If you’re visiting coastal Oregon, be prepared to get close to Mother Nature. Among the many state parks dotted along Highway 101 — which runs along the Oregon coast — is William M. Tugman State Park (oregonstateparks.org), where you’ll find tall trees, a tranquil lake and birds flying overhead. You’ll also be close enough to the Pacific to smell the fresh ocean air. As you might expect, the things to do in this part of west-central Oregon largely center around the outdoors.
Oregon’s sand dunes are a big draw to those looking for an action-packed vacation.
With its location on Eel Lake, William M. Tugman State Park is a haven for those who love water sports. This includes fishing for largemouth bass, rainbow trout, steelhead salmon or crappies. You can fish right from the dock or use the available boat ramp. Visitors also swim, canoe and sail at the lake, and a small sandy beach give you an area to lie down and enjoy the sun.
ATV riders race around at a spot very close to Tugman State Park. At more than 40 miles in length, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, the longest stretch of coastal sand dunes in North America, provides extensive terrain where motorcycle, quad and ATV riders can play. Those without ATVs come to the dunes to hike, whale watch and photograph the scenery. If you want to rent an ATV, a number of rental companies operate in Reedsport, Coos Bay and Winchester Bay.
After all that local activity, you’ll need a place to rest your head. Tugman State Park has 94 campsites available close to Eel Lake, providing water and electrical hookups for RVs. Because the park is near a number of hiking and biking trails, the campground also has a hiker/biker area for campers who don’t have motorized vehicles to park. The campground also has 16 yurts, self-contained structures that include heat and bunk beds. If you want more entertainment, the campground offers a Junior Ranger program as well as interpretive displays. Use the Reserve America website (reserveamerica.com) to book camping reservations.
With its location in a remote area just off coastal Highway 101, the park and surrounding areas also give you the opportunity to slow down a little and enjoy the wildlife. Within the park, visitors may be able to spy deer, eagles, cranes or osprey flying among the cedar and fir trees. For more focused information on local wildlife and culture, visitors can also visit the Umpqua Discovery Center (umpquadiscoverycenter.com) in nearby Reedsport.
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