Every summer we’ve taken a family overnight trip to the Oregon Coast. (In addition to occasional daytrips through the year.) This year we semi-reluctantly chose Lincoln City. There’s no big attraction there really, so we weren’t sure if there would be enough to do. We were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed our two days!
First, we visited the brand-new Tillamook Creamery Visitors Center! (Of course, this is not *in* Lincoln City, but it was on the way-ish.) The boys loved seeing the cheese factory a few years ago and I couldn’t wait to see how the new updated factory looked. Plus, you know…delicious Tillamook cheese and ice cream. The new visitors center is gorgeous and large, and they have (cheese-focused) food area and a separate ice cream counter. The boys once again loved watching the cheese production, specifically the slicers.
From Tillamook, we drove to Lincoln City and found a huge playground! It was at Regatta Park, situated on a sweet little lake. It was totally perfect!
For dinner, of course we went to Pig n Pancake–our favorite coast place. 🙂
We stayed in an oceanfront hotel, which we’ve never actually done before. That first day/night was crazy foggy, so the view was of basically nothing. The next morning though, we were all wowed. The boys loved standing at the window just watching the waves.
We spent a good chunk of the day outside. In the morning, we walked to the main drag to explore some shops. We found a cute little bookstore and also a candy shop.
After lunch it was beach time! There were some sweet tide pools but also splashy waves, so we explored carefully. E in particular was very worried that we would get ‘tided on’ and at one point M and I were standing on a tide pool rock when a big wave crashed up and soaked half of me. Thankfully we kept our footing. (I also had my phone in its waterproof case hanging around my neck, so that stayed safe!) We had just bought a beach tent before this trip and brought it out…it was really tough to put together. It did sort of work to keep us out of the constant wind, but of course the boys weren’t interested in sitting in there for very long.
We hit up the playground again before dinner, and found a pizza place next to an arcade for dinner and entertainment.
Any time we’re all at a hotel, we make sure to stay at a place with a pool so the boys can swim. As always, they loved paddling around in their floaties! They went swimming all three days we were there.
We left after lunch the third day! It was a good amount of time with enough variety to feel like a fun adventure. Hurray for coast trips!
After a lot of trips to the Seaside/Cannon Beach areas, we decided to go somewhere new (Newport) this time for a two-night trip, and I’m glad, because it really did feel like an adventure.
The downside of traveling farther down the coast is obviously that it takes longer to get there. So we drove to Tillamook first (which was our first coast overnight trip with babies in 2013) and spent the afternoon in that area.
The boys LOVED the cheese factory. They lay down on the floor and settled in like they were watching television. Probably they would have stayed for quite awhile…as it was we had to practically force them away, and that was to go get ice cream!
Of course they loved getting to choose and enjoy their own big ice cream cones! (When we go to our local ice cream shop, they get a half scoop in a cup.)
From there, we drove to Cape Lookout. The boys were excited to see a real live lighthouse! Sadly they were too small to go up to the top, but they’ll be excited next year to do it. 🙂 It was a gorgeous day to enjoy the coastal scenery!
We drove south along the coast and I kept oohing and aahing. I wanted to stop every five feet but sat on my hands. We did pull into this viewpoint and I decided I wanted to jump with my boys. Andy dutifully took photos for me. 🙂 E & M did really well and they had a great time jumping with me! ❤
We stopped for dinner at Pig n Pancake in Lincoln City (it’s our favorite place to eat when we’re at the coast), and continued down to Newport. The light as we approached was AMAZING. It wasn’t golden hour yet, but it was that perfect gold afternoon light and I was alternately so excited and so frustrated because I couldn’t stop and explore with my camera.
We arrived at our “hoo-tel,” as the boys kept saying, just across the street from the beach. It was going to be the boys’ bedtime soon but the weather and the light were perfect — PERFECT — so we dropped our stuff in our junior suite (literally half of our stuff was stuffed friends, by the way) and walked over to the beach.
Check it out. There was only a light breeze, and I was completely giddy with that light:
They had a fabulous time scooping sand into buckets, running in circles, etc. We had to practically drag them away.
Bedtime back at the hotel was…pretty much the worst. It took like two hours for them to calm down and go to sleep. It was after 10:30 I think. UGHHH.
The next day we started out at the Newport Aquarium. This was the big draw for us and impetus for this trip; we’d been waiting a year or two until the boys would be big enough to enjoy it. We figured this age would be great. And since it cost so much for the four of us to get in, we were hoping they would think so too!
We were there for 4-5 hours total, and we all enjoyed exploring. I had assumed it would be a bit bigger/fancier than it really was, but there was plenty to see. They didn’t care too much about the indoor exhibits, but they liked watching the otters swim in the outdoor exhibits. The tunnel, which we’ve seen in Goodnight Oregon for years now, was not quite as spectacular as I’d expected. But there were three or four, not just one, and that was neat. It was pretty cool to see sharks swimming above your head! Of course, the boys weren’t super interested in the fish…they were super intrigued by the scuba divers (which they pronounce scoopa-divers). They just wanted to sit and watch the divers float around.
Once we’d exhausted the exhibits, we hit the gift shop on the way out. There, the boys discovered the shiny rocks bin. They played with them for probably fifteen minutes and would have happily stayed much longer. We did buy them a pouch of rocks of their choosing. (Which then would fall out/spill in the car and in the hotel for the rest of the trip, causing much distress.) After we’d finally left we asked them their favorite part of the aquarium, and they both said, the shiny rocks. Kids, man.
