Beaches on the Oregon Coast are unique and quite magical to visit.
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We explored some of the best beaches on the Oregon coast for families with kids during our road trip to the Pacific Northwest. There is no end to the variety of beaches in Oregon – each one is so unique. This is exactly what makes beach-hopping your way through the Oregon coast so much fun!
During the planning process for Oregon, I asked each family member to list the most important thing to see on the coast of Oregon. Then, I chose beaches and activities in Oregon based on the request of each family member.
You can read more about this approach to planning a family vacation in my step by step guide to planning a family vacation.
On the list was: splashing in the waves, collecting agates, playing in tide pools, rolling on sand dunes, visiting lighthouses and whale watching. After visiting many of the recommended beaches in the Oregon coast guidebooks, I am sharing our favorites.
1. Hobbit Beach
Hobbit Beach and Heceta Beach share a common trailhead just off the side of Highway 101. You can hike the trail south to Heceta Beach or west to Hobbit Beach.
Heceta Beach is generally on the list of best beaches to see and it was on our list too. Just North of the Heceta Head
What kid could resist a hike and beach for hobbits? Especially a particular kid who loves fairies.
Hobbit Trail is a fun 1/2 mile trail through the mossy, tangly growth of trees and bushes. The thick bushes create a tunnel that winds down the hill and opens to a beautiful sandy beach. The whole experience is quite magical and the beach is perfect for kids.
The protected beach has low waves for playing in and tide pools for exploring. The short trail was easy for everyone to carry their own packs with beach gear and lunch.
As a bonus, we stopped at the Heceta Head overlook on Highway 101. We could see a good view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse and the beach.
Just below the pullout off on Highway 101, The sea lions were laying on the rocks and barking. We could hear them when we got out of the car. They are noisy!
Sea lions in their natural habitat – check. No need to spend time and money to go to the caves. (Here is the link if you do want to go to the Sea Lion Caves)
2. South Beach
We stayed at the South Beach Oregon State Park campground because camping with beach access was on our wish list. South Beach is a large Oregon state park with camping and day facilities and beach access. My parents stayed at a hotel right on the beach.
The beach is long, wide, flat and breezy but not windy like some others. You can see the Yaquina Bay lighthouse from the beach.
There is plenty of open space for walking, playing frisbee with the dog or flying kites. There is so much space that you can lose each other in the fog.
We played on this beach, digging in the sand, looking for shells and jumping in the waves. My old doggie loved to wander and run on the wide-open sand.
3. Agate Beach
As the name implies Agate Beach is known for, agate hunting, this beach was actually really fun for playing in the small sand dunes. The low rolling dunes are warm and soft for jumping, rolling and burying yourself in the sand. The kids played endlessly and we had to drag them away from this beach.
The beach has a couple of access points and a large parking lot for RVs. We actually had lunch in the RV parking lot at a picnic table because we had the camper with us.
If you are on a multigenerational trip, this is a great beach for kids but not so much for the grandparents. The long stretch of dunes does make it a difficult walk out to the water. So only part of our group actually made it out splash in the water.
If you do want to try your hand at rock hounding, you can walk along the waterline over to the inlet of the stream to look for agates. Part of our group did this but didn’t find many agates. We did find another beach on the Oregon Coast much better for agates – hint look at #7 beach.
4. Seal Rock Beach
Seal Rock Beach is a warm sunny cove for playing in the water and bird watching. Birds nest in the rock outcrop adjacent to the beach and the freshwater stream is full of gulls and other shorebirds.
Seal Rock beach is known for the tide pools at low tide but we made it there while the tide was coming in. Note: Make sure to check the tide schedules if you want to see the tide pools. Although, the water was too high for exploring the tide pools, this sunny beach was a welcome relief from the winds of the Oregon coast.
The parking lot is small and no RV parking which keeps the beach from getting crowded. It has a scenic overlook of the rock outcropping and ocean.
The beach is a short but steep hike from the car but close enough to bring all our gear. We spread the blanket by some driftwood for a nice lunch.
We consider this one of the best beaches on the Oregon coast because of the sheltered cover and tidepools. The cove is safe for the kids to run and play in the freshwater stream, low waves, tide pools, on the driftwood and in the sand.
