Since there can be a little bit of driving between the different sites on the coast, we decided to spend the first few hours of each day exploring Big Stump beach near our house. This allowed us to take our time each morning and ease into our day. Beach time usually included flying kites, looking for shells or digging in the sand, which to my surprise, fascinated my older boys for hours.
By the early afternoon, everyone was usually ready to jump in the car and start exploring the sites. Even though this was our third time visiting the coast, all our kids were excited to be back. Every time we go, we end up finding new things to explore, and this year was no exception. Since more significant places to see are north of Waldport, we spent our first two days moving up the northern part of the coast and our last two days traveling south of Waldport. Below are a few of the places we explored.
North of Waldport
Seal Rock (8 minutes from Waldport)
A beautiful beach any time of the day, but during low tide, we always find sea stars, anemone and all kinds of different ocean life.
Newport (25 minutes from Waldport)
This is our favorite city along the coast. We like to spend an entire day in Newport eating breakfast at the Pig N Pancake, going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, picking out unique taffy at the 2 Kids Candy Store, and eating clam chowder at Mo's restaurant. The historic bayfront in Newport is also an easy way to see seals up close.
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (34 minutes from Waldport)
This nature preserve is close to Newport and features one of the best tide pools we have found along the coast. We always see seals in the ocean as we explore the tide pools in this spot, and one year we even saw whales while taking pictures at the Yaquina Bay lighthouse.
Devil's Punch Bowl (39 minutes from Waldport)
This naturally carved rock is another spot that is great to visit at low or high tide. We prefer visiting it at low tide when the ocean has left the bowl and you can discover the many shells inside.
Tillamook Creamery (2 hours from Waldport)
This was our first visit to the creamery’s newly remodeled building and we were pleasantly surprised with all the updates. There are a lot of new interactive things for kids to do along the tour that teaches them about the different processes of how cheese is made. The tour starts at the farm exhibit which is a fun way for everyone to learn about how farmers care for the cows that provide the milk. As you leave the farm exhibit you enter the viewing gallery on the top floor. The viewing gallery is a step by step viewing area that looks over the factory floor as the cheese is being produced and packaged. Our favorite part of the tour was the cheese tasting bar at the end which gives you the opportunity to taste the different types of cheese that Tillamook offers. The Tillamook Creamery is a little over an hour away from Waldport, so be sure to buy a bag a squeaky cheese for the kids to snack on during the drive home.
Cannon Beach (3 hours from Waldport)
We didn't have time to visit Haystack Rock on this trip, but in previous years we have loved spending time at this iconic beach. If you plan on going, try to go early before the crowds because parking can be difficult.