The Oregon Coast is an area like no other. The mountains meet the coast line and the rocky cliffs, cool winds, and sand dunes make for some gorgeous views and unique experiences. If you are heading to the Oregon Coast with kids, you may be wondering what fun and unique activities you should put on your itinerary. Check out these fun family-friendly activities that are sure to be a hit with kids of all ages.
I have a secret. I have totally fallen in love with the Oregon Coast. My family has always been about heading to Southern California, but we have made several small Oregon road trips to the coast with kids, friends, and extended family, and I have fallen in love. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. It is one of the reasons the Oregon Coast is one of my top West Coast Road Trip recommendations.
This year we spent not one, but two vacations on the Oregon Coast. The first was during our dream Seattle to San Diego road trip, and the second was during a family reunion in July. We were able to experience several family-friendly activities that were unique to the Oregon Coast. I am excited to share my favorites with you today.
Best Family-Friendly Activities On The Oregon Coast With Kids
If you think of visiting the coast means bikinis and sunbathing, think again. The Oregon Coast is known for cool, windy weather and cloud coverage. Not to say you don’t get a sunny day here and there, but you most likely won’t be diving into the ocean with your swimsuit on. Instead, check out these great activities that kids will love.
Explore Sea Life On The Oregon Coast With Your Kids
If you happen to be in Newport, Oregon or the surrounding area, check out The Oregon Coast Aquarium. Or, if you are on a budget, try the Hatfield Marine Center. My family adores it! There are multiple hands-on exhibits, touch pools, and more. Best of all, the Marine Center is free, though a donation of $20/family is suggested.
Our kids spent a good three hours here and probably could have spent more if we didn’t have other activities planned for the day. I do suggest visiting between late March and early September as the center often closes exhibits for maintenance during the off season.
The Hobbit Trail Is A Great Family-Friendly Activity On The Oregon Coast
The moment I heard there was a “Hobbit Trail” I knew we had to do it. The online reviews I was able to see all said it was a relatively easy hike, so we not only packed our twin three-year-olds but also my four-foot-eight mother-in-law to do the hike. We all made the hike, but it definitely was not an “easy hike” for everyone.
The hike goes down the mountain from Highway 101 just north of Florence, and ends at a secluded beach. Going down, some of the natural steps were tall enough that my kids could sit on them and their legs would dangle…and so could my mother-in-law. As you can also imagine, after the decent, we had to climb back up that mountain. Something that led to a few whines, and carrying the twins on our shoulders.
Was it worth it? Heck, yes! But just be aware, if your family is not active or used to hiking, it may be a little harder than many of the online reviews made it out to be. The secluded beach and forested trail were amazing and I would happily go again in a heartbeat.
Yaquina Head State Park
If you are looking for things to do on the Oregon Coast that can take up an entire day, and check off a lot of must-do boxes, Yaquina Head State Park should be at the top of your list. Our family spent a good five hours at the park and still did not get to everything.
There is a great area to see seals throughout the day, but when the tide is low, it is also filled with tide pools. Our kids and their cousins had a lot of fun checking out the sea life in the tide pools.
The visitors center was filled with exhibits and hands-on activities for the entire family. It also has several picnic tables so I would plan on bringing a picnic lunch and eating it here. This is also where you want to head right at opening to sign up for a lighthouse tour.
Speaking of lighthouse tours, the Yaquina Head lighthouse is gorgeous and oh so Instagram worthy. Be sure to check it out but know that they have height requirements for children to climb to the top of the lighthouse and you may not carry children up the stairs.
Also at the lighthouse, you can look out for whales. We saw a whale that was coming right up by the cliffs and showing off. It was really cool.
TravelingMom Tip: The entire state park, but especially the area by the lighthouse is very windy and cool. While we were able to wear mostly tees and pants at the coast, we visited the park in mid-July, and pants, sweatshirts, and even light jackets were not enough to keep us warm.
Fly A Kite On The Oregon Coast With Kids
You most likely won’t be putting on a swimsuit and hitting the beach, but you can almost always have a great breeze to fly a kite. In fact, this is probably one of the most popular family-family activities on the Oregon Coast. In Seaside, you can even find shops that will rent out large kites for you to test out.
If you head to Florence, Oregon and the Oregon Dunes, you can go sandboarding or sledding. This was a super fun activity on the Oregon Coast with kids during our family reunion. We rented a couple sandboards and a sled from a shop. It was extremely affordable and we had fun for hours. My oldest was a born natural.
Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, but the instructors said sand works more like water, so when it came to sledding, snow sleds just won’t cut it. The sleds and boards both have to be waxed and we found it was better to just let each person hold on to their own wax in their pocket. You will also want goggles or sunglasses to keep sand out of your eyes. In a pinch, swimming goggles served pretty well for my kiddos.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
The Tillamook Cheese Factory is a great stop if you are in the area. They just built a brand new visitors center. Your family can watch cheese being made, learn about dairy farming and best of all, get free cheese samples. Plus I strongly suggest getting some ice cream while you are there.
The Oregon Coast is home to 11 standing lighthouses. Not all are in use, but each is unique and worth a visit. You can make a great Oregon Coast weekend trip out of touring all of the lighthouses. While many might think this is more a romantic couple’s road trip, our kids love exploring the lighthouses and the surrounding areas. Each lighthouse will have different hours, dates of operation, and accessibility so be sure to check with each destinations visitors website.