Sentinals Of The Sea – Bandon Sea Stacks, Bandon, OR

The stunning Bandon sea stacks

The more we stay here at Bullards Beach the more we are digging the area. Despite Paul’s back issues, this place has been one of the nicest stops we’ve done on the coast. The cool town of Bandon is only 5 mins away and is the kinda spot that’s not-too-small and not-too-big. A pretty coastal town with a port, a relaxed boardwalk, several good little restaurants, a selection of excellent services and even an artisan chocolate shop (you bet we’ve sampled it!). Since we’ve been here we’ve had several meanderings around cute Old Town, enjoyed some very tasty fish taco’s at Tony’s Crab Shack, and taken the lovely drive around the Scenic Ocean Loop.

But probably the most dramatic thing about Bandon, apart from its’ lovely lighthouse is its’ beach, and even if you come here for nothing else you should most definitely come for this.

And it’s all about the sea stacks.

Map of the Bandon Coast. Source:
Map of the Bandon Coast. Source:
Beach walk on a clear evening

Sea stacks are tall columns of rocks near a coast, isolated by erosion. There are many of these along the Oregon Coast, the most famous of which is Haystack Rock up up in the north by Cannon Beach. The ones here in Bandon are not nearly as large, but make up for it in pictorial beauty by their awesome variety.  Formed by volcanic islands that “rafted” into the Oregon coast many millions of years ago, these rocky sentinels erupt from the sea right off the coast and provide a stunning background to the beach.

And there are enough of them to occupy your camera for months. From Face Rock (as legend has it the face of Native American Princess Ewauna, daughter of Chief Siskiyou who was lured into the sea and drowned by the evil ocean spirit Seatka), to Witches Hat, Garden of the Gods, Table Rock, Cat and Kittens Rock and Elephant Rock. The Ocean Loop Drive takes you though all of them with several scenic overlooks and a ream of shapes and names to inspire both eyes and imagination.

Reflections of the sun

We’ve already taken a few trips to view these beauties, getting just a sprinkling of their moods. From a heavy day last week where the rocks were grey and wild to a brilliant clear walk that I did 2 evenings ago while Paul was having his acupuncture. And of course all are foot and paw-accesible. We may end up staying here at Bandon longer than originally planned (more on this to come), in which case I hope to capture even more dramatic shots of the rocks. In the meantime I’ll just leave you with a sprinkling of their tastes and (hopefully) a yearning for more.

P.S. The old hubby is still progressing well. We made it to walking around the campground loop yesterday, and he actually poured me a cup of coffee this AM which shocked me enough to make the remark “gosh, I’m not used to being waited on hand and foot”. Goes to show even an old dog can surprise a spring chicken such as myself.

Steps down to the beach from Face Rock Overlook
Bandon Beach on a moody day
Drawings in the sand
Textures from the sea
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  1. Sheryn says

    Hello! I’ve recently found your blog and am enjoying reading your posts. Your Bandon pictures are breathtaking! As a lover of Oregon (we live outside Chicago), I truly appreciate them. We have traveled the coast of California/ Oregon/Washington on 4 different trips and must say, there is nothing more beautiful than the Oregon Coast. We especially love Astoria where the Columbia meets the Ocean. If you have to be “stuck” in any part of our beautiful Country, that’s not a bad place to have to stay. Hope Paul’s back is better soon! That happened to my husband on a trip to Maine one time….takes some time, but it will get better!!

    • libertatemamo says

      Astoria is another of my favorite towns too. We spent over 2 weeks in that area last year and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.
      Appreciate the good thoughts for Paul…

  2. says

    Glad to hear that Paul’s back is progressing and waited on you :)
    We loved our short stay in Bandon especially the beautiful beach. Are the yellow flowers still blooming ? When we were there in late April the town and beach was adorned by the yellow flowers. Check out also the Cranberry Sweets, we liked the Jalapeño fudge.

    • libertatemamo says

      There are still some of the yellow flowers, although probably not as many as when you were here. Thanks for the tip on Cranberry Sweets. Haven’t been yet, but it’s on the list!

