Oregon’s beloved coastal gardens at Shore Acres State Park will light up for the 32nd annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres event, which kicks off Thanksgiving Day and runs nightly 4-9:30 pm through New Year's Eve.
The free light show has become a must-see for both local residents and out-of-towners since its 1987 inception. It’s so popular, in fact, that traffic on Cape Arago Highway comes to a standstill on all but the wettest nights of the display. On dry Fridays and Saturdays, visitors can sit in traffic outside the park for 1½ hours or more.
“It’s a wonderful double edged sword,” said Park Manager Denice Hardy. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer this favorite holiday event. But dealing with traffic on Cape Arago Highway at peak times isn’t fun for anyone.”
Which is why Hardy is dangling a small incentive to encourage weekday visits. Park rangers at the entrance booth will randomly select one vehicle that comes through the booth after 3 pm each Sunday through Thursday to win an Oregon State Parks branded gift or an annual parking pass.
“The giveaway is our way of thanking those who can make a weekday visit work with their schedules,” Hardy said. “We hope this will lead to a better experience for all, every day of the event.”
Shore Acres Holiday Lights has been a tradition since 1987, when the Friends of Shore Acres first decided to string a few lights. The display has grown to include “light sculptures” of pelicans, puffins, jellyfish, a life-size leaping orca whale, butterflies, sea lions, leaping frogs and much more. Hundreds of volunteers spend six weeks installing lights to prepare for the Thanksgiving opening, and local businesses and organizations decorate the park’s 26 Christmas trees.
The historic Garden House is open nightly offering free hot cider, punch, coffee and cookies, and holiday concerts featuring local choirs and musicians are scheduled many nights. A schedule is posted at shoreacres.net.
The event is free; parking is $5 per vehicle, payable at the booth at the park entrance, 89039 Cape Arago Highway. We accept cash or check only. The parking fee is covered for those who display a valid coastal passport, current OPRD if campground receipt, or an OPRD annual parking pass, available at store.oregonstateparks.org or on site at the Information & Gift Center.
Plan your trip
Visit Sunday through Thursday to avoid the traffic and for the chance to win a prize! Park rangers will randomly select one vehicle coming through the booth each Sunday through Thursday after 3 pm to win an OPRD-branded gift or an annual parking pass.