Running almost 400 miles along the western edge of the United States, the Oregon Coast offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. With rocks jutting out of the beaches and waters and cliffs that drop away to the ocean, this area offers a stark beauty all its own. With cool weather even in the summer months, it’s a great place for hiking, biking and outdoor activities. Finding the ideal Oregon Coast vacation rental is easy with a selection of beach homes, condos in a downtown setting and single-family homes in more isolated areas. When you travel with kids, you want to make sure you have plenty of activities waiting in the wings. Start your planning with a look at the top 10 things to do on the Oregon Coast with your kids.

1. Hike Out to the Cape Meares Lighthouse

Located near Tillamook, the Cape Meares Lighthouse dates back to the 1890s. Although it’s no longer active, you and your family can visit and climb to the top. Before reaching the lighthouse you have to take a brief hike to its location. Pack binoculars from your vacation rental so you can show the kids the sea lions frolicking in the sea below when you reach one of several viewing areas.

2. Columbia River Maritime Museum

In Astoria, the Columbia River Maritime Museum teaches you and the family more about Oregon’s maritime history, but your kids will only remember having a good time. Here, they can see what life is like as a tug boat captain, a member of the Coast Guard in the middle of a rescue, and what is was like living in Astoria in the past. The museum features six galleries and a great hall. You and the kids can spend a couple of hours here on a rainy afternoon.

3. Boat Charter

What’s a trip to the beach if you don’t head out onto the ocean. With Garibaldi Charters, you and the family can spend a day on the water. It’s up to you if you want to spend the day teaching the kids to fish or just head out for some whale watching. Request an eco-tour, and you’re off for a trip up and down the coast line to learn more about the ecology of the Oregon coast and measures taken to protect this beautiful area.

4. High Life Adventures

It’s time to let your family soar high above the ground at High Life Adventures. Located in Warrenton, this group has set up eight zip lines that offer stunning views of the 8-acre lake below. A tour guide will take your family out on the lines and tell you a little more about the ecology and history of the local area. You and the kids will zip along these wires for about a mile.

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5. Jerry’s Rogue Jets

Gather the family and pack the sunscreen from your vacation rental for a day of thrills out on the Rogue River. In Gold Beach, Jerry’s Rogue Jets takes families out on the river in a fast power boat to tackle the white water. During the ride, the guide will share local legends and history along with pointing out the wildlife. If you don’t want to hit the white water with younger children, there’s an option for a scenic tour of the river in calmer water.

6. Oregon Coast Aquarium

On a cold or rainy afternoon, take the family indoors at the Oregon Coast Aquarium to learn more about the creatures that live in the ocean. With more than 500 species of animals, this aquarium offers exhibits both indoors and outdoors. You’ll even get a chance to see the otters that dot the Oregon seaside and rocks jutting out of the ocean. Your kids will love touching stingrays and other critters in the touch tanks.

7. Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

In Garibaldi or Rockaway, you can hop on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. You and the family will gasp at the natural beauty of the greenery and wildflowers that surround you as the train winds its way along the coastline with glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. If you prefer, schedule a ride on one of the three train rides that include dinner. During various holidays there are special themes so check the schedule before booking.

8. Sea Lion Caves

Just a short distance north of Florence sit the world’s largest sea caves, and it’s a great spot to take the family for a day of adventure and nature. Descend 200 feet into the cave, and check out the cool inhabitants. Inside the cave, many sea lions make it their home in the fall and winter months. You can watch them for as long as you like but keep a firm hand on small children.

9. Tillamook Cheese Factory

Have you ever wonder how cheese is made? It’s time to learn more with a self-guided tour at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Through videos and interactive kiosk, your kids find out more about the history of cheese making and current trends. Watch your kids watching intently when you arrive at the viewing area for the cheesemaking room and packaging line. After the tour, you can sample the various cheeses then check out the cafe and enjoy a meal or take some fudge back to your vacation rental.

10. Visit a Ghost Town

There are three ghost towns along the Oregon Coast where you can visit a once thriving town that now lies in ruins and abandoned for various reasons. The towns include Blind Slough Logging Camp near Astoria, Clatsop near Astoria and Flavel near Hammond. Always use caution before entering any abandoned building and pay attention to warning signs.

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