Travel Lane County
541.484.5307 · 800.547.5445 ·
Adventure Center/Visitor Information: 3312 Gateway St · Springfield OR (Open daily 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Downtown Eugene Visitor Center: 754 Olive St · Eugene OR (Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Mailing Address: PO Box 10286 · Eugene OR 97440 s

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Five Places You Can Visit During a Government Shutdown

Published: October 04, 2013

When the federal government shuts down national parks there are still plenty of wonderful destinations in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region of Oregon. Many of our parks, campgrounds and scenic destinations are owned and operated by the state, the county or our cities. While our federal sites are affected by the government shutdown, there are still plenty of great adventures from the Oregon Coast to the Cascades.

Here are five adventures we recommend:

1. Explore the Oregon Coast Sand Dunes

Dunes Riding by Eugene, Cascades & Coast

If you’re looking for excitement, take a trip out west to Honeyman State Park just south of Florence.  With a massive two mile (3.2 km) stretch of sand dunes between you and the ocean, there is endless exploring to be done. Honeyman features two freshwater lakes and is a great spot for a quick kayak trip. For those with more of an adventurous side, head out into the dunes on a dune buggy. Many guided dune buggy tours offer thrills along with educational forays across this impressive landscape.

2. Go Wild at Elijah Bristow State Park

Elijah Bristow Park by Chris HavelOspreys, great blue herons, bald eagles, beavers and Western pond turtles make their homes in the meadows, woodlands, and wetlands of Elijah Bristow State Park. Wildlife lovers access these diverse habitats on more than 10 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails while fisherman cast about for steelhead and trout from the banks of the Willamette River. Oh, and did we mention access to the park is free?

3. Bed and Breakfast on the Ocean's Cliff

Heceta Head Lighthouse and B&BWake up in the morning with the sounds of the ocean crashing against the rocks and the smell of breakfast wafting up to your bedroom. The newly renovated Heceta Head Lighthouse is a great place for a couple’s getaway. The bed and breakfast, known as The Keeper’s House, offers a number of rooms overlooking the ocean and features a seven-course breakfast. Visit the interpretive center or take a walk down the Heceta Head trail to explore the tide pools.

4. Explore New Trails

Spencer Butte Trail, Eugene by David PuztierWhile many people in the area are familiar with Spencer’s Butte, few have explored the expanse of the Ridgeline Trail System. With over 12 miles of trails and seven main trailheads, the Ridgeline Trail system is the perfect way to spend a day exploring new routes all within Eugene’s city limits. Or spend sometime along the Willamette River following the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System trails through Eugene and Springfield. Just remember to bring a raincoat - you never know when a shower may pop up along your journey.

5. Go for a Scenic Drive 

Goodpasture Covered Bridge by TJ DrysdaleEast of Eugene along the McKenzie River Highway, the fall foliage is just starting to turn to the gorgeous oranges and yellows that signal the start of autumn. Take a drive out Highway 126 to the McKenzie River Fish Hatchery and have a picnic in the crisp fall air while the sun tries to break through the clouds. The region has many scenic drives which will take you past covered bridges, small towns, rivers and ocean viewpoints.

Don’t let the government shutdown slow you down! Get out, explore new spots, and enjoy fall.

If you have questions about which sites are federal recreation sites, call one of our Adventure Specialists daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 541.484.5307.


About the author: Spencer Adrian is the Social Media Intern for Travel Lane County who has grown up immersed in the culture of the Pacific Northwest. He is an aspiring account planner currently in his senior year at the University of Oregon, majoring in journalism and advertising. He enjoys photography and production, and has a great passion for people and telling their stories through writing.

Author: Guest Blogger