Vacation Inspiration: Oregon Coast with Kids - 510 Families
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Vacation Inspiration: Oregon Coast with Kids

Portland is more than nine hours driving from El Cerrito, so when my family and I wanted to explore the area, I did some research and settled on this itinerary for visiting the Oregon Coast with kids.

Driving to Portland from the Bay Area

Oregon Road Trip with Kids

Night 1: Mendocino

We headed up 101 for a few hours then cut over to Highway 1 via 128 to stay in Mendocino for our first night.  (Here’s a glamping option, if you’re into that.) This drive was all about the Redwoods and we all loved the stops we chose.

Drive Through Tree - Road Trip to Oregon's Coast

We drove through The Chandelier Tree in Legget — something I think every California kid should do. (There are other drive-thru trees along this route, too.) A little farther up the road, we stopped at the One Log House which is absolutely worth the $1 entry fee and 15 minutes of your time. (Please note that One Log House is also home to a dispensary, so there may be parts of the gift shop that are not for your family.) Another highlight was exiting the freeway to drive along the Avenue of the Giants.

We stopped for an easy one-hour loop hike in the Founder’s Grove and when our vacation was over, all four of us listed this among the highlights. The trees are amazing and fill you with awe.

Founder's Grove hike in the Redwoods - Avenue of the Giants with kids

VRBOs in Eureka, CA, near the Sequoia Zoo and Redwood Skywalk, about 4 hours north of Berkeley >

Night 2: Eureka

The next day we drove from Eureka to Coos Bay, stopping for several hours at The Trees of Mystery — a super kitschy, roadside attraction with a tram ride that takes you through the treetops. We had fun there, but we enjoyed stopping to look at the trees at the more low-key state and national parks more than at this man-made attraction center, so if I had it to do over again we would take pictures with the humongous Paul Bunyon and Babe statues and move on up the road.

Paul Bunyon and Babe the Ox at Trees of Mystery

Paul Bunyon photo courtesy of The Trees of Mystery website

Another highlight, shortly after crossing into Oregon was the breathtaking stops we took to view the Oregon coast in Boardman State Park.

Boardman State Park - Roadtrip to Oregon with Kids

Nights 3-4: Coos Bay

We stayed in Coos Bay for a few days which was fine, but on the industrial side. In retrospect, we would have preferred to make our base in a cuter town like Newport or Florence.

Beachfront hotel near Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon >

While we were in Coos Bay we took day trips to the beach and the Oregon Dunes. We took a dune buggy ride for a thrill at Sandland Adventures in Florence and wished we could have spent even more time enjoying the amazing dunes.

Oregon Dunes - Roadtrip to Oregon with Kids

VRBO houses in Coos Bay, OR for those who want to stay a few nights >

Nights 5-6: Portland

Then we were off to Portland. Despite what the map shows above, we took a detour, stopping at the Tillamook factory for a free tour (fun!). Tillamook is farther north on Highway 1. So we headed up there, then turned right (okay, maybe it wasn’t literally “right”, but drove East) to get to Portland.

We spent the next day eating Blue Star donuts, shopping, and browsing at Powell’s bookstore.

Blue Star Donuts - Portland

Raspberry buttermilk, Meyer lemon curd, marionberry jam with peanut dust, almond chocolate ganache, maple bacon, buttermilk old-fashioned.

We drove home straight down I-5 the next day in one very long day on the road.

We dig an Embassy Suite in Portland because there’s an indoor pool and free breakfast that kids love >

All photos belong to Wendy Copley, except where mentioned. Pin this post to remember it later!

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