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Best Oregon State Parks to Visit in the Spring

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Best Oregon State Parks to Visit in the Spring

Shore Acres State Park - courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation

The Top Three Choices Offer Opportunities for Whale Watching, Camping, and Fishing.

Shore Acres State Park

Perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the Pacific Ocean, Shore Acres State Park is an exciting and unexpected combination of beautiful natural and constructed features. Shore Acres features lushly planted gardens – one formal and two rose gardens – with plants and flowers from all over the world that are ablaze with springtime color and life. After viewing the garden, park visitors can stroll down a trail to a secluded ocean cove, or weather depending, enjoy the ocean vista from a fully enclosed observation building.

Shore Acres is one of 28 "Whale Watching Spoken Here" sites where some 200 trained volunteers help visitors spot gray whales during the winter and spring annual migrations. The volunteers are on duty from 10am to 1pm to help visitors see the marine animals and offer information about their migration.

One mile north of Shore Acres, Sunset Bay State Park offers overnight camping facilities and picnic areas. One mile to the south, Cape Arago State Park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and excellent opportunities for viewing tidepools and marine mammals, including seals, sea lions, and migrating whales. A hiking trail, which is part of the Coast Trail, connects the three parks.

(Shore Acres is located off US 101, 13 miles south of Coos Bay. The park is open year-round.)

Champoeg State Heritage Area

Featuring a unique combination of history, nature and recreation, Champoeg State Heritage Area is situated on the south bank of the scenic Willamette River, the site where Oregon’s first provisional government was formed by a historical vote in 1843. The park’s visitor center, Newell House, and Pioneer Mothers Log Cabin museums allow you to take a tour of pioneer life at the town of Champoeg. You can walk or bike along the Willamette River, play a round of disc golf, or go fishing and canoeing. At the end of the day, enjoy camping amid a dense stand of Oregon oak and ash trees.

(Champoeg is located off US 99W, 7 miles east of Newberg. The park is open year-round. Camping reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-452-5687.)

Catherine Creek State Park

Cradled in a canyon created by the creek, Catherine Creek State Park provides visitors a cool, quiet and peaceful setting for outdoor activities in the heart of Eastern Oregon’s rugged landscape. With the peak of the Wallowa Mountains in the background, visitors can enjoy fishing, family picnicking, or taking a leisurely hike along the trail between the campground and picnic area for views of picturesque canyon scenery.

Among the areas of interest located near the park include the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

(Catherine Creek is located off OR 203, 8 miles southeast of Union. The park is open from mid-April thru mid-October, and campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.)

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