Reminiscent of an old time fishing village, Charleston is an unincorporated community in Coos County. It was established in 1853 and named after Charles Haskell, the settler who filed the claim on the land along Coos Bay's South Slough. The South Slough is an arm of Coos Bay that passes south, through Charleston and links it to three state parks along the coast: Sunset Bay, Shore Acres and Cape Arago.
But don't let the size of this small fishing village fool you. Home to one of Oregon's largest commercial fishing fleets, Charleston is located 8 miles from Coos Bay at the entrance to the 10 mile long bay that runs from Coos Bay past Bandon and Charleston before spilling into the Pacific Ocean. Charleston is also home the Oregon State University's Institute of Marine Biology.
The Marina is host to charter boat captains, sports fishermen, crabbers and recreational boaters. At the harbor you can find everything you need from fishing tackle to seafood and shops. A walk along the docks gives visitors and locals alike the chance to purchase fresh seafood straight from the boats, drop crab pots, dig for clams and view the harbor. A trip out into the open water provides opportunities for fishing the bay waters. The Bay produces everything from salmon and steelhead to rock fish, ling cod and crabbing.
A trip south from Charleston will bring you to Sunset Bay. A unique inlet of water with rocky outcroppings at the mouth of the bay, seems to provide a different climate. The waters are warmer and there is normally less wind than the typical Oregon beach. Sunset bay is a popular spot for kayakers and scuba divers as well as swimming and tidal pool exploration. A short trek south from Sunset Bay brings you to Shore Acres.
Shore Acres is perched high atop rugged sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was built on what was once the estate of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson. Shore Acres is comprised of a multitude of gardens with plants from all over the world which provides for gardens where flowers are in bloom almost year round. From Thanksgiving through New Year's eve, the gardens are decorated with a breathtaking display of lights to celebrate the holidays.
It's hard to believe that such a small little town can provide such a plethora of activities and sights to see. From sightseeing to boating and kayaking, hiking to beach combing and tidal pool exploration there's never a dull moment in Charleston. Throw in the fishing opportunities and this makes Charleston a great place to be!