Brookings, Oregon sits along the Oregon Coast, and it’s often referred to as “The Banana Belt” due to unusually high temperatures during the winter months. Brookings is a great vacation spot for active families, as this friendly town is surrounded by several parks and nature areas, most notably Harris Beach State Park, which provides an abundance of opportunities for outdoor fun. Many vacation rentals in Brookings offer views of the breathtaking coastline, as well as convenient access to several local eateries situated along the water. If you’re planning an Oregon getaway and hoping to find a lot of fun things to do for the whole family, check out this list of kid-friendly activities.

1. Spend the Day at the Beach

Harris Beach State Park offers beautiful sandy beaches and picnic areas, and also serves as home to an abundance of wildlife, including California sea lions and sea birds. Pack a picnic and some beach supplies, and head to the park for a day of fun in the sun. Build sandcastles, dine al fresco at the picnic tables, and splash around in the cool waters at the shoreline. Make sure to have your camera ready in case you spot a rare bird or two, as the park also houses Bird Island, the largest bird breeding island on the Oregon coast.

2. Visit the Pelican Bay Lighthouse

The Pelican Bay Lighthouse overlooks Chetco Cove and the Pacific Ocean, and its unique architecture makes it one of Brookings’ most popular attractions. The most interesting fact about the lighthouse is that it’s attached to a home, making it the second private lighthouse in the state. The tower stands a whopping 141 feet above the ocean, and the light can be seen up to 11 miles away. Stop by during daylight hours and take photos from the lower parking lot, or take a night drive down Lower Harbor Road and view the light from afar.

3. Take a Family Fishing Charter

If you’re hoping to sample some of the Oregon Coast’s tasty King Salmon, sign the family up for a fishing charter and catch some of your very own. Brookings Fishing Charters takes hopeful anglers to reefs with low fishing pressure, so even beginners have a chance at reeling in these hard-fighting fish, and Captain Andy is always nearby to lend a helping hand.

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4. Visit the Brookings Harbor Farmers and Artisans Market

For a fun morning mingling with local residents and enjoying tasty treats, stop by the Saturday Brookings Harbor Farmers and Artisans Market. Sample sweet pastries and homemade jams, and pick up some fresh produce for a meal at your vacation rental. Local artisans have booths throughout the market with craft items and original artwork if you’re hoping to take home a souvenir or memento from your Oregon holiday.

5. Take a Family Hike Along Indian Sands Trail

For some great views and an easy hike that everyone in the family can enjoy, head over to the Indian Sands Trail. The looping trail is less than a mile long, and it’s suitable for all skill levels. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains as you walk along the path, then take a break when you reach the beach just outside of the forest. Make sure to bring your camera along to capture some beautiful shots of the surrounding nature.

6. Learn About History at the Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum

To learn all about the history of Brookings, spend the day at Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum. The museum is actually the oldest house in Brookings, and at one time it was a trading post and way station. Take a walking tour of the grounds, then step inside and check out artifacts of early settlers and rooms containing original decor and furnishings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

7. Go Antiquing at Pacific Coast Mall

For a fun day of shopping and perusing unique items, pay a visit to the Pacific Coast Antiques Mall. Located in Brookings Harbor along Shopping Center Avenue, this interesting shop offers a wide range of one-of-a-kind items from yesteryear. Take a trip back in time as you browse through the selection of antique clocks, jewelry, and furnishings, then take a walk along the avenue and check out the other kitschy shops in the area that sell fun souvenirs, gifts, and handmade candles.

8. Attend a Community Theater Show

The Petco Pelican Players put on several shows each year at the Brookings Performing Arts Center, and the group is the oldest continually-performing community theater company on the Oregon Coast. Past shows include “Chicago,” “Monster in the Closet,” and “My Three Angels,” and new shows go up every year. Check the company’s website for specific shows and times, then head over to the theater for a night of entertainment.

9. Take a Kayak Tour

Explore the Oregon Coast by kayak by signing up for a group outing with Southcoast Tours. The tour takes you through the waterways and rivers of the coast, past wildlife in their natural habitats and the lush greenery of the forests. For a fun nighttime adventure, consider signing the family up for an overnight tour.

10. Go Whale Watching

For a chance to get up close and personal with some of the most mysterious and beautiful creatures of the ocean, take a whale watching tour with Whale Research Eco-Excursions. The boats leave from Depoe Bay, and all trips are captained by marine biologists and naturalists who can answer your questions and provide fun and interesting facts about these gentle giants.

11. Visit Azalea Park

Azalea Park is referred to as “The Crown Jewel of Brookings,” due to its amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and azaleas at every turn. The park once served as a pathway for miners traveling in from California, as well as a coastal wagon route for settlers. Pack a picnic and a Frisbee, and spend the day in the park, surrounded by its natural beauty. Play a game of horseshoes, or simply relax in the shade in the gazebo as the kids go exploring.

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