oregon coast activities for families

12 Oregon Coast Activities the Whole Family Will Love

There are so many Oregon Coast activities that can be enjoyed as a family. The Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful places and there are so many outdoor spaces for kids to explore. With its stunning views, abundant wildlife, and many outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why people flock to it year-round.

The open space of the beach can be the perfect family outing when you have a rowdy crew. There are plenty of activities both kids and parents will enjoy together. Read on to discover 12 must-try Oregon Coast experiences that the whole family can look forward to!

Fly a Kite

The wide open beaches of the Oregon Coast are perfect for kite-flying. All you need is a day with not too much or too little wind. Find a beach with lots of room to run and enjoy watching your colorful kite dance in the breeze. In the Fall you can join in the fun at the Lincoln County Kite Festival.

Visit a Lighthouse

The Oregon coast is home to some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the country. Take your family on a tour of these iconic structures and learn about their history and importance. Explore lighthouses around Cape Meares (the shortest lighthouse in America), Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Oregon’s tallest) and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (the most dangerous lighthouse ever built).

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Go Whale Watching

The Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon is home to several species of whales which can be seen from shore or by taking a whale watching tour boat excursion. Every winter, thousands of gray whales migrate up and down the Oregon Coast.

Explore Tide Pools

Low tide exposes hidden rock pools filled with sea-life such as starfish, anemones, tiny crabs and other small sea creatures perfect for exploring with kids. Exploring tide pools can be a great hands-on activity for curious learners. Seeing marine life in it’s unique ecosystem can lead to many great discussions. All of the sea creature must remain in their natural habitat, but kids can draw pictures of the new creatures they’ve just seen.

Beachcombing

Beachcombing is one of the most popular and easy Oregon Coast activities. It requires very little planning and yields an abundance of treasure! Whether it’s agates, glass floats, or shells, beachcombing is a great way to explore the coastline while collecting some cool treasures along the way.

Visit Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is an iconic landmark located off Cannon Beach that stands 235 feet above sea level and was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1966 due to its remarkable structure and beauty. It can be a great place for bird-watching and exploring tide-pools. One of the most popular birds to see there is the tufted puffin. Don’t forget to get your photo taken with Haystack Rock in the background!

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Go for Scenic Hike

There are plenty of trails along the coastline that offer spectacular views, from short hikes around local parks to longer treks along rugged headlands. The Oregon Coast has no shortage of spectacular hiking trails with stunning views overlooking both mountains and sea cliffs. Trails range from easy walks to more challenging treks for experienced hikers looking for a challenge.

Bird Watching

Birdwatchers flock to this region every year because it’s home to over 200 species ranging from bald eagles to tufted puffins. For a list of what kinds of species to find in each county along the coast, check out this resource page about bird-watching.

Learn About Local Wildlife

From bald eagles soaring overhead to harbor seals frolicking in tide pools, there are plenty of opportunities for learning about local wildlife along the Oregon Coast.

Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium has fun and educational activities for all ages and one of the best playgrounds anywhere. It’s easy to spend the whole afternoon there and you can even grab lunch at the cafe.

Go Crabbing

Crabbing is something anyone can do! All you need is some bait (raw chicken works best) tied onto a string attached to a crab trap which you can buy at any local tackle store . 11. Visit an Art Gallery – Many towns along coastal have galleries featuring artwork created by local artists with pieces ranging from glass blowing to painting featuring scenes from around the area.

Have a Picnic

Enjoy a picnic lunch on one of many sandy beaches or grassy dunes along this scenic coastline! 12 Photography – Capture breathtaking photographs with panoramic views overlooking rocky headlands jutting out into vast oceans or foggy forests and misty clouds.

Get Ready to Enjoy Your Favorite Oregon Coast Activities

The Oregon Coast is full of adventure and exploration for all ages—from beach-combing to whale watching, there’s no shortage of educational activities. Whether you’re looking for an active vacation or just a relaxing weekend away with family—there’s something here for everyone. So grab your camera, pack up your gear and get ready for an unforgettable experience.

Talk to one of trip specialists to start planning your next adventure! We have an Oregon Coast family trip package that you can explore or talk to use about creating a more customer experience.

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Exploring Trillium Lake in the Fall & Winter

Exploring Trillium Lake is amazing anytime of year. Summer activities end around September and then there are completely new options.

With summer winding down and fall on the horizon, now is the perfect time to start planning your next outdoor adventure. And if you’re looking for somewhere beautiful to enjoy the changing leaves, look no further than Trillium Lake! This mecca for outdoor enthusiasts offers stunning views of Mt. Hood and is teeming with vibrant foliage this time of year. Here’s everything you need to know about making the most of a trip to Trillium Lake in the fall.

Autumn is a beautiful time to explore Oregon. The leaves are changing color, the air is chilly but refreshing, and there’s a feeling of magic in the air. One of my favorite places to explore during this season is Trillium Lake. The views are stunning, and there’s always something new to see.

Exploring Trillium Lake in the Winter is also amazing. The famous Trillium Lake usually has easy access and popularity make this one spot where you’ll find scores, not just from skiers but also snowshoers or cross-country riders looking for some fresh tracks in between tree lines!

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No matter what time of year you go, Trillium Lake is an excellent spot for a day trip from Portland. It’s one the many great things about living in this area and exploring its natural beauty.

Getting to Trillium Lake

Trillium Lake is located just off Highway 26, about an hour and a half from Portland. From the east side of town, take I-84 to Troutdale and then follow signs for Sandy/Mt. Hood. Once you reach Rhododendron, continue straight onto Highway 26 for about 28 miles until you reach the lake.

