It’s well known fact that the state parks found along the the Cape Arago Beach Loop are nothing short of grand, but if there is one destination along the way you cannot miss, it is the glorious gardens of Shore Acres State Park , a.k.a. “the jewel of the South Coast”.
Perched high above the Pacific on rugged sandstone cliffs, Shore Acres features lush gardens with plants and flowers from all over the world. “This is, without question, Oregon’s most beautiful state park,” writes Terry Richard for The Oregonian. “Well, maybe you can question that statement, though the gardens are the most spectacular man-created feature in the state park system in my book.”
“A Garden for All Seasons”
Because there is something blooming every season, Oregon coast visitors enjoy discovering unique flowers, plants, evergreen shrubs and trees (including the largest Monterey Pine in Oregon) in this manicured “garden for all seasons”. We can’t get enough of the stunning dahlias in the fall, hundreds of rhododendrons and azaleas in the early spring, thousands of daffodils, tulips through late spring and summer and over 800 blooming rose bushes throughout the summer months. Note: Bloom times are based on normal/average conditions at Shore Acres and may vary.
Volunteers painstakingly install more than 300,000 holiday lights (almost all L.E.D.) in the fall to bring dazzling Pacific themed visions to life. Thousands of eager visitors make their way to Shore Acres to view the annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres display (Nov. 23 thru Dec. 31, 2017). Shore Acres’s all-seasons garden is made possible by an army of dedicated Friends of Shore Acres volunteers.
“From Private Estate to One of Oregon’s Most Beloved State Parks”
What began as a luxurious private estate that belonged to lumber and shipping tycoon, Louis Simpson, has become a beloved local treasure for anyone to enjoy. The original plantings of Shore Acres were designed to take advantage of the mild climate and featured exotic trees, shrubs, and flowering plants brought in from around the world.
The ornate grounds on Mr. Simpson’s estate complemented his opulent home featuring (among other luxuries) a heated, indoor swimming pool and a large ballroom. The original estate included five acres of formal gardens along with a Japanese-style garden built around a 100-foot lily pond that remains today.
In 1942, Simpson’s estate was purchased by the state of Oregon for use as a public park. Today, a fully enclosed observation building offering ocean vistas and protection from the weather is located where Simpson’s elegant mansion once stood. The observation building has interpretive panels describing the history of the Simpson estate.
“The Jewel of the South Coast”
In addition to exploring the gardens, visitors can take in spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean along with towering waves crashing against the shoreline and cliffs. Whale watchers have ample opportunities to spot migrating whales during the winter and summer migrating seasons. A secluded ocean cove at Simpson Beach awaits those willing to hike down a trail.
Shore Acres State Park is located on the Cape Arago Highway, 13 miles southwest of Coos Bay/North Bend and U. S. Highway 101. Parking is $5 per car. Admission to the park is free. Please check shoreacres.net for seasonal hours and events. If you have questions, please talk to a member of the garden staff or call (541) 888-3732.