Just $25 in December
Give the gift of the great outdoors this holiday season with an annual Oregon State Parks day-use parking permit. From Dec. 1-31, you can buy them for only $25–that’s $5 off the regular price of $30. Purchasing these passes is easy–buy them ONLINE, along with branded holiday gift gear, such as portable coolers, water bottles and baseball caps.
Parking costs $5 a day at 26 Oregon State Parks unless you have a 12- or 24-month parking permit or a same-day camping receipt. The 24-month pass is $50. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.
The Oregon Coast Passport is also discounted $5 in December. The passport is a multi-agency product, valid at Oregon State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service sites along the Oregon coast. The coastal passports are on sale for $30–regularly $35–in December.
You can buy the Oregon State Parks parking permits and Oregon Coast Passport at major Oregon State Parks offices, some state park friends’ group stores and local businesses throughout the state. See a complete list of vendors.
First time members of the nonprofit Oregon State Parks Foundation receive a free 12-month permit at the $45 membership level or above.
Visitors are the single largest source of funding for Oregon’s state parks. Revenue from RV registrations and the Oregon Lottery, dedicated by voters in 1998 and 2010, make up the rest.
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.
Day-use parking fees waived at 26 state parks
For the second successive year, the department will waive day-use parking fees at the 26 state parks that charge them.
“We invite you to join a new tradition: Green Friday,” said Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Sumption. “Why not skip the mall, and instead come out to play with your family and friends at your favorite state park?”
To help celebrate, the nonprofit Oregon State Parks Foundation is hosting special events at L.L Stub Stewart State Park, Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Champoeg State Heritage Area and Silver Falls State Park, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Hot drinks and snacks will be available, and visitors will be able to deposit entry forms for drawings to win prizes from Columbia Sportswear, Keen Footwear, REI and Leatherman Tools. Entry forms are obtained by registering at www.oregonstateparksfoundation.org. Completed forms must be brought to one of the four participating parks 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. that day. KINK-FM radio will host a special promotional appearance by Music Director Jared from noon to 2 p.m. at Champoeg.
Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the 26 parks that charge $5 daily for parking. The waiver applies from open to close on Nov. 25, except at Shore Acres State Park, where it expires 3 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. A list of parks that require day-use parking permits is at http://bit.ly/OregonStateParksParking.
Visit the Oregon State Parks website for directions to each park: www.oregonstateparks.org.