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First Day Hikes on Washington / Oregon Coast A Go But Different - And Free

Published 12/17/20 at 6:45 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

First Day Hikes on Washington / Oregon Coast A Go But Different - And Free

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(Nehalem, Oregon) – Washington State Park (WSP) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will continue on with their First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day 2021, where fees will be waived but this year no rangers will be guiding anyone.

The difference is there are no real events for First Day Hikes along the Oregon coast or Washington coast, but each state’s park agency has their suggestions, and they’re offering free parking on that day for the few state parks with day-use fees.

Along the Oregon coast, where Whale Watch Week would normally be the center of attention, that too is canceled, but OPRD is offering plenty of suggestions for spotting the great cetaceans on the move.

“Oregonians love these traditions, but with the pandemic continuing to affect our communities we encourage everyone to visit the whale watching sites and hike or explore a state park Jan. 1 on their own,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. (Photo: Long Beach, Washington)

The parking fee for the 25 parks in Oregon that normally require a parking permit will be waived for First Day Hikes Jan. 1, 2021. Some parks may display posters that include recommended hikes and ranger favorites. Along the coast those day-use fee parks include Shore Acres at Coos Bay, Honeyman at Florence, Bob Straub at Pacific City, Ecola State Park at Cannon Beach, Fort Stevens at Warrenton, Nehalem Bay at Nehalem and Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint near Yachats and Florence.

“We encourage visitors to explore parks close to their homes, wear face coverings and practice recommended social distancing,” Sumption added. “If a park is crowded, please consider visiting another nearby park.”

On the Washington coast and throughout its inland parks, New Year’s Day will be celebrated without guides as well, but it is the first State Parks free day of 2021. That means you won’t need a Discover Pass to park when you, your family and /or household visit a park for the day.

Willapa Bay, Washington

Most state parks and Sno-Parks in Washington will be open on that day.

WSP is only offering some suggestions for fun along the Washington coast, and that includes Twin Harbors State Park at Grayland.

There, WSP said “Kids and adults alike will enjoy flat, pleasant hike along a grassy shore covered in soft sand. It’s ADA-compliant, and interpretive signs tell a short story as you listen to the music of the ocean waves. If you want to hang out longer, bring along a kite. This is one of the nicest places to fly your favorite colors in a consistent Pacific breeze.”

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Oswald West State Park

Sunset Bay, southern coast (courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast: Coos Bay)

Seaside, Oregon

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