Nestled on the scenic Oregon coastline, Gold Beach is a wilderness vacation destination for families looking to enjoy the bounty of nature from a rustic Gold Beach vacation rental. While fly fishing and brew festivals appeal to adults, kid-friendly activities abound. Take your kids to spot whales from the cape while enjoying sweeping views of cliffs and rocky outcroppings, or walk through a rain forest trail dotted with dinosaur replicas. From combing the sandy beaches to discovering tide pools, here are 10 things to do in Gold Beach that your kids are sure to love.
1. Take a Walk Through Prehistoric Gardens
Take a relaxing walk through Oregon’s temperate rain forest while your kids enjoy the sights of life-sized dinosaur figures. After snapping some family photos in front of the huge Tyrannosaurus rex replica, start down the loop path for a self-guided tour amidst old-growth trees. The 20-minute walk is stroller-friendly and easy enough for all ages. Before you head back to your rustic vacation rental, stop by the gift shop to pick up a few fun dinosaur-themed souvenirs.
2. Ride a Jet Boat on the Rogue River
Embark on a jet boat tour to explore the untamed rapids of the Rogue River. While the boat ride can get a bit long for younger kids, older kids are sure to enjoy cutting through the rapids and spotting deer and other wildlife on the shoreline. Companies such as Jerry’s Rogue Jets offer multiple tours to fit your family’s tastes, from historic routes to whitewater adventures.
3. Comb the Beaches
The sandy shorelines of the Gold Beach area are teeming with treasures awaiting little beach-combers. Step down to the nearest beach from your vacation rental to find seashells, sea glass, agates, jasper, and jade. If you’re lucky, you may even find fossils and petrified wood. Tiny tots are sure to enjoy collecting beautiful rocks in the black sand, and older kids can use the driftwood from the Rogue River to build beach huts.
4. Hike Through Cape Sebastian State Park
Pull into one of two parking areas looming more than 200 feet above sea level to enjoy panoramic views of the roaring Pacific and the Oregon coastline. Help your kids spot Crescent City in California and Point St. George Lighthouse to the south. Looking north, you can marvel at Humbug Mountain. For a closer look at the shoreline, walk the 1.5-mile hiking trail down the cape.
5. See the Mary D Hume
Visitors of all ages love stopping at this hauntingly beautiful wreck of a steamer that sunk on the shoreline of the Rogue River all the way back in 1881. After failed attempts to bring up the deteriorating boat, the wreckage has been left to spend the rest of its days in the water, making an interesting, free roadside attraction for families. Be sure to read the informational plaque for some background history about the old steamer.
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6. Venture Through the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Explore 12 miles of coastline characterized by sandy beaches, rocky outcroppings, and quiet coves that offer a secluded refuge for families looking to reconnect with nature. Explore the 27 miles of hiking trails to see 300-year-old Sitka spruces and sweeping vistas, or just enjoy a quiet family picnic while soaking in the amazing views.
7. Go Whale-Watching
Any spot along the shoreline is a good place to bust out a few pairs of binoculars and watch for migrating California gray whales during December through February and March through May. Keep an eye out for the signature plume of mist from a whale’s blowhole that signals it has breached the surface.
8. Check Out the Tidepools
Gold Beach’s rocky shorelines are ripe with tidepools where kids of all ages can spot starfish, sea anemones, mussels, small fish, and more. You can also spot hermit crabs and shrimp in the calm pools. If you’re looking for the best tide pools in the area, check out Rocky Point, Myers Creek, Lone Ranch Wayside, and Whiskey Creek. Remember to bring a magnifying glass to see some of the tinier sea creatures and aquatic plants.
9. Kayak or Raft Down the Illinois River
Venture into the beautiful Oregon wilderness with a rafting trip or kayak excursion down the Illinois River, where calm water holes and small rapids create a diverse rafting environment that’s perfect for the whole family. Kids love seeing the small waterfalls and looking for wildlife in the woods. If you’re vacationing during summer months, stop by one of the gravel beach areas to swim and cool off after enjoying your time on the water.
10. Enjoy a Family Bike Ride
Gold Beach offers plenty of opportunities for a relaxing family bike ride with scenic views of the rivers and cliff-studded coastline. Ride the Rogue River trail from Buffington Park for a more challenging trail ideal for older kids and teens, or enjoy a relaxing ride along the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway that brings you past sweeping ocean views, basalt sea stacks, rushing rivers, and cranberry bogs. Bikes for rent can be hard to come by, so consider bringing your own bikes and keeping them at your vacation rental.
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