The town of Seal Rock is a cute little town along the highway. We did not stay in the town but they have many little places listed on Booking.com
5. Neskowin Beach
The kids voted Neskowin State Recreation Area one of their favorite beaches. The beach is in a small protected cove and is sunny and warm so it’s perfect for splashing and playing.
The ghost forest, with 2,000-year-old tree stumps rising out of the water gives this beach a unique look. Proposal Rock is one of the only sea stacks on the Oregon coast that you can access from the beach.
The toddler and preschooler had fun forging the 3-inch deep creek that flows down the beach to the ocean. The creek water was much warmer than the ocean water and kids were everywhere splashing in the water and building sandcastles.
Neskowin beach was particularly kid-friendly and I think the best beach on the Oregon Coast for toddlers – hands down.
The big kids headed straight for Proposal Rock to climb on. Dad had fun walking the beach and wondering about the tree stumps sticking out of the water.
Maybe the biggest hit was the little ice cream stand across from the parking lot. We enjoyed the ice cream cones on our walk to the beach. We agreed that this was a much better (and cheaper) way to enjoy Tillamook ice cream than the crowded, over-rated Tillamook Cheese Factory tour.
Many families were staying in a couple of hotels that were right on the beach. I think I would choose one of those hotels to stay in if we were not RVing. You can search the hotels in Neskowin here on Booking.com
6. Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City
If you want to explore tide pools, climb a huge sand dune and the experience of driving on the beach this is your beach. We even saw whales spouting in the distance against the sunset. Quite spectacular.
We had fun exploring the tide pool and sandstone at the edge of the Cape Kiwanda Beach. A huge sandstone cliff and sand dune rise hundreds of feet above the beach. The kids look like tiny ants by the time they climb to the top. They come tumbling, sliding, rolling down to the bottom.
The top of the dune has a spectacular view and a hiking trail leads from the top of the dunes around to the North. The cliff edges are fenced off with danger signs. (Many deaths have occurred over the years so it’s important to heed the warnings and stay safe.)
This beach is very popular and is one of the few beaches that you can drive on around the Oregon coast. I had driven on beaches in Australia, and Charles wanted to have that experience. He got both the experience of driving and being towed out of the sand. Yeah – It’s a little trickier to drive on the beach than you might expect.
7. Oceanside Beach
This is a small quiet beach with secret tunnels, caves, and agates – what could be better! Oceanside Beach was so surprisingly different than any of the other beaches.
The main beach has easy access from the quaint little town of Oceanside. The town is full of B&Bs, inns and cute little hotels.
On arrival, you see a long flat sandy beach with a little stream to splash in. A closer look and you find an intriguing tunnel in the side of the cliffs. Just a sign that warns of the danger of falling rocks marks the entrance.
The tunnel is just a rough tunnel and no lighting – which makes the walk even more exciting to kids. It is an easy short walk for kids and adults – just watch your head.
The tunnel opens to another beach full of rocks and pebbles. When we arrived it was foggy and no one else could be seen. It was quite magical.
We spend an hour or more sifting through the rocks finding agates. We filled our pockets until the tide was coming in and the evening was getting cool.
We felt like we had discovered a secret magical beach full of mythical agates we had been searching for the whole trip.
Final Thoughts on the best beaches on Oregon Coast for families with kids.
We have been beach hopping in other parts of the country and world. Oregon coast is unique in the variety of different types of beaches and the special aspects of each beach.
You will be surprised at each new beach you visit. Sometimes you will go in search of agates and find sand dunes. Or just a quiet cove and find a secret tunnel.
Since the beaches on the Oregon Coast are so different, its impossible to pick our number one favorite. We highly recommend visiting a couple of beaches. So we listed the 7 best beaches on the Oregon Coast for kids.
If you are planning a trip to the Oregon Coast – here are some more resources that we have created and we recommend:
- Detailed step by step guide to planning a family vacation (with free printable template)
- Family Packing Checklist (with free printables)
- 17 Tips for a road trip with toddlers.
- Booking.com for places to stay on the Oregon Coast
The possibilities seem endless! What is on your family’s list of best beaches on the Oregon Coast?
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