Miners dubbed their coastal settlement “Gold Beach” in the early 1850s when they discovered gold in the sands at the mouth of the Rogue River.  Previously, the settlement had been known as Ellensburg, named after Ellen Tichenor, the daughter of a sea captain who founded the nearby city of Port Orford. 

In the years 1855-56, miners and settlers from the Gold Beach area fought several battles against Native Americans of the region known as the Rogue River Indians.  During battles, the settlers built a number of forts along the coast, including Fort Miner, about a mile and a half north of Gold Beach.  At the end of 1856, the government forced Native Americans to resettle on reservations.

In 1858 Gold Beach became the county seat of Curry County.

In the long run,  there wasn't enough gold around to keep the river of money flowing.  The community survived mainly on income earned from Salmon fishing.

In 1876, R.D. Hume established a fish cannery in Gold Beach at the mouth of the Rogue River. The following year, he built a salmon hatchery to replace some of the native fish from the river.  From this time on, fishing began to replace mining as the main economic activity in Gold Beach.  Abundant supplies of salmon, as well as steelhead trout, shell fish, and sea urchins supported a prosperous commercial fishing industry.

Commercial fishing for salmon on the Rogue River increased after 1908.  Shortly thereafter, the size of salmon runs decreased dramatically on the Rogue and other rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest due to over-fishing, drift netting, and timber harvest practices.  Commercial fishing on the Rogue River ended in 1935.

Following the closure of commercial fishing, sport fishing in the area has become even more popular. 

Eventually, timber harvesting grew to be Gold Beach’s largest industry until over harvesting and other factors contributed to a shortened supply of timber beginning in the early 1980s.  In 1986 the local Champion plywood mill closed its operations.  The US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management own much of the remaining timber in the vicinity of Gold Beach.  Increasingly stricter environmental regulations and other restrictions on the sale of public timber contributed to the closing of the remaining timber mills in Gold Beach.

The community’s natural resources continue to draw large numbers of tourists and sport fishermen to the area. Yearly festivals and events include the Curry County Fair, Rogue River Salmon Derby Competition, Bike the Rogue, and the Annual Fireman's Breakfast