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Oswald State Park
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What’s to Love:

This could easily be a unappealing place to bring your kids – it’s overcrowded with terrible parking issues along a very busy highway. However, Oswald State Park does not disappoint! This is an amazingly well-kept beach with plenty of room for all, despite too many people and difficult parking. What makes this particularly appealing to families is the spring-fed, shallow river that feeds into the ocean. This is a great place for kids to play! They can skip rocks, swim, or just splash around in a relatively-safe area. Take a beautiful hike along the beach – there are plenty of tide pools to explore!

Caveats: This is a very popular spot. Generally, we look for areas that are not overrun with people. Luckily, there is plenty of room, and the positive points far outweigh the negative points. Parking can be an issue if you arrive to late in the day.

Website: Oswald State Park

Distance from Portland: Within 2 to 2 1/2 hours drive.

Recommended Ages: All ages.

Stress Factor: Low Stress. This is a great spot to just hang out and enjoy! The only problem is usually with large dogs running around without leashes. Usually, these are nice dogs, but they often bump into kids.

Physical Difficulty: Easy! It’s just a short hike from the parking area to the beach. Great access…thus, the problem with parking and too many people.

Family Fun Factor: Medium/High – older kids 10+ may like this spot, because they can check out other kids and families. If the water is warm enough, they can probably go for a swim as well. Kids 5 and under will be running all over – enjoying the mini-river, rocks, sand and running wild.

Pet Friendly: Yes. However, this is a very crowded area, and you’ll want a leash. Please keep a close eye on your pet. For the most part, dogs seem to do fine at Oswald; however, I’ve seen rogue dogs running around bumping into kids. Please be responsible and use common sense concerning your dog/s. If you really want a place for your dog to just cut loose without a leash, try Cape Lookout beach.

Weather Considerations: It’s the Oregon coast, even in the summer be prepared for cold temperatures and rain. Probably not the best place to go with kids during the winter months and/or rainy summer days.

Insider Info: If you’re thinking of camping at Oswald – good luck! They do not take reservations; thus, it’s a first-come, first-served basis. Most people establish a camping spot mid-week for the upcoming weekend! It’s practically impossible to get a spot for most of the summer. If you’re lucky enough to secure a spot, they have wheel-barrows available to help transport your gear.

Parking is difficult, and the highway and lots are busy. Please keep a close watch on your kids! Show up early (before 10AM) if you want a decent spot. It seems like most people show-up between 11AM and 1PM.

Family Tips: Make sure you bring some good shoes for your kids – I think Crocs work well. There are big, sharp rocks around the spring waterway. Beach toys are a good idea at Oswald. The access to the beach is less than 1/2 a mile!

As at many beach spots: No decent restaurants in the immediate area, pack a picnic lunch for the beach! Also, you’ll want to bring some serious snacks, drinks and entertainment for the car ride. You’ll probably be spending as much time in the car as you do at the beach. Don’t let it deter you though…as long as you’re safe, this is a wonderful family spot. Oh yeah…no shade! Bring sunglasses, hats and plenty of sunscreen.

Technorati Tags: Oregon Beaches, beaches for kids, beach destinations, surfing, oregon coast, Oswald State Park

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