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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 Best Places to go During a Government Furlough

Published: October 04, 2013

One of the great things about the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region is that a vast amount of our land is publicly owned – city, county, state and federal parks, campgrounds, and sites. While our federal sites are affected by the government shutdown, there are still plenty of great adventures from the Oregon Coast to the Cascades.


Rent a sandboard and carve the dunes

Here are five adventures we recommend:

1.    Shred the Sand: 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, try your hand at sandboarding. You can rent a sandboard at Sand Master Park and shred the dunes to your heart’s content. Think of it as snowboarding, but without the cold.

Elijah Bristow State Park

Explore Elijah Bristow State Park on foot or horseback

2.    Go Wild at Elijah Bristow State Park: Ospreys, 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?

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Visit Heceta Head Lighthouse and stay overnight at The Keeper's House


3.    Bed and Breakfast: Wake 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 brave the weather and take a walk down the Heceta Head trail to explore the tide pools.


Hikers enjoy a portion of Ridgeline Trail in Eugene. (Photo by Chris Pietsch)

The Ridgeline Trail System is a hidden gem in Lane County (Photo credit: City of Eugene)

4.      4.   Explore New Trails: While 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. Just remember to bring a raincoat - you never know when a shower may pop up along your journey.

McKenzie River flyfishing

The McKenzie River is great for fishing, floating, or simply admiring the foliage and wildlife

5.    Go for a Drive: East 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.

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.

cccAbout 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.