A weekend along the rocky shores of Oregon is enough to refresh any spirit. The kids pockets often return heavy loaded with sand, but their souls are always lighter. You only have the weekend to hit the coast? Easy, here are our top five favorite places to explore the Northern Oregon coast with kiddos.
When the sunrise hits Haystack Rock, it becomes a birders dream. Find everything from tufted puffins (in late spring/early summer), black oystercatchers, pigeon guillemot, and pelagic cormorants. The best is when eagles swoop in and all birds explode from the rock!
Check out the base of Haystack for tide pools. You never know what will wash up, our boys favorite were the velella velella that covered the beach one year.
Head this direction just after sunrise or before sunset with your camera in lap. I always catch herds of Roosevelt Elk in the forest on the road to Indian Beach. Look toward the big rock edges on the south side of Indian Beach for sea stars. Touch the sticky anemones with your fingers in the pools, and search for clear blobs of jellyfish on the beach. This is a favorite fire pit spot too. Make sure to pack in the roasting sticks, hot dogs, and marshmallows. Beach fires are the best, even in the middle of the day when the coastal breeze kicks up.
Short Sand Beach
Take a short 1/2 mile walk to the cove. Kids will love Blumenthal Falls which cascades onto the beach (best in Spring/Fall with a bigger runoff). All the rock formations and big boulders surrounding the falls provide great tide pools. Your kids will be entertained with cave exploration and seeing the surfers ride the waves at dawn.
Hug Point State Park
Since waterfalls are my wife's favorite, these always become a priority. Hug Point is another great location to catch cascading waters onto the beach. It's best to visit this spot at low tide to ensure you can get access. Caves covered in green and a beautiful sunset are also a bonus!
Seven miles of flat shoreline - just you and the wind. With so much space the kiddos won't have to worry about tripping over people. If you forget a kite, there are shops in Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Rockaway Beach that have you covered.
Besides the beaches, there are two other places that are a must stop on the Oregon coast.
Bruce's Candy Kitchen - if the kids are good give them $5 each to go wild. This is the boys highlight when passing through Cannon Beach. My wife stocks up on taffy every time!
Surfsand - if you need a place to stay at Cannon Beach, this is a family favorite. Your hotel door is just feet away from the sand and Haystack Rock. It's kid focused with the following included for FREE: sand buckets, animal crackers, taffy, pool, kid robes, and noon craft hour on Saturdays. There is even a warm outdoor faucet on the north side of the hotel that we use to hose the kiddos down after rolling in the sand. Subscribe to their emails and get discounts all year long. And no, I'm not getting paid to say this, we just really like this hotel.
A couple other tips to consider when planning your Oregon Coast adventure is to check sunsets/sunrises and low tide times. We come here during a negative tide (-0.5 and below) for better luck with sea life. It's also best to tide pool two hours before the low tide time. It gives the kids plenty of play time before the tide comes back in. Tides vary by 20-30 mins as you head up and down the coast so plan accordingly.
I promise a trip to the OR coast will be unforgettable for the family. Pack the sand buckets and load up layers of clothes. Even if it's 75 degrees, when the sun is covered it gets chilly in the PNW. Do you have other favorite locations on the Northern Oregon coast? Please do share, my family loves discovering new adventures. Get outdoors!