It’s back to school time, but that doesn’t mean the family fun has to stop! Take the kids for a guided “Rain Forest Walk” at the Tillamook Forest Center, or plan a family adventure to visit Oregon’s shortest lighthouse or tallest waterfall! Nature is calling you back to the coast to explore the vast forests and rugged seascapes! Here are our top five kid friendly adventures to explore along the Tillamook Coast:
It’s a short hike away to the Cape Meares Lighthouse, recognized as Oregon’s shortest lighthouse. It is also home to Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce tree. The photo opportunities here are endless! Say cheese in front of the Octopus Tree with its protruding arms waving up to the sky. The view from the Cape Meares Lighthouse is breathtaking. Here the kids can use the periscope to look for one of the hundred varieties of birds nesting cliff-side!
The Tillamook Forest Center centers their events around educating children about the forest. Over 6000 school age children come to the Tillamook Forest Center for field trips as part of their educational curriculum, but you don’t have to be in school to join in on the fun. Climb up the fire lookout tower or walk across the suspension bridge over the mighty Wilson River. Make a wreath or nature themed art project, or just come to get a hug from Smokey the Bear! There’s always something happening at the Tillamook Forest Center to create lasting memories with your children.
This local treasure hidden from view in Bay City provides an ideal walking trail for children. The Kilchis Point Reserve trail is an easy one-mile hike that opens to the expansive Tillamook Bay. Interpretive signage along the way provides a brief history lesson for the kiddos about the Native Tillamook Indians and the local flora and fauna that abound. There are many dedicated benches along the trail for enjoying the forest. A recently added gazebo-style wildlife viewing area provides shelter from the weather and a comfortable place to have a snack and watch for bald eagles or elk. Come see and learn about what lives and grows within the forest!
Cape Lookout is the longest hike on our list spanning 2.4 miles. The good news is there are plenty of places to rest and you can always turn back at any time and head to the beach access. It is a short hike in to panoramic ocean views forest-side. The ocean can be seen from the trailhead to the end of the Cape, making getting there half the fun. Come walk through the timeless old growth forest at Cape Lookout and look out on its expansive ocean views.
Munson Creek Falls seems very unassuming when you first pull in, but be prepared to be dazzled! Follow the wooded trail along the babbling brook and enjoy the peaceful sounds of running water. This brisk 0.4 mile hike will net you the tallest waterfall on the Coast Range! Children will look up in awe to see the water tumbling down the mountain. Have a splash when you get back or have a relaxing picnic with the family. Tables are provided and the views will take your breath away!
Before starting your adventure, it’s important to have a plan and be prepared. Here are a few suggestions to make your family expedition a little more enjoyable.