Beloved Holiday Tradition is Coming Back to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston in 2021!
Since 1987, the Friends of Shore Acres, Inc., in cooperation with Shore Acres State Park, have delighted tens of thousands of visitors per year with its magnificent display of holiday lights without fail - until the COVID-19 pandemic stopped everything in its tracks in 2020. Though we did celebrate the holidays a little differently last year, it was not the same without the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres.
You can only imagine our joy last month when organizers announced this beloved holiday tradition will be back for the 2021 holiday season! This is certainly one of our favorite local holiday traditions, and it has captured the attention of media, residents, and visitors from all over the country and around the world.
Though it’s only July, event volunteers will soon be hard at work preparing for the triumphant return of the popular Holiday Lights display, and we encourage you to book your accommodations as soon as possible. This festive annual lights display debuts on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 25, 2021) and will light up Shore Acres from 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m. each night (including Dec 24th & 25th) thru December 31st, 2021.
The tradition began in 1987 when a group came together and decided to “string a few lights” to help celebrate the holidays. That first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one tall Christmas tree, and the decorated and open Garden House drew 9,000 visitors. Who knew this would one day bloom into one of the most anticipated holiday events on the Oregon Coast, featuring 325,000 dazzling lights (both LED and landscape), 26 Christmas trees, dozens of lighted sculptures, a performance pavilion, and a festive open house? Here are some of our favorite memories from years past-
The walk-though display features 325,000 LED lights, garden landscape lighting, 26 gorgeous holiday trees decorated by various organizations and businesses, and dozens of whimsical lighted sculptures, including life-size whales, animated sea lions, an undersea garden, Koi underwater in the pond, a leaping frog in the pond, leaping dolphins and more. Enjoy hot cider, punch, coffee and cookies inside the Garden House. Long scrolls of names pay tribute to business supporters, Friends’ members, park staff, and more than 1,500 volunteers who make it happen for all to enjoy.
Here are some tips to get the most joy out of your visit:
#1 Plan Your Visit During Off Hours. The event has become so popular that people are now encouraged to view the display during the week. Friday thru Sunday can be busy (peak hours are from 5:00-7:30), with vehicles waiting in line to get into the park, sometimes for hours.
#2 Bring Cash. Admission is a parking fee of $5 per vehicle, or a current OPRD Annual Parking Permit, Coastal Passport, or current state park campground receipt. The entrance booth does not accept credit or debit cards, only cash or checks. The Friends welcome donations for refreshments and for continuing the event the following year.
#3 Arrive Early. As mentioned in tip #1, the holiday light display draws tens of thousands of people to this area every holiday season. We recommend beating the crowds and arriving early so you can enjoy the beautiful view at the sea wall, browse through the Information & Gift Center (opens at 3:30 p.m.) and see the spectacular gardens before it gets dark. Besides, you will want to experience the magical transformation of the lights at dusk.
#4 Don’t be afraid of a little rain! Here in Oregon, a little rain shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the sights! Not only are the lights beautiful in the rain, but traffic and crowds tend to be much lighter on rainy evenings. Just pack your umbrella, a weatherproof coat and some sturdy shoes - you won’t even notice.
#5 Come for the lights, stay for the sights! While you’re visiting, enjoy the many other activities and amenities you’ll find throughout Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston this holiday season. Not only are we home to one of the best breweries and some of the best seafood restaurants in the region, but Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston are also wonderful destinations for some fun holiday shopping!
Shore Acres State Park is located at 89039 Cape Arago Highway (GPS address), Coos Bay, Oregon 97420 (13 miles southwest of the cities of Coos Bay/North Bend). If you need assistance with lodging and accommodations, please visit the Oregon’s Adventure Coast Lodging Page.