Ocean Shores, Washington lies on a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and North Bay. The small coastal city offers everything from beachcombing to hiking, with a small town charm where you can unwind and relax. With a sandy beach on one side and wetlands on the other, your family can explore the vibrant coastal marine life. After settling into your Ocean Shores vacation rental, head out to the coastline to enjoy the view. Then add these top family activities to your to-do list.

1. Stroll the Ocean Shores North Jetty

Start out by walking the North Jetty, which lies at the southern end of the peninsula. The jetty offers spectacular views whether the sea is calm or a bit tumultuous. If the tide is out, check out the tide pools on the beach. Kids can get a close look at the small marine life that thrives in the tidal zones.

2. Go Horseback Riding

Horseback riding, especially along the beaches, is a popular activity at Ocean Shores. The Nan-Sea Stables not only takes your family on a ride along the beach, but it also teaches you all about horse care from basic riding to grooming and feeding. If you have small children, they can get comfortable atop the horse in the stable’s outdoor or indoor arenas where there’s supervision. If your family has experience with horses, opt for the Chenois Creek Horse rentals where you can go on unguided rides along the beach, although the agency offers guided tours as well. For a short jaunt, try out Honey Pearl Ranch with its one-hour rides.

3. Visit Ocean City State Park

Ocean City State Park is a 170-acre area located along the beach. You can camp overnight here, or just spend a day doing some fishing in Lang Lake. Bring along your kayaks for a little freshwater fun. You can really get into the spirit of exploration and do some snorkeling, diving, and clamming along the shore or just hike down to the beach and enjoy the view.

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4. Explore the Coastal Interpretive Center

If you’re going to spend a lot of time on the beach, learn a little about the nature and wildlife at the Coastal Interpretive Center. The exhibits are all about the local history and ecology, featuring rocks, crystals, and volcanic formations that were part of how the area formed. The habitat room displays the local flora and fauna found in the coastal forests, marshes, and dunes of Ocean Shores. Small children can get involved as well with the touchable exhibits with artifacts that they can handle. Finish up with a hike along the Interpretive Trail, where you can put your new knowledge to use.

5. Go Swimming

Ocean Shores offers vacation rentals on the beach as well as homes along the canals and waterways that run down the peninsula. You can roll out of bed for some early morning swimming – or enjoy the sun while the kids do some early morning swimming. The public beach access makes it easy to get to the water to cool off.

6. Explore the Beaches

The beaches at Ocean Shore are good for more than just lounging in the sun. You can build sand castles, fly kites, and go beachcombing. There are all sorts of shells that your kids can collect to commemorate your vacation. There are also interesting rocks, thanks to volcanic activity in the Pacific Northwest. Local agate comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. Go to the beach at Damon Point, which has a hiking trail and plenty of sand to explore.

7. Take a Boat Tour

The North Bay, a coastal wetland habitat, is filled with interesting plant and animal life. Book a boat tour for the family at Ocean Shores Electric Boats, and get an up-close glimpse at all this life – or just use the tour as a chance to relax in the ocean breeze.

8. Go Kayaking

If you want to explore the wetland habitat up close, rent a couple of kayaks and cruise through the North Bay Natural Area Preserve or over to the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area. You might catch a glimpse of deer walking along the shore or pelicans looking for a tasty meal. There are even baby seals and snowy owls.

9. Have Fun at a Family Center

For more structured fun, head over to Pacific Paradise or Playtime. These family fun centers boast arcades, miniature golf, and go-karts. Challenge your kids to a race on the go-kart track, or try for that elusive hole-in-one on the putting greens.

10. Stop at Westhaven State Park

Take a boat across the channel to Westhaven State Park and Westport Light State Park. Here you can hike, swim, lay on the beach, or climb the lighthouse. The broad walking path through the coastal grasslands makes a family stroll the perfect activity. While you’re in the area, stop for a quick bite at Odysseus.

11. Go Whale Watching

One must-do on your list should be whale watching. Whales regularly make their way through the coastal area, which gives your kids a unique opportunity to view the marine mammals in their natural environment. Westport Whale Watch and Advantage Charters both provide opportunities to see the animals.

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