumultuous, as are most Oregon jetties. Although not optimal for walking, it turned out to be a highlight of the region. After perusing these areas we drove both upriver and north seeking choice spots to walk. With no such luck, we gave up and returned to Brookings.

I’ll be blunt…Gold Beach did not rate high with us. Some places “click” for one, and some just don’t. It was a soggy gray day, so maybe that was a contributing factor. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who have had a fabulous time in Gold Beach. Me, if I visit the south coast again, I’ll stick to Brookings, which is a wonderful mecca of coastal excursions.

I recently took a closer look at a Gold Beach ad. If you read more carefully than I did originally, you see that many posted activities are for points elsewhere – north in Port Orford or Bandon, south to the California redwoods. And, of course (although absent from the ad), Brookings is close. So perhaps Gold Beach is best as a hub for points nearby.

Port picnic area

25 Steps Wheels:

Patterson Bridge is a picturesque sight visible throughout the Port of Gold Beach. The picnic tables situated in grass by the water and boat moorage provide seated viewing of this Conde B. McCullough-engineered Rogue River overpass. The tables are close, but you can stroll along the sidewalk to lengthen your walk.

Walk Details for Port picnic area
Terrain: Flat pavement and sidewalk, followed by grass. Some tables are down a steep hill, but others are level with the sidewalk.
Seating: Several picnic tables
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: Yes, at the east end of the picnic area parking lot.
Directions: From the Port of Gold Beach entrance, head past the shops and through the large parking lot until you see the tables at the water’s edge.

South Jetty

25 Steps Wheels:

If you’d like to see where the Rogue River tumbles into the sea, continue past the Port of Gold Beach to the Rogue River South Jetty. A lone table sits overlooking the river mouth and jetty. The walking is rougher than the Port picnic area, but the white caps rolling in are more raw and rewarding.

Walk Details for South Jetty
Terrain: Rough dirt and large gravel on slight incline.
Seating: None
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: No
Directions: From the Port Picnic Area, continue east past the boat launch and airport on South Jetty Road. The picnic table is shortly after the left turn in the road.