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Family Road Trip: Exploring the Oregon Coast with kids

As PNW natives, we’re often asked for recommendations for family-friendly activities in Oregon and Washington. With summer vacation and camping season just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to share our favorite places to explore on the Oregon coast with kids. So come join us on a family road trip adventure as we enjoy outdoor adventures, visit charming seaside towns, and capture memorable photos on the coast!

Maze on Seal Rock beach Southern Oregon
Beach Maze, Seal Rock OR

Our journey begins in Astoria, Oregon, a historic seaside town (one of the oldest west of the Rockies!) that dates back to 1811. Take a walk along the Columbia riverwalk where you can capture stunning photos of the Astoria-Megler Bridge, the longest truss bridge in North America. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich history by visiting Fort Clapsop – Lewis & Clark National Historic Park, where you can learn about the early days of settlement.

Bonus: if you’re a fan of “The Goonies,” keep an eye out for familiar scenes from the movie, which was filmed in Astoria – just don’t go trespassing! 😉

Bue Heron Fishing Oregon Coast

Next stop, Seaside and Cannon Beach. Seaside is a charming old-school beach town that offers a little something for everyone. Play in the sand on the expansive beach, go for a bike ride along the 1920s Boardwalk Promenade, and explore the unique shops and delectable treats in town. Don’t forget to visit the arcade games and carousel, one of our kids favorite pastimes.

Cannon Beach, just a short drive away, is famous for its picturesque Haystack Rock and breathtaking sunsets. Capture stunning photographs of this iconic landmark and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this coastal gem.

Where to stay: Seaside Thousand Trails ($100 off when you sign up with this link)

Haystack Rock Cannon Beach The Popes LLC
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach

Continuing south, we arrive at Nehalem Bay and Manzanita. These hidden gems offer stunning beaches, scenic trails, and a laid-back vibe. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, build sandcastles with the kids on the wind-protected shores of Manzanita, and explore the streets of this charming beach town.

State Park Camping: Nehalem Bay State Park is our favorite local camping spot and a destination in its own right, with opportunities for horseback riding, kayaking, crabbing, and fishing.

Walking through the woods Pacific Northwest coast
Seal Beach, Oregon coast

Our next destination is Tillamook, known for its delicious cheese and scenic beauty. Start your visit with a tour of the Tillamook Creamery, where you can learn about the cheese-making process and sample all sorts of cheese (our kids favorite was the “squeaky cheese”). For those with allergies, they offer both gluten free and dairy free ice cream options, so your entire family will be able to enjoy the stop!

Afterward, head to Cape Lookout State Park for stunning ocean views and hiking trails that wind through lush forests, or continue south to Devil’s Punchbowl, a fascinating natural blowhole in Lincoln County, OR.

Kid playing on Oregon coast

Newport is another must-visit spot on the Oregon coast. With its long, beautiful beaches, vibrant foliage and abundant sea life, it’s one of our favorite natural playgrounds. Head to Cobble Beach at low tide so that you can explore the tide pools, marvel at the Yaquina Lighthouse, or enjoy disc golf at South Beach State Park. For a taste of the coast, savor a hearty bowl of clam chowder at the iconic Mo’s in downtown Newport.

Cobble beach tidepool
Tidepooling on Oregon coast

Where to Stay: Finish your day by camping near Lost Creek State Recreation Site at Whaler’s Rest Thousand Trails, where you can watch the sunset and discover fossilized shells and rocks along the eroded banks.

Lost Creek Rercreationg site Oregon The POpes LLC

Finally, we reach Florence, home to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The massive sand dunes here provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. Rent dune buggies or sand boards and experience the thrill of sliding down the sandy slopes. The unique landscapes offer fantastic photo opportunities, capturing the contrast between the rolling dunes and the pristine coastline.

Gold Coast Oregon Copyright the POpes LLC

The Oregon coast is a haven for families seeking outdoor exploration and relaxation. Whether you’re visiting historic towns, enjoying the beach, or embarking on thrilling adventures, this road trip will create cherished memories for the whole family. So pack up the RV, load the car, and embark on your own family road trip adventure along the stunning Oregon coast. The possibilities are endless, and the memories you create will last a lifetime. Enjoy the journey!

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Where to stay: Thousand Trails campgrounds are our go-to for family-friendly campgrounds on the Oregon coast. Get $100 off and book your stay today!

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the great info – we are going to do everything you listed while using Seaside Thousand Trails as our base camp.

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