With two popular beach towns just 90 minutes away, it’s easy to take a day trip to the Pacific Ocean from Portland. Travel west on U.S. 26, through the lush Coast Range mountains, until you reach U.S. Highway 101.
Head south a few miles to Cannon Beach, an artsy coastal village, or turn north to explore the kid-friendly offerings of Seaside. No matter which you choose, you’ll find breezy seascapes and welcoming vibes.
This scenic town claims several coastal landmarks, including the iconic Haystack Rock. Rising 235 feet (72 m) above a long, sandy beach, Haystack Rock offers some of the best tide pools on the coast and the opportunity to see Tufted Puffins from April through July.
Start your day at Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters and enjoy some organic java with a house-made scone or muffin. Visit Sea Level Bakery for fresh-baked bread or pastries and a cup of locally-roasted coffee.
After fueling up, set a course for Ecola State Park. The nine-mile (14.5 km) park stretches along the coastline and includes scenic views and a network of trails. Follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery on the Clatsop Loop Trail, or simply enjoy the abundant wildlife in the tidepools and surrounding forest.
If tromping around outdoors isn’t your thing, or if Oregon’s coastal weather doesn’t cooperate, explore the vibrant arts scene instead. Mid-town Cannon Beach has a dozen or so galleries, including the Cannon Beach Gallery Group and the DragonFire Studio and Gallery,.
Visiting the Oregon Coast with kids? Help them burn off their saltwater taffy rush with a stop at the Cannon Beach Skate Park or some kite flying. Families with children age eight or older can schedule a session at The Cannon Beach Escape Room.
Close out the day with a meal at Bill’s Tavern and Brewhouse, a favorite for its seafood-centric pub grub and house microbrews, like the award-winning Duck Dive Pale Ale. If you’re in the mood for beer or a house-smoked pastrami Reuben but also need duct tape, Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House has you covered. Visit this local favorite for hot food, cold beer, hardware supplies and a fun story to tell your friends back home.
Seaside has been a top destination for families since the turn of the 20th century, thanks to beloved attractions like the Promenade, a 1.5-mile, lamppost-lined walkway built in 1920. To see the strip in style, rent cruiser beach bikes or a family-sized surrey.
Don’t miss a whirl on the beloved Seaside Carousel inside the Seaside Carousel Mall. The 24 ornate carousel animals are based on figures at San Francisco’s American Carousel Museum.
The Seaside Aquarium welcomes kids (and kids at heart) who want to learn more about life beneath the waves. Visitors can feed the resident seals and explore “touch tanks” full of colorful sea creatures.
Ready get out on the water? There are plenty of places to rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and whimsical paddle boats shaped like giant swans. Adventurous types can pop by one of the local surf shops for lessons or wetsuit and board rental.
Other outdoor activity options in Seaside include: golf, hiking, birdwatching, a seasonal farmers market and summer art walks. Visit Seaside’s event calendar for a list of upcoming events.
If the weather is blustery, bring the fam to Funland for bumper cars, air hockey and arcade games (including Mariokart). Fuel up at their on-site snack bar. Next, turn their world upside down with a visit to Inverted Experience and take home a hilarious family photo.
When you’re ready to unwind, head to Seaside Brewing Company, headquartered in former city jail. Their spacious patio is dog-friendly, and their menu includes options for kids and vegetarians.
Speaking of doggos, The Starry Night Inn is a locally-owned, centrally-located place to stay in Seaside that welcomes four-legged travelers. Reserve one of their studio-style cabins and enjoy all the on-site amenities including a spa, indoor/outdoor lounging area, fire pits, propane grill and more.
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