If you’re coming from the west side, take Highway 26 east from Sandy until you reach Trillium Lake. The journey takes about an hour and 45 minutes. Keep in mind that during peak leaf-peeping season, traffic can be heavy so plan accordingly!

The road to Trillium Lake is closed by mid-fall, but winter users can still enjoy all kinds of fun in the forest. It’s one Of Mt Hood National Forest’s most popular spots because it has an easy access and offers great views!

Things to Do at Trillium Lake

Go for a Hike

One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of Trillium Lake is to hike around it. The 4-mile loop trail provides stunning views of Mount Hood, as well as opportunities to see wildlife like beavers, otters, and native fish. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all skill levels, making it an enjoyable experience for everyone in your group. And, if you time your hike right, you might even catch a glimpse of the sunset reflecting off the lake’s surface—a truly magical sight!

Enjoy the Snow

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can enjoy the snow-covered trails in the Trillium Sno Park.

What to Bring

No matter when you go, be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and traction devices for your boots. As the snow falls and temperatures drop, it’s important to be prepared for winter weather. Make sure you have proper gear like layers so that your body can adjust accordingly when going out in cold conditions with extra shoes or gloves on hand. And no matter what time of year it is, always remember to Leave No Trace and pack out whatever you bring in!

And of course make sure to bring your camera along because the views are truly breathtaking!

Permits Needed

You will need a State of Oregon Sno-Park permit to visit the area from November – April.

Trillium Lake is a stunning spot that’s well worth a visit any time of year. However, if you have the opportunity to go in the Fall or Winter, when the leaves are changing color and the air is crisp and cool, definitely take it.

Have Us Help You Plan Your Mount Hood Adventure

Exploring Trillium Lake is day 3 of our Winter on Mount Hood trip. When you hire the Land Wander team to plan your outdoor adventure, we handle all the reservations, permits, and planning for you. This allows you to enjoy the outdoors without the hassle!

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3 Nights on the Central Coast

3ish hours south of San Francisco lies the peaceful city of Paso Robles. It’s the last major stop on the way to San Luis Obispo heading south and the perfect destination to get lost for a long weekend. Very similar to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, we were eager to explore!

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We applied the usual calculus to set up our trip parameters: xxx miles per day, yyy amp hours in the house batteries, zzz gallons remaining in the holding tanks before we need to find a dump station. Get the kids back in time for school and maintain the proper balance of old and new experiences, masked at 6′.

Stanger Vineyards


Lots of options to overnight in the area but limited avails last minute. It’s becoming our biggest limitation as glampers: scarcity of qualified places to park it. We decided make a call to our friends at Stanger Vineyards and we lucked out. Roger & Laurie Janakus are great people to know in the Paso wine scene. Very easygoing and were always accommodating. Their hospitality was only exceeded by their delicious wines, both of which we enjoyed immensely.

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Staying on the property is a dream. It’s not downtown Paso but that’s not what we were looking for either. Acres of rolling hills to explore, kids can run off and be kids and easy access to really good wines. Each time we’ve been, the crowds have been minimal and there’s not a lot we haven’t been allowed to do. The view from atop the main hill captures breathtaking views throughout the day but sunrises are the best. It’s easy livin’ and a great place to call home for a few nights.


Splash Cafe

Whenever the opportunity presents itself, it’s always a good move to eat with the locals, especially when you’re in town for a few days. Splash Cafe is the kind of place that attracts both locals and those just passing through. It’s their second storefront in the area, just a quick trip south from Stanger, in the heart of San Luis Obispo.

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They serve a great mix of top notch fare, but are most famous for their clam chowder. Eating with the locals wasn’t in the cards, because… COVID, but we did do some risk taking and took our bread bowls of chowder to eat in the car. This chowder is so good, we even served it at our wedding! Truth. Get yours fully loaded (topped with seafood, clams, bacon, green onion & cheese). You wont go hungry.


Central Coast Trail Rides

One of the challenges in wine country is trying to find things for the family to do that isn’t related to wine. We found the perfect detox at Central Coast Trail Rides. It’s wine-adjacent, starting our journey from the back lot of Cass Vineyards and walking the horses through the wintering vines for the first part of our adventure but cross the road and we were in a beautiful dry river bed where the horses felt at home.

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Brian Hallett and his wrangler Olivia were the best: perfect blend hospitality, kid curator/question answerer and chaperone for the young and old. They are the NICEST people and were naturals at explaining everything unique about this very new experience for the whole family. So many questions. So much patience with the ability to control several 600lb. animals at once (a skill I really appreciated). We all felt safe and watched over by CCT and are already planning our next horse adventure!


43 Ranch Olive Oil

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Day 3: we pulled up stakes at Stanger and drove north back home via an overnight stop at 43 Ranch. Greg and Cindy Traynor are doing it right. After years in big business, Greg became the 5th generation of farmers in his family business, growing olives and milling some of the best oils in the US. 43 Ranch Olive Oil applies a lot of sophistication to an ingredient I never thought much about beyond the initials EVOO. Did someone say olive oil tasting? LET’S GO! we tasted them all but found our happy place with the co-milled Meyer Lemon Olive Oil – 2021 harvest. Greg was amazing!

The milling season had just wrapped up the week prior, and the warehouse was a hot mess but he still took the time to walk us through a day in the life of an olive, from tree to bottle, in a 30-minute farm tour. The automation. The machines. The gadgetry. When paired with an expert like Greg, it makes for a tasty finishing oil. I’ll remember two things from this adventure: doing olive oil shots with my 9-year-olds & scoring an overnight spot, up the hill away from hwy 101 with views of rolling green hills in every direction. When passing through or overnighting, stop in and have a few shots. You’ll leave with a new appreciation for finishing oils and you’ll learn something too.