Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Historic Lighthouses on the Oregon Coast

Cape Arago Light  near Sunset Bay State Park. (Julianne G. Crane)

Each year thousands of RVers travel the Oregon Coastal Highway to view and photograph iconic coastal lighthouses and camp in nearby Oregon State Parks.

"All nine of Oregon's surviving lighthouse stations have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and seven are open for public viewing and regularly scheduled summer tours," according to Oregon State Parks.

From the south, these lighthouses begin with the Cape Blanco Lighthouse just north of Port Orford, and end with Tillamook Rock Lighthouse two miles north of Cannon Beach. Lighthouses we have enjoyed include:

Cape Arago Light near Coos Bay

The Cape Arago Light is perched on a small three-acre island a few hundred feet off Oregon's mainland, roughly 10 miles southwest of Coos Bay on the Cape Arago Highway.

The lighthouse and the land it sits on are not currently open to the public. And, there are only a few places it can be seen from land, including from a trail that starts in Sunset Bay State Park.

Read more about staying at the Sunset Bay State Park campground by clicking here.

Umpqua Lighthouse south of Winchester Bay

Umpqua Lighthouse
The 65-foot Umpqua Lighthouse towers above the entrance to Winchester Bay on a hill 100 feet above sea level surrounded by US Coast Guard buildings and a museum.

Umpqua is the sister lighthouse to the one at Heceta Head (below). Both structures were built from the same plans.

Maintained by the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department, the lighthouse and museum are open in season from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free, however there is a charge for guided tours, which are offered May through October.

Read more about the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park campground, click here.

Heceta Head Lighthouse near Florence

Heceta Head Lighthouse, north of Florence, Ore. (Julianne G. Crane)

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most, if not the most, photographed lighthouses in the world.

A perfect outing for the entire family, the Lighthouse and Light Keeper’s House were built around 1894 and both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The working 56-foot lighthouse sits midway up a 205-foot-tall headland.

Click here for more information on camping near Heceta Head Lighthouse in an article on

-- Julianne G. Crane
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Texas Wildflowers Bloom; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin

Texas wildflowers (Texas Highways/Don Allen)
Now is the peak of Texas' spring wildflower season. With more than 5,000 species of native flowering plants, the Lone Star State is known for its breathtaking Springs (now through June). Autumn wildflowers bloom September through November.

Gardens (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)
The best place to stop for a while and learn about wildflowers is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a research unit of the University of Texas at Austin. The Center is devoted to the preservation and use of native plants.

The "Wildflower Center’s 284 acres are a mix of cultivated gardens, an arboretum, managed natural areas and wildlands. The sustainable gardens display many of the 650 species of native plants growing throughout the Center."

Lady Bird Johnson, a former First Lady and pioneering environmentalist, believed in the beauty and power of healthy landscapes to transform lives.

“Even in the poorest neighborhoods you can find a geranium in a coffee can, a window box set against the scaling side of a tenement, a border of roses struggling to live in a tiny patch of open ground. Where flowers bloom, so does hope." — Lady Bird Johnson.

If you go:

University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, TX 78739
Open Daily: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays
Admission: Adults – $12, $10 Seniors (65+), Youth – $6
Wildflower CafĂ© is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Guided tours are available daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. based on space availability.

Bluebonnets (FredericksburgTexasOnline)

Additional resources

Four scenic drives around the Hill Country and Fredericksburg that will take your breath away."

Texas Highways magazine and online site are incredible resources on "Everything you need to know about Texas Wildflower Season."

-- Julianne G. Crane,
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