That afternoon, after a nap and snack, we went to Seal Rock. I was hoping it wouldn’t be very windy, and there were supposed to be tide pools there. Unfortunately, E woke up super cranky, and he was very, very unhappy about the strong winds. M was happy though; he dug in the sand for a bit and then wanted to run around in the edge of the sand/water. I started to take E back to the car and halfway up the trail he decided that he wanted to go back to the beach. He was calmer and happier after that. M was having a great time racing near the water, and he and I went to explore the tide pools that were emerging. (Low tide was still several hours away, but the water was retreating slowly.) And eventually I found some sealife! I cut my feet really bad on some barnacles but I found a little puddle on a rock that was ringed with anemones! It was our first tidepool experience and wild sea creature spotting, and I was really excited about it. 🙂
The following morning we visited the Hatfield Marine Science Center. It’s fairly small, but has some neat things to see. There is one octopus which we saw for less than a minute before she went into hiding again. There were two really neat water tables that demonstrated the tides and tsunamis. I was as interested as all the kids were. 🙂 And then we found the augmented reality geography sand table!! The boys would have played there all.day.long. (I can’t blame them; it’s a really fun tool.)
Our final stop was the Yaquina Lighthouse in the afternoon before we headed home. It was CRAZY WINDY and so foggy we could honestly just barely see the lighthouse from the parking lot. It was very dramatic to see the scenery in that weather! We went to the visitor’s center afterward and the whole place looks so different in all the sunny pictures. (Also, we learned there that it’s pronounced “Yeh-kwinna” not “Yah-keenha”, which is weird.)
As you can see, it was full and fun family adventure! I love creating these little traditions and exploring new places with our boys. I wonder how and when they’ll start building permanent memories, but even just for now, it’s pretty wonderful.
Spending the day out in nature or on a little roadtrip is just the kind of thing that PNW’ers are supposed to do. Up to now we’ve only done it sparingly (because, you know, twins…also, we’re lazy sometimes), but after our second great coast overnight this summer, when the dudes had such a good time on the beach, we vowed to *actually* go to the coast more often. And we did! Woo!
We went on a Sunday in September, back to Seaside and Gearhart. The weather was glorious. The beach was beautiful. We played in the sand, and watched the surf. We had dinner at Pig N Pancake, and watched the sunset on Cannon Beach. It was a fantastic day adventure!
And then we went again the first weekend of October! It was going to be yet another beautiful weekend, and we knew the weather-clock was ticking, so we took advantage. This time we went to Arcadia Beach, which is south of Cannon Beach. It was an incredible day, though beach was very windy. (Gearhart Beach was not at all windy that we recalled, interestingly.) There was a family playing with a football, which attracted the attention of our small, impressionable boys. The family generously let ours play with their soccer ball, and then the boys ended up practically worshipping the older boy, and following/copying every.single.thing he did.
Then they did some splashing in the little beach stream, and then they noticed the rocks. Looking at/collecting/awe-ing over rocks is one of their current favorite activities. Needless to say, we had to pull them away.
We had dinner at Pig N Pancake again, and watched the sun set over the Seaside beach.
It is SO fun to get away for even half a day–it feels like a world away! The littles have an awesome time, and the grownups do too. We relax, explore, eat treats–what’s not to like?
We are so very lucky to live where we do. So many interesting and beautiful places, less than two hours away! I can’t wait to go back to the coast in the spring (and summer, and fall…)!
We stayed in Seaside this year, to be closer to more action. (As opposed to last year in Tillamook, where just the dairy was nearby.) We missed out on the sunshine…but that actually ended up being really nice. We didn’t have to worry about sunscreen and shade and all that jazz. It wasn’t cold but it wasn’t hot; it was actually quite pleasant.
We brought a ton of stuff with us, as always. Mainly food and food-related equipment, but also toys and books. It’s like we moved in or something. We had a king room with a sitting area (a couch). We moved the couch to be a divider and set up the pack and plays on the other side. The babies quickly found the dresser drawers (and slammed their fingers a few times) and the AC/heater unit flap thing (which they kept playing with). NOTE TO SELF: Bring painter’s tape next time!!
Seaside is a pretty small beach town. They have a carousel in a little ‘mall’, and then a little main drag with restaurants, gift shops, candy stores, and arcades. Our guys loved the carousel–we stayed on for a second ride and they wanted to stay longer!
We had to stop in at this huge candy store with racks upon racks of taffy!
We visited the little aquarium. At the front is a little seal enclosure. The dudes definitely loved watching them! Even though we got splashed a bit by the seal antics.
BIG BAD NEWS: My camera got broken on Thursday. 😦 😦 One of our curious and handsy toddlers pulled it off the dresser and apparently it messed up the shutter mechanism. So I was then left with only my iPhone to take pictures for the rest of our time. Cue a very sad and stricken face. I felt a little naked and panicky at the thought of no real camera, especially since I was really looking forward to doing another family beach photo!
By the end of the day, the sky was clearing a bit. We went to dinner in Gearhart (just up the road from Seaside) and went to the beach there. It was nearly empty compared to the very busy Seaside beach! The light was ah-maz-ing…and I didn’t have my big camera! Sob. I set up the iPhone timer app and got this one above, which is a good sister photo to last year’s.
I got a few other decent shots with the phone too, so it wasn’t a total loss. (I mean, not like the pictures are more important than the experience, erm, right?)
Friday was our last day (just the morning): more beach! We went back to Gearhart again to have a nice quiet time playing in the sand. The babies would have probably stayed there all day with their buckets and shovels.
I saw some big animal prints on our walk in, and then on the way out, saw more…and then looked up and saw this! A young elk, I think?
The drive home was a little longer than it was ‘supposed’ to be, but isn’t that how it always happens? Overall it was a really good time–we loved seeing how much the babies loved the beach and playing in the sand. Plus it’s always a good adventure to explore new places. We hope to do a daytrip or two in the fall, and come back to play some more!