Oregon’s Loneliest Beach has a Goldmine of Activities
Windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, camping, hiking, and fishing are all standard fare at this unspoiled lake where nature and human ingenuity work together.
The expansive coastline that borders Floras Lake has been referred to by some as “Oregon’s loneliest beach.” To the traveler who hasn’t had the opportunity to savor Southwest Oregon’s pristine coastline, it may well seem desolate. Vast stretches of sand banked by towering cliffs skirt the headwaters of one of South Coast’s most unusual rivers.
Windsurfing at Floras Lake
But to windsurfers and kiteboarders, Floras Lake is a goldmine. Shallow temperate waters, hearty north winds in the afternoon when the sun is warmest, and nearby ocean surf makes Floras Lake one of the hottest windsurfing locations on the Oregon Coast. Surfers who have braved the 40 mile/64 km per hour winds of the Columbia Gorge have tested Floras Lake and gone home impressed.
Seasoned surfers, as well as beginners, can all find space on this lake, which is bordered by a windsurfing and kayak shop that provides lessons during the summer.
Kayaking and Fishing on New River
But to sum up Floras Lake simply as a windsurfing capital is to do it a disservice. Floras Lake feeds one of Oregon’s shortest, newest rivers, a waterway that in turn nourishes the protected habitat of the brown pelican, snowy plover, and some 300 other species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
New River also feeds the insatiable appetite of diehard kayakers, who enjoy New River’s nine miles of mellow, meandering current during the summer and the winter’s stiffer currents during the north winds. New River’s nooks and crannies offer plenty to see and plenty of room to paddle.
Fishing enthusiasts find a good supply of Chinook and Coho salmon, as well as saltwater cutthroat during the fall. Steelhead populates New River from December to March.
Floras Lake Trail to Blacklock Point
Floras Lake’s banks are a magnet for beachcombing and walking, as much for the delicate dune flora that flourishes along the foredunes as for the sweeping vistas of the unencumbered coastline. There are two trail systems at Floras Lake: the Floras Lake Spur Trail, which leads northwest to the beach, and the Floras Lake Trail, which juts southwest and hooks up with the state trail system at awe-inspiring Blacklock Point.
But it is the merging of three distinct government parks that makes Floras Lake so extraordinary: Three natural settings are managed by the state, county, and federal jurisdiction and operate cohesively, providing miles of territory for enjoyment, education, and habitat preservation. The Bureau of Land Management manages the lands and waterways of New River, while the state oversees parklands south of the lake.
Floras Lake Camping & Bed and Breakfast
Adjacent to the windsurfing area is a county-managed campground with paved and rustic pull-in sites for 34 campers and RVs. There are no hookups, but RV’ers will find plenty of room for their rigs. Bathrooms and showers are centrally located. A trail connects with the windsurfing shop and lake.
For those visitors who aren’t into camping, the owners of Floras Lake Windsurfing manage a spacious bed and breakfast that overlooks Floras Lake. Will Brady and his wife Liz provide accommodations with four bedrooms. Floras Lake’s remoteness offers the perfect setting for getting away from it all.
Gold Beach, Port Orford, Bandon, and Coos Bay Attractions
It also is within easy commute of recreational activities both north and south of the area. Port Orford’s dramatic views, Gold Beach’s river rafting, Bandon’s golf courses, and Coos Bay’s shopping centers make heaven no so lonely at all.
Directions to Floras Lake
Follow US Highway 101 south from Bandon or north from Port Orford and turn west at Floras Lake Road, which is 1 mile south of Langlois. Watch for signs for Floras Lake Park.