Coos what? Coos Bay. It’s in Oregon. Specifically, in the southwest of Oregon on the Pacific coast. It’s part of the ridiculously beautiful region that covers the entirety of the west coast of the state, leaving seekers of sexy landscapes more than fulfilled at first sight of the area.
We headed to Coos Bay with a slow drive south along U.S. 101 after our visit to Vancouver, Washington. Dodging summer vacationers in their RVs and minivans, winding around hundreds of miles of two-lane roads, we landed on our temporary home at the Red Lion Hotel. Situated on the north end of town directly in front of the water, it’d be our home base for exploration over the next couple of days.
The lovely people at Red Lion Hotels are a supporter of our “Fabric of America” tour. They covered our stay, and we’re writing about it in return. This journey would not be possible without them (and you). Read about their support right here.
As this is a combo post about our stay at the hotel and our visit to the city, we must also throw our disclaimer in your face: This is not a post about “essentials” or “must-sees” or whatever else you want to call it in Coos Bay. It’s simply what we did with our time while we were there. You may choose to follow in our footsteps or do your own thing. Either way, we encourage you to give your suggestions in the comments at the end of this post.
Landing in town and a bit dizzy from all the aforementioned traffic and roads – and not to mention the gorgeous scenery – we were greeted at the Red Lion by the ultra-friendly Angela, who immediately accepted our joshing and insanity with a good attitude and recommendations for the area.
This hotel sprawls over its large land area, allowing for plenty of parking and long walks to even get from room to lobby. At a more compact hotel, that’d be replaced with an elevator, so we can thank the proprietors for a bit of exercise while we were there. Everything counts!
Unbeknownst to us, a suite was reserved in our name. A one-bedroom suite. I’m not entirely sure why we were given this room, but we were, and it was easily larger than some apartments we’ve rented. The main room was plenty big, so we literally closed the door to the extra bedroom and left it untouched during our stay.
Bed first! Plush and plenty of room to make it a bouncy house if we so chose. (We did not.) Pillows galore, cushy enough to cause us to mistakenly sleep in. Woops!
Louis immediately tried to hide himself in here – which probably isn’t too kosher for the hotel – so he had to be evicted. Regardless, hilarity.
And his look when he was being kicked out. “Not cool, guys. Not. Cool.”
So then, the desk was plenty big. Ang got crackin’ and loved all the space to spread out her work gear and everything else she could. She can easily fill every single millimeter on a work top. Here it is before being used and abused.
Once again, I was relegated to the lounge chair, but this hotel was nice enough to include the matching ottoman, which makes it about 1000x easier for me to work than when there isn’t one. It’s not a desk, but it’ll do!
The bathroom was up to Red Lion standards, which oftentimes means two vanities.
One inside, one outside the loo/shower area.
If you know Red Lion or you know our reviews, then you know that Pure products are standard here, keeping things green while keeping you clean. (I should trademark that. TM, me!)
Here’s the bedroom we didn’t use. I kept opening the door and checking to make sure no one came in the window to take a nap. Ha.
We also had the standard fridge in Red Lion rooms, this time with a microwave that went unused but is a nice addition and shows up at most Red Lion rooms in which we’ve set up our home base.
I guess the only downside is the old TV you can see in the above picture, but is that really a big deal? Probably not, but we do like to hook up the ol’ HDMI cable to watch our football (soccer to you hand-egg fans) matches.
Outside the room and across the parking lot is the pool. I didn’t ask if it was heated; but I probably should have, considering the wild weather that regularly occurs in this part of the country. It was only hot enough here for one young lad to take a swim while we were in residence, and I applaud him for his bravery.
It wasn’t cold in Coos Bay, but it wasn’t hot enough for anyone older than 18 and younger than 70 to think swimming in an unheated pool is a fun idea. The hot tub is probably a little more suitable, yeah?
This hotel is also an outdoor-entry property, which we’ve previously mentioned can irk some people. Because some people are crazy and have a false sense of insecurity about such things. If you read our site, then you know we love it and why we love it. So, no need to explain it again.
After a long day of driving and gawking, we didn’t really want to step into town for dinner. We thought this would be a great time to check out the on-site eatery, Brickstone Restaurant. We were greeted by Janet, another member of Red Lion’s friendly staff who was ready to facilitate our placement of shovelfuls of delicious treats into our bellies.
The restaurant had recently updated its menu to include more local fare, which makes it an additional nice touch to the locally-inspired theme of Red Lion properties. Good stuff, but we honestly think it could have been a bit tastier. Either way, it’s eons better than a lot of restaurants out there and we’d certainly give it another try.
After getting some work done and sleeping in late as previously proclaimed, we decided to see what Coos Bay has to offer.
The downtown area of the city is small, but features a whole heck of a lot of historic buildings.
True to a smaller town – despite being the largest on the Oregon coast with a population of around 15,000 – Coos Bay has quite a few antique shops.
We’d been searching for a specific gift for quite a while, and that led us to Leaf’s Treehouse. Probably the most diverse of all the shops on the main drag, we were immediately drawn to Brenda, the owner, and her partner John.
