On a recent Monday, we headed to the Oregon coast to stay in a yurt at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We ventured through Florence, Oregon toward Reedsport and then to Winchester Bay for our one-night stay in a pet-friendly yurt so we could bring our family golden retriever, Maggie, on this summer adventure.

Umpqua lighthouse

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is located overlooking the famous Salmon Harbor on Winchester Bay on the southern Oregon coast. The State Park is surrounded by towering sand dunes. Part of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, these dunes reach heights of 500 feet and are ideal for the off-road enthusiast, or for the person who enjoys the magnificent wonders of nature.

Stay In a Yurt!

When we reached Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, we were greeted by a friendly camp host.  She informed us of park details and told us about a few park secrets mentioned later in this post. Our yurt site included a picnic table, fire pit, water faucet and back on to a forested area for the kids to explore. These warm and cozy yurts sleep five comfortably. The campground features bathrooms that are located close and only a few sites away.

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park also offers RV and tent campsites, along with two beautiful one-room log cabins with covered porches and overlook picturesque Lake Marie.

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park Secrets

Be sure to take in the one-mile hike around Lake Marie, a small freshwater lake, has a small sandy beach for playing in the water and sand, swimming or just relaxing. There are oicnic benches for snacks and pack out lunches.

You can also canoe and kayak in this lake-rich area – we saw three kayakers on the smooth and clear lake on Tuesday morning.

Lake Marie Kayakers

Umpqua River Lighthouse Tour

The namesake Umpqua River Lighthouse towers above the entrance to Winchester Bay, which is where the Umpqua River meets the Pacific Ocean. This 65-foot unique and historical lighthouse contains a distinctive lens that emits rare red and white flashes.

The lighthouse and adjacent museum are operated and maintained by the Douglas County Parks Department. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in Oregon that you can go inside all the way up to the lights, a total of 67 steps. The kids enjoyed hearing the history of the lighthouse and the three families that maintained this lighthouse many years ago.

Amazing Light Show at night from the Umpqua River Lighthouse

Be sure to drive by or walk by the Umpqua Lighthouse at night to witness the rotating red light flashes shining through the trees. This breathtaking sight is a must see. The beams of light shine through the trees like laser light show. We drove to the lighthouse at 10 pm and the fog added to the ambiance.

Where to Eat

Sol De Mexico is a great Mexican eats for lunch and dinner

Harbor Light Family Restaurant: this was our favorite Reedsport eatery – it has a fun, quaint atmosphere, generous portion sizes and friendly staff. The Harbor light has a great lunch and dinner with amazing seafood and outstanding clam chowder!! We wanted to try the Rum beer from Harry Potter but did not get the chance.

Time to Play

The Half Moon Bay Campground and Beach area is where we found a beach for the kids to play.  We found the water to be calm and a great place to find little treasures. The kids found small crabs, shells, purple rocks and even a large jellyfish laying on the sand. This beach is a great place to skim board and sand slide. You can also climb on the large rocks on the jetty and watch fishing boats go out to sea.

(Photo credits: puliarfanita and OCVA via Flickr)