15 Best Things to Do in North Bend, OR

North Bend, OR
Michael Warwick / shutterstock.com

Nestled on Oregon's stunning west coast, North Bend is a city that boasts historic appeal, natural beauty, and outdoor adventure.

It is the second-largest city in the bay area of Oregon's Coos County and is the ideal place to visit if you want to travel somewhere with an abundance of possibilities.

In 1855, a shipbuilder named Asa M. Simpson arrived at the north bend of Coos Bay.

Seeing how the region was rich in coal and timber, he established a shipyard and hired artisans to build ships to carry wooden products that he would trade worldwide.

Then in 1899, his son, Louis Jerome Simpson, arrived and purchased the adjacent town of Yarrow.

In 1903, he merged it with his father's land to create the "City of North Bend," which grew into the beautiful city it now is.

Currently, the city is dubbed "Oregon's Adventure Coast" and is a favorite among those who want to experience a vacation full of adventure, nature, wildlife, culture, arts, and athletics.

Here are the best things to do in North Bend, Oregon:

Learn History at Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge

The Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge reflecting on the water
Debbie Tegtmeier, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge was originally named the North Bend Bridge.

Located on Kelso Road, this bridge crosses Coos Bay and spans 5,305 feet.

It was designed by Conde Balcom McCullough, an American civil engineer beloved during his time for designing many of Oregon's coastal bridges on US Route 101, Oregon Route 43, Old Highway 99, and many others.

Cars along Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge
Bjorn, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After two years of construction, the bridge was completed in 1936 and replaced the ferries that had formerly crossed the bay.

In 2005, the bridge was entered into the National Register of Historic Places to recognize its design and economic importance.

Go for a Swim at the North Bend Municipal Pool

The North Bend Municipal Pool is an indoor pool that was opened in 1956.

Swim teams from nearby high schools frequent the pool for its relatively cheap entrance fees, clean facilities, and filtered pool water.

It offers its visitors plenty of lockers and pool tools like kickboards, noodles, and weights.

The pool's depths vary from end to end to cater to the swimming needs of both adults and kids alike.

If you're lucky, you can get to join their bi-weekly sessions of Water Zumba.

Complete with lifeguards, swimming lessons, and nice and friendly staff, this pool has it all.

Schedule a Bowling Day at North Bend Lanes

Located along Virginia Avenue, North Bend Lanes is South Oregon's go-to bowling alley.

This bowling center has bowling coaches to teach your child the basics, and it is equipped with kid-friendly facilities such as plenty of bumper bowling lanes, lightweight bowling balls, and small shoes for kids.

It's a great little center that is clean, well-maintained, and dedicated to providing the best experience to bowling enthusiasts.

The center has a restaurant called Back Alley Pub, which has a wide selection of filling food and drinks you'll love.

Back Alley is also open for reservations if you want to host forums or celebrate birthdays, graduation parties, and other events.

Try cosmic bowling at North Bend Lanes and see bowling lanes glow in the dark with haze machines pumping out fog.

With all of these on offer, North Bend Lanes is the place to be.

Pay Your Respects at the David Dewett Veterans Memorial

A welcome respite on a busy stretch of Highway 101, the David Dewett Veterans Memorial is a lovely place to visit.

The memorial is beautifully situated on the arched part of the highway overlooking the McCullough Bridge and Coos Bay.

It was mainly built as a tribute to recall the sacrifice paid by all war veterans—both living and gone—including the fallen heroes of World War II.

A memorial area dedicated to prisoners of war (POW) and MIAs can also be found by the old railings from McCullough Bridge.

If you take a stroll, you will see the names, dates, and branches of service of those who have served or are serving our country etched in the brick pavers.

You would also find several granite monuments bearing poignant, meaningful quotations like "Offer me not your pity. It is understanding that I seek. For once I stood for something. I stood for you," written by a poet warrior named Nicholas James Weber.

Spend an Exciting Afternoon at State Street Park

State Street Park is a beloved park near the North Bend Fire Department Station 3.

Some call it Lion's Head Park in attribution to the iconic sculpture of its drinking fountain.

This lovely little park has an open, grassy field and a half-court basketball area perfect for an afternoon ball game with your family and friends.

It offers other amenities such as a few picnic tables, some swings, and a playground with two slides.

Take advantage of a unique opportunity to spend a fun afternoon roaming the quaint grounds of State Street Park.

Drive a Buggy at Spinreel Dune Buggy and ATV Rental

Located just north of Coos Bay off Highway 101 on Spinreel Road, Spinreel Dune Buggy and ATV Rental is ready to give you the complete dune and beach riding experience.

Rent a dune buggy or ATV to enjoy a one-of-a-kind Oregon dune and beach tour.

If you aren't prepared with your own equipment, you can rent the helmets and goggles provided.

Talk to their experienced guides or go on one of their vehicle orientations before heading on to begin your epic adventure.

Not to worry, though; the time doesn't start until you are ready, so you can take time to get comfortable and learn the vehicle operation.

Enjoy the three-mile trail towards the beach, then head down for about five miles to watch the dazzling Pacific Coast.

When you reach Swing Tree Hill, don't forget to take a snap and prepare to be taken aback by a bird's-eye view of the Oregon Dunes.

Take a Stroll along the North Bend Boardwalk

The North Bend Boardwalk on Harbor Avenue is undoubtedly a tourist destination, and there are some special things about it that locals continue to enjoy.

Stare at the open sky and exhale a mouthful of air as you try birdwatching on this picturesque boardwalk.

Relieve all your stress by doing other relaxing activities like train and ship watching, which you can do while quietly seated at one of the boardwalk's benches.

If you love company, enjoy the fresh sea breeze while walking your dog in the early mornings or late afternoons.

