Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston are known as Oregon's Bay Area. With the largest natural harbor between Seattle and San Francisco, Coos Bay is a major shipping and manufacturing center. Until the recent lumber shortages, it was also the largest timber shipping port in the world. North Bend, along with Coos Bay, forms the largest urban area on the Oregon Coast. Travelers on US 101 will see foreign vessels coming into the docks, massive wood chip piles for paper production and formerly bustling lumber mills.

Charleston, nine miles west on Cape Arago Highway, is an old waterfront fishing village. It is also a premier sports fishing harbor, and one of the state's busiest commercial fishing ports. Recreation is also a favorite pastime in the bay area. Three spectacular state parks offer many diversions to visitors. Sunset Bay State Park, located southwest of Charleston on the Cape Arago Hwy., has a small, protected bay surrounded by picturesque cliffs. It is suitable for swimming, which is unusual for the Oregon coast. Divers, surfers and boaters also enjoy the warm bay waters. Year round camping is available, as well as hiking. Watching the sunset over the ocean from the cliff side trail, which connects the three parks, is a popular activity. The park is near one of the three golf courses in the Bay area.

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