  3. flyfishnevada says

    That brings back memories. We spent a lot of time in Bandon last year attending to my father in law’s estate. Not all the memories are good one, but not can tarnish that beach. It is beautiful! We wandered up and down it many times to clear our heads. Drive south to Misty Meadows Jams. They have all kinds of yummy stuff. It’s only a mile from where my father in law’s place was. We prefer the Bandon Fish Market, but then again the lady we lived with in Bandon and became like a second mom to us used to work there. Hope Paul gets well soon and I’m sure those views don’t hurt.

    • libertatemamo says

      This beach is most definitely a prime spot to clear the mind. Thanks for the tips on Misty Meadows Jams and Bandon Fish Market (which I’ve heard is delicious from others too). More stuff to try while we’re here.

  4. says

    Ohhhh those fish tacos at Tony’s Crab Shack. Weren’t they fabulous?? (The salmon fish & chips at Bandon Fish Market are great too!)
    Loved the sea stacks…that whole area made us feel like we needed another week. Luckily, we’re close and that’s easily done. Glad you guys are enjoying it there!

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup, they were very, very tasty. Have yet to try Bandon Fish Market but it’s on the list.

  5. jil mohr says

    Loved this area…we were here way too short…but we will be back….

    glad Paul is getting better….

  6. Annetta says

    Absolutely stunning pictures of an absolutely stunning place! Thanks for sharing Nina, I so enjoy travelling vicariously through you!

  7. says

    Well, with all the time we spent in Oregon, all the times we’ve visited the Oregon coast, we have never stopped at Bandon. Perhaps we should “abandon” plans to go anywhere else than Bandon next summer!

  8. says

    In my quest for better photographic abilities, I must ask — how did you get that top picture! What exposure settings? Tripod? ISO? etc. That is a stunning picture, and I wanna be able to do that too!

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s actually a really simple trick. I used my little Canon S95 pocket-camera (handheld) for the top shot. The only setting I applied was exposure compensation of -2 and I let the camera pick the rest of the settings automatically. Whenever you’re taking “shadow” shots like this into the sun, going to your max negative exposure compensation will get you this kind of effect. The bottom “shadow” shot was taken with my “big” Nikon D7000 camera the same way…I simply applied -2 exposure to my regular settings (for landscape shots on my big camera I typically use f-stop of ~18-20, ISO of about 250 and my wide-angle lens).

  9. says

    Your photos, as always, are just breathtaking! Don’t know about the old dog (maybe he just walks like one right now) but hope that your possible change in plans doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Paul isn’t recovering as fast as you both had hoped. Take care!

    • libertatemamo says

      We’re staying at Bullards Beach State Park which is just 5mins from Bandon. Lovely park! Haven’t done a review yet but it’s coming.

  10. says

    Lovely, lovely photos. The Oregon coast is one of my favorite places on earth and the southern coast is usually a lot better weather wise than the rest. Glad you are having sunshine and enjoying your stay. Sure hope Paul continues to get better. And thanks for the photo tips in answer to Jerry’s question.

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks Donna! He’s doing SOooooo much better today. We’ve been very happy with the pace of improvement.

  11. says

    Nina: We are so enjoying your tour of the Oregon coast and hope Paul continues to get better! Can you answer a question for me–Mike, my husband, hates crowds–just how crowded is the Oregon coast this time of year–you mentioned how much you like the town of Bandon–how busy is it?? It is so incredibly hot here in Montana right now we are ready to desert the garden, fire up the motorhome and head for cooler pastures!

    • libertatemamo says

      I wouldn’t call the OR coast crowded, especially the southern coast. Nothing like traffic jams or anything down here and even in the middle of summer high-season there is plenty of empty beach space for all. But the campgrounds do get full in summer especially when the kids are out of school. Probably the best time for space is June or Sept (before or after school vacation).

  12. says

    Nina, thank you for the camera info. If I had taken those pictures myself, I’d clear a wall somewhere, enlarge them to poster size and hang them in platinum frames! Except in our small park trailer there are no walls that could handle that much display space. I’d have to build an addition to our casita! I guess you can tell I am impressed!


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