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Oceanside, Oregon
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What’s to Love: This tiny, down-to-earth coastal town has maintained a great deal of integrity and local flavor despite being a popular tourist destination. The beach is gorgeous, there are plenty of rental homes for reasonable rates, and your family can walk along the streets without having to worry about traffic. There are several decent restaurants in town, but I prefer the little coffee shop (Brewin’ in the Wind) right next to the beach parking.

Your kids will love the tunnel cut right through the cliff – you’ll see it, and it’s well worth a stroll through to the other side where you’ll see some amazing sea stacks. If the tunnel is too scary, wait until low-tide, and the way should be clear to walk around the cliff alongside the water.
The town amenities are few, but if you’re seeking more solitude and quality time with your family, this is the place for you! There are also enough nearby attractions (see insider info) to keep the whole family busy.

Caveats: The parking area is relatively small. I’ve been to Oceanside on several occasions, and I’ve never had a problem parking. However, this could be an issue on a busy summer day. If you need something at the store, you’re looking at a 12 – 24 mile drive.

Watch out for dog poop on the beach! I saw several irresponsible dog owners during a short period of time. It’s really too bad, because you’re kids are the ones playing in the sand. I saw one woman dig a small, shallow hole with her foot and kick the offending matter into the hole – a feeble attempt to bury it. Other owners just let their dogs run off leash so far ahead, they have no idea what their dogs are doing on the beach. It’s such a beautiful beach – please, if you’re a dog owner, BE RESPONSIBLE and cleanup after your dog. No one -including dog owners- want to step in this s*#%!

The water was clean enough in which to swim; however, it wasn’t clean enough to collect crabs, clams or mussels. This beautiful beach has been contaminated. This is a bit depressing – we are ruining everything for generations to come. Be a responsible visitor to the beach – keep it clean, pick up your trash, pick up others’ trash, and set a good example for your kids and other visitors. I can’t believe I have to write this, but it’s obvious to me that many people still display a complete disregard for the environment.

Website: Virtual Oceanside Website

Distance from Portland: 81.6 miles from Portland. It’s an easy hour and a half drive, if the traffic is light.

Recommended Ages: This is a good destination for all ages, but older kids and/or teen-agers might enjoy a livelier town like Cannon Beach or Seaside.

Parental Stress Factor: Very low stress in Oceanside! There are a lot of off-leash dogs running and pooping all over the beach, and that’s about the only thing that caused me any stress. The beach is big enough for everyone. Watch out for high surf!

Physical Difficulty: The only physical difficulty was the walk back up the big hill from the beach to our rental unit. This walk usually entailed carrying our son at least half of the way up!

Family Fun Factor: High – For little kids (8 and younger), this place is an ideal destination. The walks down to the beach, exploration of the tunnel, endless sand and beach combing all add up to a great getaway.

Pet Friendly: Yes! I think it’s a bit too friendly. They really need someone to monitor this. Or at least, someone should put up some signs about picking up after dogs. Despite the few bad apples, many dogs and owners were being responsible and having a great time.

Weather Considerations: The pictures in this section are from Thanksgiving weekend 2007…wow! The weather was absolutely incredible. However, if you’re looking for good weather, I would stick to the summer months.

Insider Info: There are some noteworthy, nearby attractions including Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint. The best thing about Cape Meares – the views! There are several viewing decks with sweeping, panoramic vistas that are quite awe-inspiring. The lighthouse itself is okay, and I’m sure a marvel of engineering, but for most kids, the view is far more impressive.

Also, while you’re parked at Cape Meares, head over to the Octopus Tree. It’s basically a big tree with multiple limbs growing horizontally from the base of the trunk. Again, it’s nothing that will knock your socks off, but it’s worth a quick hike.

Tillamook, Oregon is a short drive (12 miles or so) from downtown Oceanside. It may be worth your while to stop by the Visitor’s Center and learn more about the production of cheese! Don’t forget to drive around the beautiful Tillamook Bay on your way there. Is your family up for a little fishing?

Family Tips: Book a rental unit! This is a nice little town for just relaxing with your family. Bring lots of games, books, a good stroller or child carrier, and plenty of food! Share a place with another family, and it’s likely that you’ll pay less than $100 per night. If you can afford it, take a look at the Cliff Top Inn – the name says it all! Despite some warnings in this entry, you’ll have plenty of time to play in the sand, so don’t forget the sand toys.

The large cliff on the north end of the beach (the one with the tunnel through it) should be thoroughly explored with your children. During low-tide, there are plenty of tide pools with all kinds of sea creatures to be discovered. Watch out for falling rock when you’re exploring around the cliff! Most importantly, never turn your back on the ocean, and keep a close eye on your kids when they are near the water.

Technorati Tags: Oceanside Oregon, beach towns, monoliths in the ocean, sea stacks, ocean rental

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  1. Dennis in Netarts

    I wonder where you heard that this area is not clean enough for crabs, clams, mussels??? Nearby Netarts Bay is supposedly one of the cleanest bays in the world.

    • Hi Dennis,

      It has been awhile since we were there, but I believe there was a warning sign posted right on the beach. Perhaps, it wasn’t a permanent warning??

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