Port Orford is a small fishing town located on the coast of gorgeous Southern Oregon. Scenic views include lush forest areas and expanses of blue ocean. Its natural vibe is conducive to creativity.
As such, the area is rich in culture and outdoor activities that will fill your days with wonder and excitement. If you are planning a trip to Port Orford and are looking for things to do during your vacation, here are a few suggestions.
Visit Port Orford Heads State Park
This park may be small, but it offers fantastic views and fascinating insight to wartime history. It is the site of the Port Orford Lifeboat Station which was constructed in 1934 by the Coast Guard, providing lifesaving services at the Southern Oregon Coast until 1970. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The station includes an observation tower and boathouse as well as an Officer in Charge residence and a two-story structure that housed the crew. A steep 500 step staircase connects the Crew Quarters to the Boathouse. Today, the Crew Quarters serves as a museum that exhibits historical artifacts, a 36-foot unsinkable lifeboat and accounts of the station’s history.
In addition to the Lifeboat Station, the park also has terrific hiking trails. Its three main trails, Cove, Tower and Headlands, start at the museum. The Cove trail will take you through fascinating sites including the remnants of the boathouse, which burned down in the 1970’s, and the partly deteriorated stairway to Nellie’s Cove.
The Headland trail provides World War II lookouts where troops watched for enemy aircraft. It extends north towards the Cape Blanco Lighthouse and south to Port Orford and Humbug Mountain.
Enjoy Water Sports
Port Orford sits on the ocean making it an ideal location for water activities. Guests can enjoy kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, kiteboarding, and windsurfing.
The town has some of the best surf breaks on the South Oregon Coast. The waters south of Battle Rock Park and the Hubbard Creek are known for being popular surfing destinations. Experienced surfers flock to Battle Rock Park, while Hubbard Creek has friendlier waters that are fun for surfers ranging from beginner to advanced.
Port Orford is also fantastic for scuba diving. Divers enjoy exploring underwater caves and shipwrecks. The waters are known for providing high visibility making them perfect for exploring.
Fish at the Port of Port Orford
The town of Port Orford offers a unique fishing experience at its headland-protected national harbor. The Port of Port Orford hosts a small fishing fleet of about 30 boats, but it is unusual in that no boats are moored in the water. Rather, a dolly dock is used to lift each boat out of the water with a large crane.
The boats are transported on the dollies and lifted by cranes into the water. It’s an interesting process to watch and it’s sure to add something special to your fishing adventures. The Gray Whales often seen swimming around the area will also make the experience more unique. After you’re done fishing, head over to Griff’s on the Dock, a small restaurant that serves local seafood.
Explore Battle Rock Park
Battle Rock Park is another Port Orford park worth exploring. Enter the center of town, and make your way towards Humbug Mountain located some five miles into the distance. The mountain rises 1800 feet in the air before falling into the Pacific Ocean.
On your way to Humbug Mountain, you will hike through the offshore rocks that make up the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve. This marine and fish life habitat is one of five Oregon Marine Reserves dedicated to conservation and scientific research.
Battle Rock is a narrow rock that rises from the beach and stretches across 400 feet. When tides are low, you can walk along the surface of the rock to take in the magnificent views.
The rock is so named due to a skirmish that occurred in 1851 between the Tututni people and a group of nine men who came ashore to establish a settlement. The settlers quickly learned that Tututni people did not take kindly to unwelcome guests on their property and fled the rock when the natives launched an attack.
Visit Cape Blanco State Park
Cape Blanco State Park is located five miles north of Port Orford and it is very much worth the trip. It includes over eight miles of hiking trails that lead to the beach, Sixes River (an ideal fishing location), a 19th-century lighthouse, and an early Irish settler’s home. Hike or go on the seven-mile horseback trail to enjoy the magnificent views.
While at the park, be sure to check out the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Built in 1870, it is the oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon coast. It is currently closed for tours, but the gift shop is open. You can also catch a magnificent selfie from the outside.
You can also check out Historic Hughes House, a 3000-square-foot farmhouse constructed in 1898. It is full of Victorian charm. When open for free tours, you can check out the interior and learn about early 20th central farm life.
A day in Port Orford doesn’t necessarily have to be spent on the water or hiking rocky coastlines. If you prefer a metropolitan vibe, there is plenty to see and do.
The Hawthorne Gallery features large abstract paintings, blown glass pieces, modern sculptures, and more. Add to your artistic adventures by traveling the Port Orford to Bandon Art Trail to find various pieces of public art.
Have a Great Trip!
Port Orford is a small coastal town, but it offers big adventures. Whether it's enjoying the great outdoors or staying in your Wander Orford Cliffs home, our concierge desk can set you up with a fun activity.