Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the Holiday Season on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston is about to be in full swing!
We were thrilled to announce recently that the Coos Bay-North Bend-Charleston Visitor & Convention Bureau , in conjunction with Travel Oregon , The Ford Family Foundation and First Student Bus , will now offer “Santa’s Shuttle”, a FREE wheelchair-accessible shuttle that will transport riders to and from Annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres this year!
Yes, you read that correctly. This is a FREE Shuttle Bus that will serve as an alternative way to see the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres for those who do not wish to make a parking reservation in advance. Here are some details you’ll need to know.
The shuttle will run on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (plus Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve) from November 23rd through December 31st. Visitors who wish to see the holiday lights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Sundays will need to reserve their parking passes with the Oregon State Parks online system . Remember, this is reserving a Timed Specific Parking Pass, and you will only need one per vehicle (not per person).
These shuttles will depart from the Charleston Marina every 20 minutes between 4:15 pm and 8:00 pm, and are expected to transport between 80 and 100 guests per hour to the lights.
The last Shuttle will leave the marina at 8:00pm to give folks enough time to enjoy the lights before the park closes at 9pm.
There is no need to make a reservation for the shuttle. It will run on a first come, first served basis, so get there early!
It’s the perfect way to enjoy the enchanting lights display at Shore Acres, and will help keep more cars off Cape Arago Highway. Click here to learn more.
If you plan to take the shuttle, we hope you will take some time to explore the local shops, restaurants and community in and around Charleston, Oregon! This small, unique fishing village is known for its friendly merchants, fresh seafood, fishing, and more! The Charleston Marina Complex is one of our favorite spots to watch the busy commercial and recreational fleets come and go as the fishermen bring in the day’s catch. With nearly 200 commercial fishing boats and 250 or so recreational boats, the docks and boatyard are busy year-round.
Here are some other destinations to look out for while exploring our distinctly charismatic local community.
Learn more about local marine life and coastal ecosystems at the Charleston Marine Life Center (CMLC), part of the OIMB - The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology , located in the marina, overlooking the water. The CMLC is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 11am-5pm and will be closed Thursday November 23rd for Thanksgiving.
Before catching your shuttle from the marina in the early evening, head to South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, where you can explore miles of beautiful wooded trails, explore open water channels, tidal and freshwater wetlands, riparian areas, and forested uplands. Take a self-guided tour through this protected area of land and estuary, and you’ll likely spot various birds like Bald Eagles, Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Egrets and Belted Kingfishers.
Look for the lighted Crab Pot Tree in the parking lot of Fisherman’s Grotto restaurant! The Charleston Fishing Families celebrate the season every year with this colorful, lighted Crab Pot Tree. Lights from the tree can be seen from Cape Arago Highway and across to the Charleston Marina! Photo courtesy of Chris at Off the Edge Photography.
Grab a bite to eat! Some of our favorite spots (in no particular order) are Portside Restaurant & Lounge, Monkey Business (their Clam Chowder, made fresh every day, is popular with locals!), Fisherman’s Grotto, Miller’s at the Cove, and Cape Arago Café & Espresso among others. Visit our Oregon’s Adventure Coast Dining Page and download one of our dining guides for more information.
Spend the day exploring the downtowns in Coos Bay or North Bend before heading to see the lights! Take a spin around the Only Ice Skating Rink on the Oregon Coast in North Bend; look for Ruckus the Reindeer and the Mischievous Elf on the Shelf while shopping in eclectic shops for those one of a kind gifts; and enjoy delicious treats and wonderful coffee beverages at local shops and eateries.
Whether you’re here to see the lights, or here to see family (or both), we look forward to having you visit and explore Oregon’s Adventure Coast this holiday season! For more travel inspiration, see our Holiday Happenings page, our Adventures page and our Trip Ideas page to see all there is to do on Oregon’s Adventure Coast! Or request a visitor’s packet today .