They say that life is a beach, and if you’re planning a get-away to the Pacific Northwest, an Oregon vacation might go right to the top of your list. After all, they do have nearly three hundred miles of truly beautiful beach worth considering. But let’s say that, family in tow, you’ve already done the sandy shore justice, from castle building and beach combing to tide-pooling, kite flying, whale watching and sunset gazing. And you’re wondering, what next?
Happily, when it comes to Oregon there’s more than just pretty beach, much more, and depending on where you’re based we have a few suggestions to keep all ages occupied when you’re ready for a break from oceanside frolicking (and no, the casino doesn’t count).
Wildlife is a good place to start, too. For example, you can enjoy a fine introduction to marine life at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon, with a wander down around the harbor on the other side of Yaquina Bay for a glimpse of grunting sea lions. Or, with sea lions in mind, you can tackle the pungent tourist attraction, Sea Lion Caves in Florence, Oregon, 50 miles to the south. For more exotic species though, plan for a trip either to the pleasant Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon, or a detour down to the coastal town of Bandon for very special photo opportunities with the creatures at West Coast Game Park Safari (how does posing with an opossum sound?). And though living species aren’t the focus, you also might want to consider a trip to one or more of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument units. There are plenty of educational and hands-on exhibits geared toward the younger set, but enough scenery and science to entertain the adults.
If you’re looking rather for a kid-friendly place to pursue outdoor activities, head for the Mount Hood area. There are plenty of easy hikes to consider, great places to bike and in winter, you can sign your young ones up for ski lessons on local slopes. For days when you want a respite from the elements, head over to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, a sleek facility packed with educational exhibits exploring the history and geology of the Columbia Gorge region, located a stone’s throw from the gorge for which it was named.
So sure, you might not do much late night partying with your beloved minors in tow, but you’re not limited to the beach, either. Plan your Oregon vacation with a well-rounded introduction to nature in mind and you’ll find no shortage of ways to while away your holidays.