The Coos Bay–Charleston–North Bend metropolitan area, collectively known as the Bay Area (population 27,000), is the gateway to rewarding recreational experiences. The town of Coos Bay lies next to the largest natural harbor between San Francisco Bay and Seattle's Puget Sound. A century ago, vast quantities of lumber cut from the Coast Range were milled in Coos Bay and shipped around the world. Coos Bay still has a reputation as a rough-and-ready port city, but with mill closures and dwindling lumber reserves it now looks to tourism and other industries for economic growth. The waterfront is now dominated by an attractive boardwalk with interpretive displays, a casino, and the new home of the Coos History Museum, which opened in 2015.
To see the most picturesque part of the Bay Area, head west from Coos Bay on Newmark Avenue for about 7 miles to Charleston. Though it's a Bay Area community, this quiet fishing village at the mouth of Coos Bay is a world unto itself. As it loops into town, the road becomes the Cape Arago Highway and leads to several stunning oceanfront parks.