A couple weeks ago we shared a bit about our visit at the gorgeous Oceanfront Lodge in Manzanita, Oregon, and today we’re going to share a little travel guide of things to do in the area so you can plan your own trip! We love to visit the Oregon coast because it is so family friendly, and the coastal towns are dreamy. There are so many places to have amazing adventures (many are free!) and the beauty there is other-worldly. So, get out your planner and let’s pencil in your itinerary (and check out more highlights of the trip on our Instagram stories)!
We have talked about our love of Manzanita here and here, and love having this little oasis be our headquarters when we travel to the coast. We love staying with the Houses on Manzanita Beach, and have stayed at the Historic Reed House and the Oceanfront Lodge and both were beyond dreamy. Plus, Manzanita itself is the sweetest town with charming restaurants, shops, bakeries and neighborhoods to explore away from crowds. Not to mention that Manzanita is right on the beach with stunning views of Neahkahnie Mountain. It’s the perfect peaceful spot for an early morning walk to find sand dollars or to set up a sunset campfire on the beach.
2. Short Sand Beach
Only a seven minute drive from Manzanita is Short Sand Beach, part of Oswald West State Park. Visiting this beach was a perfect mix of nature and beach, since you take a leisurely hike through the most stunning forest to get to the beach. This beach was a favorite for flying kites, watching surfers and taking in the rocky views.
3. Hug Point State Recreation Site
Hug Point is just 13 minutes from Manzanita and is paradise for the budding naturalists in your family! Our kids loved searching for creatures in its tide pools, exploring the caves in the mountains, and climbing the little waterfall near the beach.
4. Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach a short 20 minute drive up the coast and is one of the most iconic beaches on the Oregon Coast because it is home to the towering Haystack Rock! Even if you’ve visited before, you will be shocked at how expansive and beautiful the rock formations are. They are a must-see! After your visit to Haystack Rock, we recommend taking a stroll through the darling coastal town of Cannon Beach and stopping for fish and chips at Mo’s.
Tillamook is a quaint Oregon town, about 35 minutes from Manzanita, and is home to the Tillamook Cheese Factory! If you haven’t visited here in the last couple of years, you will find when you return that the factory has been recently renovated and is now modern, gorgeous and full of delicious cheese! Our kids loved watching the cheese getting made, playing with the exhibits, and tasting everything they could get their hands on. Plus, the factory has a great little restaurant full of milk-centric menu items including grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and, of course, Tillamook ice cream.
6. Oceanside Beach State Recreation Site
After visiting Tillamook, we took a detour to Oceanside Beach on our way back to Manzanita. A beautiful 20 minute drive west from Tillamook, this beach was an unexpected highlight of the trip! To find it, you park at the State Recreation Site, then head to the beach and enter through a tunnel in the mountain. You come out of the tunnel to bright blue ocean surrounded by towering mountains. This beach is also famous for its rich agates and we could have spent hours pretending we were treasure hunters searching for the perfect stone.
Seaside is one of the larger towns on the Oregon Coast and has some of the more commercial things to do during your stay. Seaside has a movie theater, shopping outlets, and a downtown with a taffy shop, aquarium and arcade. We loved visiting this little aquarium where you can feed seals, get up close with an octopus and touch starfish and crabs!
There you have it! A full few days planned for you on the Oregon Coast! We can’t recommend this place enough for families who want to get away. The nature and beaches are full of beauty and can’t be beat.
ox. Liz & Sam