Oregon has 25 amazing state parks to visit. Taking the day off from bike riding and volunteering, we headed north towards Coos Bay then on to the Cape Arago Highway to Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago which are at the end of the road.
Perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean is Shore Acres State Park. Once a grand estate of timber baron Louis Simpson, it has lush gardens with plants and flowers from all over the world. Something is in bloom almost every day of the year.
Views from the overlook
We have seen pictures of the park lit up with holiday lights from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve that are placed by volunteers each year.
It was a pleasant morning as we walked through the gardens and along the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
A Japanese style garden with a lily pond.
The roses were just starting to bloom for Father's Day as the rhododendrons were fading.
Winter storms crash against the walls of the cliffs. But it was a sunny calm day for us as we hiked down to Simpson Beach to checkout the tidepools.
This is the first time we have seen these in tide pools.
The holes in these rocks are made by piddocks, a mollusk similar to a clam that grind into the rocks for protection.
A volunteer couple for the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife were stationed at a stop along the Arago Highway. We had seen their van on the shores near Bandon the previous day. They invited us and other people to view the noisy seals, sea lions and not so noisy eagles through their scopes. They spend 5 months along the Oregon Coast and 5 on Florida's Panhandle each year.
Shell Island below is a National Wildlife Refuge for seals and sea lions. The North Cove Trail leads to the area for beachcombing and fishing. The volunteers rotate through a few protected areas to educate people and protect the wildlife by reminding people not to touch the baby seals that can be left for several days on the beach while they hunt. One lady was found lying on the beach next to a small seal, petting it while her dog sniffed it. With the human and dog scent on it, I am not sure how that baby seal fared.
We couldn't miss Cape Arago Lighthouse in Charleston, Oregon, a quaint fishing village west of Coos Bay. Other than the large mosquitos, June has been a great time to visit the coast.