We’ll skip a rundown for now, as these guys get their own post. We won’t even tease you with pictures of them just yet.
Heading out of the shop, we walked to the small Coos Bay boardwalk, which features an old tug along with placards showing the history of the town and its logging industry.
We then headed down the plank to a small dock, where we found Fishermen’s Seafood Market and decided to stop in for a snack.
This joint literally sits on the water, fed by the catch each day from local fisherman.
It’s extremely tiny, but it feels as though the fish jumped directly into the pot, as it couldn’t get any fresher. The lady running the joint gave us the rundown of the place and was nice enough to throw a few minutes our way, explaining what they do and how they get the best goods in the city.
It’s a down-home, no-frills place, which is what makes it. This led me to talk a bit of smack to some patrons who didn’t think it was fancy enough to eat there. They lost out – more for us! Don’t miss it if/when you’re in Coos Bay. Seriously.
Still caught up in the afternoon, we made our way to nearby Charleston, which is closer to the ocean side of things and docks most of the recreational and fishing boats. Over the bridge to yet another peninsula, we took the winding roads that end at Shore Acres State Park and Sunset Bay State Park.
This needs no explanation.
Neither does this.
The botanical gardens don’t need it either.
Nope. Sure don’t.
No explanation necessary.
Okay, I’ll stop.
We had a few places on our mind for dinner, but Brenda and John at Leaf’s Treehouse told us the Coach House was the place to be. Not many tourists, small in size, and always packed.
Also, simply delicious. They said they’re regulars, and we hoped we’d see them there that evening. That didn’t happen, but we didn’t shed any tears while we were chowing down like madmen on the insanity of glorious cuisine served up by the kitchen staff and our fun waitress.
The inside, bar area, and outside patio were all packed, but the long wait for food didn’t deter us from utter enjoyment and taste-bud pleasantries. It was worth the wait.
Bellies full and eyes sleepy from a non-stop day in Coos Bay, we made our way back to the comforts of our room at the Red Lion Hotel. A bit of work, and then sleep came quick as we were off to dreamland and up the next morning to head to California.
Piece of cake. We drove from Vancouver, Washington, to the coast and took U.S. 101 all the way down to Coos Bay.
Even though they’re supporting us on our “Fabric of America” tour, we’ve found that Red Lion hotels are pretty much always the perfect base for exploring an area. Coos Bay is no exception, as the location directly on the 101 allows for easy access to the area. There are also plenty of distractions with TV, internet, pool, on-site restaurant, and more. The location of the hotel:
1313 N. Bayshore Dr.
Coos Bay, OR 97420
Tel: +1 (541) 267-2884
- Location: On the north end of downtown, making it crazy easy to get around as it’s right on the 101, across from the bay.
- Clientele: Great for families and business travelers alike.
- Technology: Fast wi-fi, free for an unlimited number of devices.
- Beds: Excellent and plush. Lots of pillows. Easy to sleep long and late.
- Rooms: Ridiculously massive, with a proper desk. Extra bedroom in this suite, more than enough space for a whole family. Direct access to outside and parking.
- Amenities: Cable TV, wi-fi, telephone, desk with a proper office chair, lounge chair, ottoman, end tables, refrigerator, microwave, restaurant, outdoor pool, coin laundry, fitness center.
- Bathroom: Plenty of soaps and lotions, good shower with plenty of hot water and fancy shower heads.
- Dining: Roaring Start Breakfast Buffet, unfortunately not included. Kids eat free, though. Brickstone Restaurant serves dinner with views of the water.
- Staff: Fantastic. Very helpful with recommendations and putting up with our antics.
- Cleanliness: Rooms are very clean. Property kept spotless 24/7, inside and out.
- Distractions: Outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, easy access to downtown Coos Bay and surrounding sights.
- Attractions: Downtown Coos Bay, Coos Bay Boardwalk, antique shops, Shore Acres State Park, Sunset Bay State Park.
- Snacks & Such: Small convenience store in the lobby.
- Value: Excellent for a mid-scale hotel. Can’t be beat in the Coos Bay area.
We covered the restaurants above, but here’s all the info for ya.
Brickstone Restaurant at Red Lion
1313 N. Bayshore Dr.
Coos Bay, OR 97420
Fishermen’s Seafood Market
200 S. Bayshore Dr.
Coos Bay, OR 97420
Coach House Restaurant & Lounge
604 6th Ave.
Coos Bay, OR 97420
I think we took plenty care of that above, yeah? Cool then. Scroll back up for all the info.
In summary, we had a blast in Coos Bay. We had no idea what we were getting into, as we’d randomly chose it as a stop after Vancouver and before we went to California. We’ll certainly have fond memories of it, and most certainly cherish our run-in with folks who call Coos Bay their home.
In addition, our hotel was the perfect combination of comfort and location – going so far as to be 2x bigger than any hotel room we’ve had on this trip. We couldn’t recommend it more, and think the entire area will be a nice surprise compared to some of the other insanely slammed tourist destinations on the coast. Just do it.
Have you ever been to Coos Bay? Did you visit any of the places in our post? Do you have any suggestions for things people should see when they stay in the region? Any other thoughts? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!