Along this beautiful stretch of the Pacific Coast, at North Bend, the highway is known as the Oregon Coastal Highway, and the Mill Casino Hotel and RV Park stands between the road and the Coos Bay waterfront. From the higher rooms the views across this waterfront are fantastic, and there are plenty of picture windows to take full advantage.
Mill Casino Hotel Rooms
All rooms in the hotel are spacious and to a deluxe standard, and all have cable TV with HBO and Showtime. There’s free wireless internet access throughout, and all the other amenities the modern traveler expects. The new 7-storey 92-room hotel tower includes six luxury suites with bay views, along with two outdoor hot tubs, an indoor pool, and a fitness room. There are also 115 cosier lodge rooms with a North-West style décor, and convenient for the Casino.
North Bend’s Mill Casino
As for the Casino itself, there are 700 slots along with Vegas-style table games, a 4-table poker room, a cash-back player’s club, a vegasplus club, and complimentary food and beverages in their Millionaire$ Club.
Mill Casino Wining and Dining
The Plank House Restaurant is the main dining option, with plenty of choice, several menus (including Early Bird and Senior Choices), and generous helpings at affordable prices – in good Casino tradition. There’s also a café, salad buffet, a bakery, and a Sports Bar and lounge.
RV Park at the Mill Casino in North Bend
Separate from the excellent hotel facilities is the Mill Casino’s RV Park. This has 102 level sites, with full hook-up facilities including cable TV. There’s free internet access too, and among the other facilities are showers, outdoor hot tubs, an indoor pool, access to a fitness room, a convenience store, and a free shuttle to and from the Mill Hotel’s Casino.
History of the Mill Casino in North Bend
The Mill Hotel and Casino was opened on the North Bend waterfront in 1995 by the local Coquille tribe of Native-Americans, in what had been an abandoned lumber mill. Since then the owners have added two more hotel structures, and an RV Park. Since 2001, a portion of the revenues generated by the hotel, casino, and RV park go to the Coquille Tribal Community Fund, which in turn gives grants to many non-profit organizations across five counties. So whether guests win on the slots and tables or not, someone wins out from everyone’s stay.
Oregon’s North Central Coast
Visitors heading for a beach holiday from Portland, Oregon, often head to the well-publicized towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach. But look just a few miles south of these popular spots and you’ll find quiet retreats along still bays, un-crowded ocean beaches, quaint fishing villages and state parks offering camping and hiking opportunities.
Along the way, the following stops are worth exploring.
The town of Tillamook was built on Tillamook Bay and has long been known for its dairy farms and cheese factories. The Tillamook Cheese Factory, on Highway 101 on the north side of Tillamook, is a popular tourist stop. You can watch the cheese being made, then visit the deli and gift shop. The following two state parks can be reached from Tillamook.
Cape Meares State Park
Beginning at Tillamook, Three Capes Scenic Route winds along the bay and the ocean to three scenic capes, including Cape Mears State Park. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the park offers great views, along with picnicking, beach access and hiking through coastal forest. A lighthouse built in 1890 is open to visitors daily May through September.
Cape Lookout State Park
Also accessed from the Three Capes Scenic Route just south of Tillamook, this park is spread over a headland and a spit enclosing Netarts Bay. There’s camping, beachcombing, old-growth forest hikes, nature trails and picnicking. At low tide, the beach reveals tide pools. The large campground is popular, so reservations through Oregon State Parks should be made early. The Cape Lookout phone number is 503-842-4981.
Garibaldi lies on the north edge of Tillamook Bay. It’s a port and fishing town with a picturesque boat dock, yummy seafood, charter fishing, and quaint shops. The popular Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad takes tourists between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach on a historic excursion train that runs along the bay and ocean. The round trip takes an hour and a half at a cost of $13 for adult coach. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 503-842-7972.
The town of Rockaway Beach, with its wide beach and touristy shops, is popular with visitors. Boats can be launched into Lake Lytle on the north end of town.
This picturesque village on Nehalem Bay was born in the early 1900s when a railroad carried lumber and seafood from Wheeler to Portland. Today the charm of those years remains in the well-tended vintage buildings that hug the scenic bay. A marina rents kayaks to explore the waters and several hotels offer lodging to tourists looking for a tranquil coastal retreat. Among the hotels is the restored historic Old Wheeler Hotel (contact them at 1-877-653-4683) overlooking the bay.
As you head north on Highway 101, the town of Nehalem lies on the highway, along the Nehalem River. A quiet, scenic town, it’s a good place to stop for a bite to eat at one of several restaurants along the main street.
Nehalem Bay State Park
This is a popular campground on a spit with Nehalem Bay on one side and the ocean on the other. Dunes piled up behind the ocean help protect the campsites from strong winds. Don’t be surprised to see deer among the trees. Besides beach play, there are bike paths, horse rentals, fishing, kayaking and a boat ramp on the bay. A day-use area is open to non-campers. Like Cape Lookout, early reservations are recommended. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-452-5687 or through the Oregon State Parks link above.
To explore this south to north route via the loop of highways described, take Highway 26 from Portland for about 20 miles to the Highway 6 interchange at Banks. From there, it’s about 70 miles to Tillamook. Highway 101 (Pacific Coast Highway) intersects with Highway 6 in Tillamook. All the towns listed here are on Highway 101, and the turnoff to Nehalem Bay State Park is clearly marked from the highway. From Nehalem Bay State Park, continue north past the Cannon Beach exits to the interchange with Highway 26. Follow Highway 26 all the way back to Portland.
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