Travel

Holiday Lights Extravaganza

Along the Oregon Coast, holiday light displays are one of the best ways to brighten the season. The light shows in Brookings, Charleston, and Newport offer up millions of lights, dozens of light sculptures, and a whole lot of holiday joy.

NATURE’S COASTAL HOLIDAY FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

MILLIONS OF DAZZLING lights, holiday music, comforting winter refreshments highlight the much-anticipated Nature’s Coastal Holiday Festival of Lights, returning to Brookings through December 29. The light show features more than 2 million lights and hundreds of lighted sculptures. Visitors should expect to take about 45 minutes to stroll the paved walkways through the entire display. Complimentary cocoa, hot cider, and cookies are available at the Snack Shack (donations appreciated).
Visits with luminaries such as Princess Elsa (from the animated movie Frozen) and Santa will be available on select days. Princess Elsa will be at the Festival on December 6–7 and 20–21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa will visit on November 29–30, December 13–14, and December 23–24, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The show is available for viewing nightly from 5 to 9 p.m., weather permitting. Closures due to extreme weather will be posted by 4 p.m. on Facebook (facebook.com/NaturesCoastalHoliday). Admission is $2 for adults, with kids 12-and-under admitted free. www.naturescoastalholiday.com

Garden House at Shore Acres State Park near Charleston. Photo courtesy Coos Bay – North Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT SHORE ACRES

THOSE LOOKING TO lighten dark winter nights head to the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park, available for viewing through December 31 at Shore Acres State Park near Charleston. The 33rd annual festival features at least 325,000 LED lights, more than two dozen decorated Christmas trees, and 60 lighted sculptures.
The walk-through display is open every evening from 4 to 9:30 p.m. through New Year’s Eve. The Garden House is open for visitors to warm up with hot cider, punch, coffee, and cookies. Live entertainment is scheduled on Monday through Thursday evenings; check the Lights Facebook page for updates. There is no admission fee, but parking is $5 per vehicle (cash or checks only). The lights are very popular, so to avoid traffic backups plan to visit during the week or avoid peak hours between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. 541-888-3732; www.shoreacres.net

Photo courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium

A SEA OF LIGHTS

AT THE Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, the annual Sea of Lights can be viewed every Friday and Saturday evening in December. More than half a million lights and a bounty of holiday decorations surround visitors with the spirit of the season as they explore the Aquarium after hours.
The kickoff weekend, December 6 and 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., features opportunities to chat with Santa, live holiday music, and much revelry. Cost for entry is $2 with two canned food or pet food donations. The Sea of Lights can also be experienced on December 13–14, 20–21, and 27–28 from 6 to 9 p.m. Entry is $10 or same-day paid admission. 541-867-3474; www.aquarium.org

Photo courtesy Marine Discovery Tours

The Yaquina Bay Lighted Boat Parade is another unique annual tradition. This year, the parade takes place on Saturday, December 7, beginning at dusk, when fishing boats, pleasure boats, research vessels, and Coast Guard boats cruise the Newport bayfront while “decked-out” in colorful holiday lights. Those who want an extra-special holiday moment can pay to ride on the Marine Discovery Tour boat to see the lights from a whole different perspective. 541-265-6200; www.marinediscoverytours.com