Each year, Shore Acres State Park is transformed into a glittering holiday wonderland that draws visitors from all over the United States and from around the world! What began as a modest holiday display organized by a handful of volunteers thirty-three years ago has grown into one of the most spectacular holiday light displays on the West Coast, and it keeps getting bigger and better year after year.
The whimsical display features 325,000 LED lights, garden landscape lighting, 26 large holiday trees decorated by various organizations and businesses, and dozens of 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 the business supporters, Friends’ members, park staff, and the more than 1,500 volunteers who make it happen for all to enjoy.
If you are planning a trip to the Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston area this holiday season, a stop at the light display is an absolute must but you’ll have a better time if you come prepared and follow these important tips.
#1 Plan Your Visit During Off Hours. As you can imagine, the event has become so popular (it attracts an estimated 50,000-60,000 visitors each season) that people are now being encouraged to see the display during the week. Friday thru Sunday can be very busy (Peak hours are from 5:30-7:30) with vehicles waiting in line to get into the park.
#2 Bring Cash. Admission is a parking fee of $5 per vehicle or a current OPRD Annual Parking Permit or 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, the traffic and the 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, be sure to enjoy the many other activities and amenities you’ll find throughout Oregon’s South Coast 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!
What: 33rd Annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres
Where: Shore Acres State Park
When: 4:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. each night Thanksgiving, Nov. 28 thru New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2019
Features 325,000 LED Lights, walk-thru display, an open Garden House with hot cider, punch, coffee, and cookies.
History of the Annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres The holiday lights event became an instant community tradition in 1987 when the Friends of Shore Acres, Inc. in cooperation with Shore Acres State Park decided to “string a few lights” to help celebrate the holidays. That first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one Christmas tree, and the open Garden House drew 9,000 visitors. Now, depending on the weather, it attracts – on average – 50,000-60,000 visitors each season.
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).