Our recent trip included places to visit in Oregon, USA that provided fun, educational, and unique experiences for our kids, as well as Mom and Dad. Our route took us west from Portland along Highway 6 to spend our time along the Oregon Coast. I recommend the following 7 kid-friendly things to do near Portland for the whole family to enjoy!
The Tillamook Forest Center is right on Highway 6 from Portland to the coast, and stopping there was one of the best decisions we made. There’s a fire lookout, an indoor visitor’s center with a gift shop, clean restrooms, and educational displays, but best of all, they have several kids’ activities daily.
When we stopped, a group was getting ready to take a fairy garden tour. They met on the beautiful bridge behind the forest center. The volunteer tour kids showed the children what materials they could find for building fairy houses, and how to collect them without damaging living plants. Then, they led the kids on a short hike, where they viewed fairy houses built by previous groups.
Everyone in the group built their own fairy house along the trail. It was a magical experience, and a great way to stretch everyone’s legs for an hour.
You watch cheese being made at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and sample different cheeses. You can also try their amazing and unique ice cream flavors. Lunch items are available, including grilled cheese sandwiches, but you may not need lunch after your ice cream!
The kids also loved posing in the Loaf Tour bus, and with the cow statues.
Newport, Oregon, a small fishing village, is one of the more famous stops along the Oregon Coast. We spent a morning wandering the small-town streets, exploring the docks and shops. The kids watched some fishermen catching crabs in baskets, which was probably their favorite activity of the day. We could see restaurant employees walking down to the dock to collect fresh crabs to sell. If picking out a piece of salt water taffy gets your kids to behave as well as ours, there are several candy shops along the main street (Bay Blvd). My favorite part was the view of the Highway 101 bridge across Yaquina Bay.
Just north of Newport is the Yaquima Head Lighthouse. Tours of the lighthouse itself are limited, and because of the steep steps, children must be 42”, so we didn’t go inside. But the view from Yaquima Head is spectacular, and we saw sea lions below. There is also a great Yaquima Head visitor’s center which was very fun and child friendly. There were old fashioned games to learn, coloring activities, and dress ups. There was also a display on sea life, with a tunnel to crawl through, and a lighthouse replica that showed how the light worked, which really interested my older kids.
Otter Rock Beach is where we spent most of our time on the Oregon Coast. Pacific Northwest beaches are not known for being sunny and warm, and this was no exception. However, Otter Rock is one of my favorite beaches I’ve ever been to (and I’ve lived in California most of my life).
At this beach you can search the tide pools, hunt for sea glass, build with drift wood, and climb on rocks. Amid the rock piles, we found dozens of pieces of sea glass.
The kids loved digging through the rocks and seeing who could find the biggest or most colorful pieces.
Otter Rock Beach also offers direct access to the Devil’s Punch Bowl. At low tide you can access the inside of the punch bowl, and the surrounding tide pools.
The tide pools were amazing, and we saw some beautiful sea creatures there. The kids also loved climbing on the rocks in the punch bowl, and along the access route. At high tide, you can see the Devil’s Punchbowl from above, watching the water swirling from the street level. There’s a short walk along the cliff side to view the beaches below.
For a less rocky beach experience, Lincoln City Beach, several miles further north, provides a wide area of sand, even at high tide. This expansive beach is perfect for kite flying!
Reference these articles to further help you plan the perfect trip with kids:
We use Airbnb (here’s a $40 coupon) or Hotels.com to rent accommodations that have a kitchen. Cooking our meals saves us quite a bit of money compared to eating out, and it’s much healthier! If we can’t find somewhere to stay with a kitchen, we find places that have a microwave and fridge at the minimum. You would be surprised the meals you can prepare in a microwave.
We utilize Pinterest to organize the information when researching travel locations. Photo Jeepers has a USA Travel board, Washington & Oregon Travel board and Family Travel board where we only pin things we have read and find worthwhile. Use our board to help you plan a trip to Oregon. Save this to your travel and family travel boards and share with your friends!
Looking to continue your road trip up the coast into Canada? Enjoy these Best Things To Do In Vancouver With Kids!
Resources for outdoor adventure we recommend and use:
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