Shore Acres State Park in the State of Oregon is perched atop a small, jagged, and rounded sandstone cliff above the Pacific Ocean. This 745-acre park is along the Cape Arago Highway and is 13 miles southwest of U.S Highway 101 and Coos Bay. Shore Acres State Park is known for its all-year bloom from the beautiful floral gardens plus the evergreen shrubs and trees like the Monterey pine there. The park's ruggedness and artfully designed and manicured botanical gardens are a great attraction to thousands of visitors.

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History of Oregon's shore acres park

In 1906 and 1907 Louis Jerome Simpson a shipbuilder and lumberjack built a three-story mansion to be an ocean-front summer home for his wife Cassandra Stearns. The mansion had a large ballroom and a heated indoor swimming pool. Its grounds had five acres of formal gardens that included a Japanese-themed garden around a 100-foot lily pond, a modern farm, and a dairy herd. Trees, shrubs, and flowers dotting the grounds were brought by Simpson's ship from around the world.

After Cassandra died in April 1921 the mansion burned down in July that year. After Simpson remarried Lela Gardner he started building a larger mansion. But in 1928 when the stock market crashed because of the 1930s Great Depression, financial losses badly impacted Simpson's wealth and he became bankrupt. As a result, the house and its facilities fell into disrepair. In 1942 the state of Oregon purchased the estate from Simpson and turned it into a public park that is today Shore Acres, State Park.

What to do at Shore Acres State Park

Feel the Bloom

Each day of the year, depending on the weather there are plants or trees with flowers in full bloom at Shore Acres State Park. The park has a blooming schedule for different trees and plants that informs visitors when to visit to see their favorite flowers. The season for each blooming flower is as follows:

  • February to March - Spring Bulbs and Daffodils
  • March to April - Tulips
  • April to May - Azaleas and Rhododendron
  • June to September - Roses and Flowering Annuals
  • August to October - Dahlias
  • A deciduous and evergreen perennial, shrubs, and trees from around the world like the Monterey Pine bloom all year round.

Any questions on the Shore Acres State Park blooming schedule can be answered by calling the park's staff at 541-888-3732.

Holiday Lights

The spectacular Holiday Lights tradition was created in 1987 when Friends of Shore Acres put up a few lights to celebrate the holidays. During the first season 6000 tiny lights, a large Christmas tree, and the decorated and open Garden House attracted 9000 visitors. Today at least 325,000 light-emitting-diode (LED) and landscape lights, multiple Christmas trees, and lit sculpture displays are used and also adorn the festive open Garden house. The Holiday Lights attracts on average 50,000 to 60,000 visitors each season from around the world. Holidays celebrated start at Thanksgiving all the way to New Year. The Garden House has name scrolls that pay tribute to everyone who makes this tradition possible, including over 1500 volunteers. There are many visitors during each holiday day so the best time to visit is on a weekday.

Simpson Reef Overlook

Simpson Reef Overlook is to the south of Shore Acres State Park. From here visitors get spectacular views of the sprawling and rocky intertidal zone, kelp forest, tiny islands, and rocks in the blue Pacific Ocean waters. The overlook is among the best location along the US west coast to see marine mammals. Visitors get to see the five species of pinnipeds plus the harbor and northern elephant seal species that breed there. Migratory California and Steller northern sea lions also rest there. During the spring and fall seasons, the reef hosts thousands of seals, sea lions, and diving duck species. Other bird species like the ospreys and the pelagic cormorant can be seen. In summer gray whales can be seen plus the killer (orca) and blue whales. Visitors can bring binoculars, spotting scope, or powerful telephoto lens to get closer views of the marine wildlife resident there as well as a camera for pictures.

Weddings

Due to its beauty Shore, Acres State Park is an ideal venue for weddings. It has seven sites where weddings can be held. These include:

  • Garden House (inhouse)
  • Pavillion Area
  • Pavillion 24
  • Site A with rose beds
  • Site B Pavillion Access
  • Site C Pond Entrance
  • Observation Building Lawn

Visitors wishing to have their wedding at Shore Acres State Park can contact the management by calling 541-888-3732 to get more information on the facilities' protocol.

Visiting shore acres park

Shore Acres State Park opens from 8 AM until dusk all year including holidays. Entry is free but a $5 fee per vehicle is charged as a parking fee and strictly paid in cash. There is also an information and gift center open from 10:30 PM to 4:30 PM daily, run by Friends of Shore Acres. At the information and gift center, visitors can buy items relevant to the history and natural features of Shore Acres State Park. Pets are not allowed in the park.

Other places to visit

There are places in proximity to Shore Acres State Park worth visiting. These include:

  • Cape Arago State Park-Hike and picnic
  • Sunset Bay State Park-Camp, picnic, swim, fish, boat
  • Cape Arago Lighthouse
  • Yoakam Point State Natural Park-Hike
  • Coos Bay-Golf, Beachcomb, Picnic, Camp, Hike Fish
  • Bullards Beach State Park-Hike, Bike, Horse Ride, Camp
  • Cape Blanco State Park-Hike, Bike, Horse Ride, Bike

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