Free and Inexpensive To Dos for Family Travel on the Oregon Coast
Last week we shared our highlight video from our trip to the Oregon Coast. Since we are all about inspiring AND helping you for your own adventures, below you will find details to make planning your trip to the Oregon Coast a little easier.
Where to Stay
The Oregon Coast is chock full of places to stay. I’ve seen a range from rooms for one person, to homes that will sleep multiple families. There were 23 in our group so we needed the latter, leading us to find the Sunset Bay beach house in Lincoln City. We enjoyed easy access to Lincoln City Beach, the ocean views, and lots of space for our energetic family.
If you plan far enough in advance, there should be no problem finding a place to stay that fits your budget and needs. To search for unique places to rest your head, try searching through Airbnb, VRBO, or Home Away. These are just three of many websites out there that give people the chance to rent out their extra space or property. Prices are reasonable and it is so convenient to be able to stay in homes. However, if that isn’t your thing, you can also find a great list of more traditional places to stay in Lincoln City on this website.
What to Do
We were traveling with a big family with a variety of ages and abilities, so the things we did had to fall under the following criteria: free/inexpensive, simple, and fun! Most of our outings were also within a 30 minute drive from where we were staying, making for easy access (not to mention a beautiful drive).
One side tip before we get to the good stuff, the winding roads on the coast did cause some upset stomachs, especially for those prone to car sickness. Kyle’s sister introduced us to the wonderful thing that is Dramamine, for kids and adults. After cleaning up way to many car throw ups this summer, this was a game changer! Take your dose a half an hour before hitting the road to help alleviate motion sickness. And now that you have prepared to prevent car sickness, on to what to do!
If you are looking for a short hike that will be doable for little legs, this it the trail! The hike itself is only about a half mile long, with little elevation change. The end of the trail is currently blocked off, which means you have to take in the falls from a short distance. But as it is the area’s tallest waterfall, you can still get a great view of the towering falls. On the way out, check out the hollow tree located next to the entrance of the parking lot. The kids in our family burned some of their energy climbing and playing in their “tree fort”.
If you are a fan of Tillamook Cheese, or cheese in general, this is a fun pit stop that will give you insight the factory and fill your stomach. Our group visited the temporary visitors center as construction is currently underway for a new visitors center. The new center will open in 2018. Rosalie loved the cows in the dairy farm exhibit, while Kyle and I enjoyed sampling their ample cheeses. There is also a cafe that is quite possibly a dairy lover’s dream. Hello giant ice cream cones and gourmet mac and cheese!
Proudly standing the edge of the coast, the Cape Meares Lighthouse The lighthouse is open daily for free tours to give insight into the functioning and history of the lighthouse. For safety reasons, children under 5 are not allowed into the lighthouse tower for the tour. The tour was fast enough that we could switch off who was hanging with the kids and everyone who wanted to could get a tour. While you’re waiting, enjoy the stunning view of the coast and make sure to look for whales!
A short walk inland from the lighthouse, you will find an unusually shaped Sitka spruce tree. According to local historians, this tree was shaped in Coastal Tribe tradition when the tree was young, then allowed to grow. The tree was a place for tribal rites and ceremonies, and has been deemed one of the modern Wonders of the World.
Parking fills up quickly, so it is best to get there early or plan for some extra time waiting for a spot to open.
At low tide, Cobble Beach in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area reveals numerous rocky tidepools filled with all sorts of sea life. In the time we were there, we found starfish, muscles, barnacles, anemones, crabs, and urchins in the tide pools. Outside of the tide pools, we were able to see seals lounging on their rocks and birds in search of their next meal. However, our favorite part of this stop was being able to see the blowing water from grey whales as we stood on the outlook next to Yaquina Lighthouse.
No trip to the coast would be complete without some delicious seafood. Newport Chowder Bowl definitely delivered. It is reasonably priced, has all of the classic coastal dishes, and able was able to serve our large group with ease. It was here Rosalie had her first taste of calamari. And she LOVED it! I wish I would have caught on film because she was hilariously fascinated by the little tentacles as she ate them. After eating, walk off your food coma around the nearby shops in Newport. It is a nautical lover’s paradise! There are also several sweets shops which served as the perfect cap to a delicious meal.
Catch a Fresh Crab Dinner
Though there are many places you could go to catch crab, we chose to get help from Dock of the Bay. This company does it all; the boat rental, providing the crabbing supplies, and they even cook the crab for you! For someone who knew little of the ins and outs of crabbing, this company was a great fit for our needs. We split the cost of the boat with Kyle’s brother, which made it completely reasonable. Before you go, make sure to get a licence to catch crabs. Anyone over 12 must have a license and keep it with them when going crabbing.
If you like pirates and freshly baked treats, Captain Dan’s Pirate Pastry is the wonderful combination of the two. Stepping into the elaborately true to theme decorated shop, you will find sweets from uniquely flavored turnovers to decorated ocean creature sugar cookies. It also made for a great bribe to get all the kids in our family smiling for a family picture.
The Oregon Coast has no shortage of beaches. Sure, the weather along the coast is cool, but that didn’t stop us from making sandcastles and splashing in the waves. You can do other things, too! Go on a run, meditate to the sound of waves, have a picnic, search for driftwood, build a mallow roasting fire, or take family pictures. All free and easy to do with your family.
As a three mile round trip hike with mild ups and downs, this hike is on the challenging end for little legs. But still completely doable! Our favorite part; the trail ends with flair through a suspension bridge providing a great view of the falls. Don’t be put off by fear of heights, the bridge is well built to prevent any problems while crossing.
What do you like to do?
We had a wonderful time on the Oregon Coast, and we hope these ideas will help you have a great time, too! Can you believe we have barely scratched the surface of what there is to do? That has us crossing our fingers for another Frederiksen family gathering here so we can explore some more! In the comments, let us know what is your favorite thing to do on the Oregon Coast.