This state park, dramatically located atop a cliff overlooking the ocean, combines natural coastal beauty with manicured formal gardens.
Rarely do manmade and natural beauty coexist as seamlessly as they do at Shore Acres State Park. Visit this Oregon park that successfully combines formal gardens with rugged cliffs and breathtaking views.
Shore Acres was originally the estate of Louis Simpson, a Coos County magnate who made his fortune in the timber industry. After facing financial ruin in 1942, he sold the land to the state of Oregon for use as a park. See the gardens and some of the buildings that Simpson commissioned, which remain major parts of the park today.
The park has a striking location. It is perched atop towering sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Take advantage of the beautiful panoramic views that surround you. It is not uncommon to spot gray whales swimming by on their migration route.
On the site of Simpson’s mansion, an observation center allows you to watch storms roll in across the water from the safety indoors. A series of interactive displays trace the history of the Simpson estate.
The formal gardens are the crown jewel of the park. Set on 5 acres (2 hectares) of manicured land, they include a Japanese lily pond and two rose gardens. Find flowers and plants from all over the world here; wide varieties are in bloom throughout the year.
From Thanksgiving until New Year’s, the gardens are transformed into Shore Acres Holiday Lights. See the thousands of twinkling lights and sculptures that make this a must-see holiday spectacle.
Follow a small path down to the secluded beach located at the foot of the cliffs. This cove is the perfect place to search for shells or go for a swim. Elephant seals frequently come up on the beach to molt.
Shore Acres Park is located on Cape Arago Highway. It is just 13 miles (21 kilometers) from Coos Bay and Highway 101. The park is open every day until dusk. While there is no overnight camping on site, there are several nearby places that you could stay.