verb: to experience visually
From scenic viewpoints and majestic flora to historic presentations and art installations, experience all the beauty and culture that Reedsport and Winchester Bay have to offer.
Open daily; Oct – Feb 10-5 PM. Mar – Sept 9-7 PM. Last tour leaves one hour prior to closing.
As the first in Oregon, and one of the first four on the west coast, the Umpqua River Lighthouse is just one of the 2,000 nationally recognized historic sites in the state. Its tumultuous history began in the early 1850s after locals demanded a solution to the half-dozen vessel crashes in nearly as many years. The local Siuslaw tribe used the Umpqua River as their primary fishery, so the erection of the lighthouse caused unrest between the tribal members and the crew.
Ultimately the crew prevailed and built the lighthouse’s first iteration in 1857, which was destroyed by a storm just four years later. The current version wasn’t built until 1893 but the south coast sentinel stands strong today. Visit the museum located in the coast guard building to tour the lighthouse and learn its full history.
Open year-round, dawn to dusk.
Heading in from the east on Highway 38, with just about three miles to go before you reach Reedsport, you’ll come across the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. Whether it’s the destination or a stop along the way, Dean Creek is open year-round and welcomes visitors from dawn to dusk.
The resident herd roams the 1,000+ acres of marshland, sharing the sprawling meadows and mountains with a variety of neighbors. Amongst the abounding menagerie are great-blue herons, coyotes, variable rodents like beavers and nutria, otters, and even bears. The creek’s also a main migration route making it a primo spot for bird-watching so bring your binoculars.
The viewing area has universal bathrooms, making the site fully accessible for all visitors. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Pack a picnic, set up in the gazebo, and unwind in great company.
Open Tues-Sat 10:30-4:30 PM & Sun Noon-4 PM. Oct 1-June 15 the center closes daily at 4
With observation platforms, periscopes, and murals by local artists the likes of which visitors have described as created by “Disney Imagineers”; there’s truly a lot to see at the Umpqua Discovery Center. Learn about the rich history of Tsalila, (sa-LEE-la) — the ‘Umpqua River’ in the indigenous Kuuich dialect of the Coos language — slide into the Bear Cave, and be transported to the Reedsport of yesteryear.
After you’ve made your rounds within the center, the nearby landing is an excellent boat launch to set off and enjoy the lower Umpqua River. But don’t forget to visit the gift shop on your way out for a keepsake to commemorate your visit! It’s filled with unique Reedsport regalia and trinkets from local artisans.
‘Magic hour’ isn’t some arbitrary term. it’s the last hour of the day before the sun descends below the horizon, retiring for the day and inviting the stars to take over.
The South Umpqua Jetty, Ziolkouski Beach, and Oak Rock are top contenders for where to spend it. But don’t take our word for it. Get out there and see for yourself.