Oregon’s Banana Belt is a Haven for Artists & Summer Adventurers
Gold Beach may be famous for its Gold Rush-era name, but it is its sparkling beaches, spectacular views, and intriguing river haunts that have put the town on the map.
Situated on a strip of coastline referred to as the Oregon Coast’s “Banana Belt”, the city of Gold Beach is a magnet for summer travelers. Its temperate summer weather and its proximity to the Rogue River have made it one of the top destination points on Oregon’s South Coast.
Summer Vacations on the Rogue River
A haven for fishing, boating, and river-rafting, the Rogue is well known by both wildlife and sporting enthusiasts. Class II, III, and IV rapids command much of the Upper and Middle (as well as parts of the Lower) Rogue, making the river a prime destination for river rafting. The lower end of the Rogue near Gold Beach lacks the punch and power of its eastern counterparts but is well known for its fly fishing opportunities and scenic boat rides. Designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1968, the Rogue lives up to its description both in beauty and in character.
Hikes and Horseback Riding in Siskiyou National Forest
Gold Beach derives its own name from 19th-century placer mining at the mouth of the river. Gold mining is pretty much a thing of the past in Gold Beach, but the town’s reputation for pioneer spirit lives on in its pristine surroundings and thousands of square miles of forest lands.
Hikers and horseback riders will find a wide range of trails to explore in the Siskiyou National Forest, many of which are accessible from its western end. The Oregon Coast Trail, which is a work in progress, features shorter walks and hikes around the Gold Beach area. A listing of trails is available on the Gold Beach Visitors Center’s online Hiking page.
Great Events for Writers and Artists
Gold Beach serves as the catalyst for numerous annual literary events. The Gold Beach Bookstore is one of the largest of its kind on the South Coast and hosts readings each month. It is a major resource for books on local history, sports, and fiction.
Popular attractions in Gold Beach include the South Coast Writers’ Conference in February, Annual Wine, Art and Music Festival (May) and the Festival of Quilts (September). A new addition, the Gold Rush Art Festival (planned for May), celebrates the South Coast’s thriving art community. Jet boat and hydroplane races, on the Rogue, receive top billing during the summer.
Mail Boat Tours on the Rogue
No adventure tour is more popular in Gold Beach than the Rogue Riverboat tours. Referred to as “mail boats” these jet-propelled vessels follow the route of the original 19th-century mail boats. Operation of these tours has been “grandfathered in” under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act since prop boats were in operation before the designation took place in 1968. Tours range from a few hours to several days and generally start in or near Gold Beach. Other popular tours in the area include ocean fishing, river fishing, horseback riding, and backpacking.
Fishing, Dining, and Scenic Vistas
The Port of Gold Beach is a homeport for both outfitters and seasonal fishing enthusiasts and is a popular place to enjoy fresh seafood. Port Hole Restaurant and the Nor’wester Seafood Restaurant are well-known for its seafood specialties.
Favorite espresso cafés include the Gold Beach Bookstore and The Cape, both of which offer specialty coffees and teas.
Lodging around Gold Beach includes camping and RV facilities north and south of Gold Beach and on both banks of the Rogue, as well as motels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and lodges. Amenity choices range from beachfront views in town to spectacular vistas spanning the South Coast and the Rogue River. Accommodation listings are available at the Gold Beach Visitors Center at the south end of town.