Try picnicking on the North Bend Boardwalk with your friends and family, and you are sure to make a beautiful portrait plastered to their memory.

If you are up for something more exciting, try their boat and kayak launching activity on a sunny day, and you will get amazing views of the avenue.

Browse through New and Used Books at Books by the Bay

Books by the Bay is a great little bookstore warmly nestled along Sherman Avenue.

It has been in the business of books for over 25 years and has built its reputation as an independent and reliable bookshop.

You will find books of almost every genre, including mystery, intrigue, romance, young adult, children's, and many more.

Don't be surprised to find all kinds of guidebooks and outdoor trip guides sure to enrich your getaway trip.

Looking for a specific book but can't find it anywhere on their shelves?

Books by the Bay can always place a special order for you if they don't have the book in stock.

Another thing to love about this bright and cheery store is that they are open to trading in and exchanging books with their visitors.

They have a cozy indoor coffee shop called The Grounds Cafe, which serves delicious coffee and pastries so you can have the perfect reading experience.

Catch a Performance at the Liberty Theatre

Exterior of Liberty Theatre
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Along Sherman Avenue, this once dilapidated playhouse was given a major shot at life when it was operated by the Little Theatre on the Bay acting troupe.

Designed by Portland architect John Tourtellotte, the theater was opened in 1924 as a 750-seat classic theater.

This historic theater is so well-loved that local businesses and patrons all donated to fund its restoration since part of it deteriorated over the years.

After being renovated, it is now a smaller and more intimate theater that seats around 400 people.

You can see a wide range of performances from live actors, comedians, singers, and dancers to plays and musicals.

Without a doubt, you'll be enthralled to see one of the Little Theatre on the Bay's shows, just as residents of North Bend and patrons from across southern Oregon are.

Take a Snap of the Amazing View from the North Spit Overlook

The North Spit Overlook is a viewpoint located at the southern-most end of the Oregon coastline towards the North Spit Boat Ramp in Coos Bay.

From up here, you'll see an abundance of sand dunes, forested islands, and wetlands.

Make sure to bring your camera to capture this extraordinary sight.

Stroll along the beach, and you might see an osprey hunting for fish and a variety of other mammals and birds visiting the area.

The North Spit Overlook is jam-packed with more activities and amenities that you can use to enrich your visit, such as a full-size boat ramp, ample trailer parking, restrooms, and running water.

Try Your Luck at The Mill Casino Hotel

A scenic spot on Tremont Street, the Mill Casino Hotel has over 200 rooms running along the banks of Coos Bay.

Guests love staying at this hotel as they have an in-house restaurant, bar, and 24-hour front desk ready to give you a thrilling hotel experience.

Try your luck at their open casino with over 700 slot machines and Vegas-style table games to complete your evening entertainment.

For guests who like to stay fit and fab, an indoor pool and a well-equipped fitness center are ready to gauge them towards wellness.

What's more, the hotel is generous enough to offer an ATM, free shuttle service, and free WiFi throughout the property so you can remain connected and productive during your stay.

Have Fun at Joey's Arcade & Soda Bar

Awaken the inner child in you and have a good time at Joey's Arcade & Soda Bar.

Whether you're dropping by Pony Village Mall or looking to spend a fun time without worrying about the kids getting bored, this arcade has got it covered for you.

This must-see arcade offers 15 arcade games, 10 pinball machines, virtual reality rooms, and a few big screens with the most in-demand console games.

Brush up on your winning skills and try a classic pinball and air hockey game at this arcade.

Don't forget to get your soda fix at their large soda bar that offers a wide selection of fizzy sodas, sweets, snacks, and premium roasted coffee.

They are also open for reservations if you are looking to host events and parties at the venue.

Splash around the Coast of Horsfall Beach

Just two miles north of Coos Bay, Horsfall Beach offers a unique blend of recreational opportunities.

Take in one of North Bend's beautiful sunsets on a long beach stroll at Horsfall Beach.

Follow a plank walkway towards an observation deck and sit on one of the two benches atop the beautiful sand dunes.

This way, you'll get to a better viewing point to admire the coast's beautiful shoreline.

Step back in time and see the Sujameco freighter, one of several shipwrecks that ran aground the shores of the Oregon Coast in 1929.

At low tide, this 324-foot steamship reveals itself like a ghost rising out of the earth.

Watch a Film at Pony Village Cinema

Situated inside Pony Village Mall on Virginia Avenue, North Bend's local Pony Village Cinema is an excellent place to catch a movie.

Owned by a local business group, locals find this cinema well-managed.

The cinema implements several customer retention programs such as membership and rewards, senior discounts, and the Coming Attractions Theaters, which offers a lot of bonus items.

Treat yourself by ordering a cup of coffee and watching a film in one of its several theaters.

They are available and open for reservations for those who would like to host birthdays, weddings, and conferences.

The Smiling Frog Gallery and Boutique is located on the Oregon Coast and features art pieces, local artisan products, vintage items, and other rarities.

Its owners and curators, Erik and Christi White, both artists and creatives in their own right, have long dreamed of opening their own gallery.

When the opportunity came up, they named it The Smiling Frog, after their family's six tree frogs.

What stands out about The Smiling Frog Gallery and Boutique is that it isn't your conventional art gallery.

It deviates against the rules a little and opts to use a party-like feel when choosing its colors, lights, music, and atmosphere.

Erik's newest pieces are what he calls "gravitational art," which he creates by mixing different colors of paints.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for a vacation full of adventure, nature, wildlife, culture, arts, and athletic, then North Bend is an excellent bet.

Make the most of your trip by visiting the city's fantastic tourist locations and engaging in all the exciting adventures on offer.

Start planning your adventure to North Bend today!