Below you’ll find 19 hand-picked things to do in the Oregon Coast we found out in 5 years. Most of them are good year-round, while only a couple are suitable for specific months, like storm watching (November through March) or puffin watching (April through August).
Oregon Coast: what’s so unique about it
One of the best things about Oregon Coast – tons of places to go, close to each other, with little crowds most of the time, and no need to spend extra money to enjoy all of the beauty. Take plenty of time, a thermos and suitable clothes, and have fun!
19 great things to do in the Oregon Coast as a family or solo traveler
- Exploring tide pools during low tide at Cannon Beach
- Surfing. (or watching surfers) at Short Sand Beach, Oswald West State Park
- Crabbing at Kelly Brighton’s Marina
- Wandering around the waterfall, coves, caves, and cliffs at Hug Point
- Riding a dune buggy/exploring the Oregon Dunes National Rec Area
- Camping under the sounds of ocean waves (check out the yurts!) at Sunset Bay State Park
- Enjoying the beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean at Ecola State Park
- Building a bonfire right at the beach at night in Seaside
- Learning about Lewis and Clark, the Corps of Discovery Expedition at National Historical Site
- Kite flying – Oregon Coast is a kite flyer paradise!
- Climbing up the lighthouse at Cape Meares and learning about “what is it like to be a lighthouse keeper family” at Yaquina Head
- Have a family lunch of seafood straight from the ocean in Newport
- Hiking through the lush temperate rain forest and hobbit tunnel
- Capturing the iconic views of the Pacific and the dramatic Oregon Coastline at Cape Meares and Ecola State Park
- Storm watching at Cape Dissapointment, Fort Stevens, Ecola State Park
- Exploring movie sites at Astoria (they aren’t limited to The Goonies! :D)
- Watching sea lions, seals, whales, and puffins (my favorite)
- Staying at the former lighthouse keeper home overnight at Heceta Head
- Visiting true nature wonders: Sea Lions Cave, Devil’s Punchbowl, and enjoying the impressive, one-of-a-kind Oregon coastline:
Things to do in Oregon Coast: highlights of our trips for the kids over the years
The highlights for our kids (2 y.o. and 7 y.o. during first trips) were: tide pooling and beach time, lighthouses, Cheese Factory, Game Park Safari, and International Police museum.
As they grow older (4, 7, and 12 y.o. now), they become interested in history and … crabbing. 😀 Exploring the beaches and tide pooling still remains an all-time favorite for them and us. Now we are trying to wrap it up with camping, affordable and cool activity for the entire family.
Things to do in Oregon Coast: Essentials
- Driving along the Oregon Coast Scenic Byway is a long journey – 363 miles. You will also need time to get there: 3.5 hours from Seattle and about 1.5 hours of driving from Portland.
- The Oregon Coast is popular to visit year-round. Summers might be hot or might be as fall, winter, and spring: mild, wet, and windy.
- Many exceptional places along the Oregon Coast are very close to each other, especially in the northern part. All you need is to drive 5-15 minutes between the sightseeing spots, – lazy traveler’s dream!
- Check the tide schedule before tide-pooling, puffin-watching, and other low-tide related activities
- Don’t forget rain gear, change of clothes, sunscreen, swimsuite, towel, etc.
- Bring binoculars. And a kite (we have this one). Kite flying is a great family activity many kids don’t know about.
Oregon Coast: Great movies and books for kids/adults we love and recommend
“Goonies” (1985), is a Steven Spielberg movie that took place in Astoria, Oregon. Pirate treasure, friendship, booby traps, etc. 😀 It is fun to watch with the entire family and is the best possible introduction to the Oregon Coast! IMDb 7.8.
“Overboard” (1989) is another cool and hilarious movie about Oregon Coast. It is one of my favorite “If you have a bad day movies”:). IMDb 6.9.
“Escaping the giant wave” and “Curious kids nature guide” are great books to learn more about the dangerous power of nature, its flora, and fauna:
Best of the Oregon Coast in 2 Days; Astoria: so much more than “Goonies”! Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast road trip, Crater Lake in 1 day
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Lone Pine: unknown, Eastern side of California. Alabama Hills, Japanese internment camp, lowest and highest point in the US, hot springs.
Thanks for reading! 🙂