Celebrate the holidays at Oregon State Parks
Join us for lights, hikes, whale watching and traditional holiday festivities. All events are free, although some parks may charge a $5 day-use parking fee. See the event calendar for all upcoming activities.
Green Friday Free Day-use Parking
When: Open to close Friday, Nov. 25.
Where: All 26 Oregon State Parks that charge a day-use parking fee. One exception: the day-use parking fee applies at Shore Acres State Park, AFTER 3 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve (see event below).
Information: See Visit a state park for free Nov. 25
Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park
When: 4-9:30 p.m. nightly, Nov. 24-Dec. 31
Where: Shore Acres State Park (park information and driving directions)
89039 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay
What: Walk through an outdoor holiday light display of 325,000-plus LED lights and “light sculptures” of pelicans, puffins, jellyfish, a life-size leaping orca whale, butterflies, sea lions, leaping frogs and much more. This is the 30th year since the Friends of Shore Acres first decided to “string a few lights” in 1987. Look for a new lighted sculpture in the Undersea Garden and another animal on the “Exile Gate” behind the pavilion. Shop in the volunteer-run gift shop and visit the historic Garden House for hot cider, punch, coffee and cookies.
Cost: $5 parking per vehicle; purchase parking permits at the park, or display a current OPRD campground receipt, an OPRD annual parking pass, or a coastal passport. No charge for lights viewing.
Information: Friends of Shore Acres
39th Annual Christmas Festival at Silver Falls State Park
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: South Falls Day-use Area, Silver Falls State Park (park information and driving directions)
What: Visit Santa and enjoy live music, refreshments, a winter hike, make-and-take wreaths and other Christmas crafts. Stop by the Nature Store for park-inspired holiday gifts.
Cost: $5 parking per vehicle; purchase parking permits at the park, or display a current OPRD campground receipt or a current OPRD annual parking pass. No charge for most activities.
Christmas in the Cookhouse and Collier Memorial State Park
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: Collier Memorial Logging Museum, Collier Memorial State Park (park information and driving directions)
46000 Highway 97 N., Chiloquin
What: An old-fashioned Christmas celebration with snacks, story corner, make-and-take ornaments and other activities for the young and young-at-heart.
Cost: Admission is free, but a canned or dry-packaged food donation for the local food pantry is appreciated.
Information: 541-783-2471, Ext 23.
Winter Solstice Celebration at Tryon Creek State Natural Area
When: 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Where: Tryon Creek State Natural Area (park information and driving directions)
11321 SW. Terwilliger Blvd., Portland
What: Celebrate the changing of the seasons on the shortest day and longest night of the year. Learn the science behind the solstice, explore the forest during an evening guided walk with a trained naturalist, make a winter craft and enjoy treats from a Dutch oven.
Cost: Free; no registration is required.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area (park information and driving directions)
Historic Hughes House Victorian Christmas and lighthouse tours at Cape Blanco State Park
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 26.
Where: Hughes House and Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Cape Blanco State Park (park information and driving directions)
Cape Blanco Road, Port Orford
What: The Cape Blanco Heritage Society opens the elegant 1898 Victorian farmhouse especially for the holidays. Local clubs, churches and organizations decorate the 12 rooms, and Heritage Society volunteers host the open house, which includes cider and cookies. The Victorian Shoppe at the Hughes House sells unique gifts.
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse will also be open for tours, weather permitting.
Cost: Hughes House: free; donations accepted. Lighthouse: $2 per person; 15 and younger free.
Information: 541-332-0521 or 541-332-0248
Winter Whale Watch Week
When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. daily, Dec. 27-31
What: Trained volunteers will help you spot gray whales during the winter migration and share information about their feeding habits and explain why the whales are on the move.
Cost: Whale watching is free, but some sites (state and federal) may charge a day-use parking fee.
Information: Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center, 541-765-3304. Open Wednesdays – Sundays (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
First Day Hikes
When: New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2017.
Where: Visit our events page and search with “First Day Hikes” for a list of parks hosting hikes, meeting locations and hike times. Check back for new hikes.
What: Ring in the New Year with a guided hike.
Cost: The usual $5 day-use parking fee is waived for all visitors at participating parks Jan. 1 only.
Information: Look for our First Day Hike story mid-December.