Scenic USA - Oregon

Cape Arago Lighthouse

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Cape Arago Lighthouse - Coos Bay, Oregon

Photos by Ben Prepelka

     Selecting the most scenic beach in Oregon is not only an unenviable task, but nearly impossible. Here, the beauty of Sunset Bay State Park is undeniable and places it on the state's top beaches list. Its enticing sand beaches are surrounded by cliffs that tower above the shoreline, a perfect spot for beachcombing, fishing and swimming. A web of trails is woven throughout the coastal forest and along the rugged coastline. From on top of the headlands, visitors enjoy views of Point Gregory, the Cape Arago Lighthouse and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
     No longer needed by the maritime community, the Cape Arago Lighthouse was deactivated in 2006. Of course lighthouse fans hoped for a different outcome, and finally received a ray of hope from a legislation bill transferring the Cape Arago Lighthouse over to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw. Under the bill, the lighthouse (the third built on Chief’s Island since 1866) must remain available to the general public. The transfer was completed on August 3, 2013, and the land was returned to the tribes by the Coast Guard at a ceremony held on the lighthouse grounds.
     Located 12 miles southwest of Coos Bay from U.S. Route 101, lighthouse fans will find Cape Arago Lighthouse just off Gregory Point. Perched 100 feet above the ocean, the 44 foot tower is not open to the public at this time. An overlook a quarter mile south of the Sunset Bay campground entrance offers a good view of the lighthouse. When you stop to visit, listen for the lighthouse’s unique fog horn.

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