SOUTH COAST —Those looking for something close by to do outdoors can find lovely formal gardens and rugged sandstone cliffs right out their back door at Shore Acres State Park.
Once the grand estate of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson, Shore Acres features lushly planted gardens with plants and flowers from all over the world. Something is in bloom almost every day of the year. In the landscaped area there's the formal garden, a Japanese-style garden with a lily pond, and two rose gardens which include All American Rose Selections.
After seeing the garden, stroll down a trail to a secluded ocean cove at Simpson Beach or skirt the cliff's edge to see spectacular ocean vistas which often include towering waves crashing against the shoreline after a storm and migrating grey whales.
On the site of Simpson's vanished mansion, a fully enclosed observation building allows visitors to view the ocean protected from the weather. The observation building has interpretive panels describing the history of the Simpson estate.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the day-use area and gardens are open to limited daytime use, until 8 p.m. nightly (buy may close without notice). The gift shop is closed and unfortunately, this year's annual Holiday Lights display has been canceled.
Shore Acres Park is located on Cape Arago Highway, 13 miles southwest of Coos Bay/North Bend and U.S. Highway 101.
For more to do, find the many hiking trails along Cape Arago Highway, observe sea lions at Simpson Reef or breathtaking views at the end of the highway at Cape Arago.