Our trip to the Oregon coast for my husband’s family reunion was the first major trip we took together as a family since my littlest, Rose, was born.
Most of the planning was out of my hands, which was surprisingly lovely, since I normally feel the need to obsess over every detail of a trip. My primary goal for Oregon was to let it be as relaxing as possible (which can be a difficult goal on a trip with extended family since I have serious personal space needs) but I was pleasantly surprised at just how relaxing it was.
While part of my extreme relaxation could have been due to the beautiful view we had, the constant thrum of the ocean in the background, and easy access to a hot tub, I think a big part of it was that we focused on doing very kid/baby friendly activities. Nothing ruins a vacation quicker than a toddler having a meltdown because you crammed in too many activities, missed a nap, and in your rush forgot to shove some snacks in your purse.
While I am no Lincoln City expert, our activities were pretty successful so I have listed my favorite non-tantrum inducing Oregon coast activities.
Lincoln City is called ‘The Kite Flying Capitol of the World’ for good reason. The city has two festivals a year, one in June and one in October, dedicated to getting those fabric flyers up in the air.
My genius husband packed the kites and what could have been a miserable day on the windy beach, was much more enjoyable. The strong gusts of wind that were blowing canopies over and ruining games of beach volleyball were perfect for getting kites in the air.
The nice thing about this activity is that it is absolutely free if you already have a kite, and if not, there are plenty of places in town to snag one before you head out to the beach.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
This lighthouse is exactly what I imagined when I read A Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (which I highly recommend). The swirling fog and crashing waves below give you a sense that you are completely cut off from the world, making it easy to imagine why lighthouses were so essential.
We didn’t actually tour this one as we didn’t think it work that well for the little kids, but we did stop to explore the outside a bit. If this is a tour you would be interested in, book it in advance, as it fills up quickly.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Not to be confused with Yaquina Head Lighthouse, this one is nice if you have smaller children because it is both free, and doesn’t require your tots to climb up lots of stairs. It’s still not stroller friendly, as you will be going up a few flights, but it isn’t a massive climb like other lighthouses.
If you have a baby, some kind of carrier/wrap is definitely helpful. Even though it isn’t a traditional looking lighthouse (it’s basically a house with the light stuck to the top) my five-year-old didn’t know the difference and had a blast exploring.
I was told there are some fabulous tide pools inside the same park as Yaquina Head Lighthouse, but we were fortunate enough to discover some right on the beach below the house we rented.
After checking the time for low tide we ventured out in the foggy morning with jackets and cameras to explore the rock formations that are only visible a few hours of the day.
My daughter, Reuvo, prefers the aquarium over the zoo so she was in heaven seeing the starfish and the crab in their natural habitat. I think that finding some tide pools for your kids to explore is a must, especially if they don’t live close to the ocean.
Drift Creek Falls
My sister-in-law, the temporary Oregonian, introduced us to this hike. To be honest, this one was as much for my husband as my kids because he was pretty enamored with this 240 ft. suspension bridge. Me, as I am terrified of heights, not so much. Not wanting my fear to rub of on my little one, though, I took a deep breath and crossed, but didn’t linger too long on the bridge for the view of the waterfall like the others did. The view is pretty spectacular and the hike itself was just short enough for my daughter to handle.
There are a lot of the traditional coastal activities like crabbing and whale watching that we just didn’t do, but I am okay with that because happy babies equal happy mommies.