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Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

sandy, utah
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Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

We'll be arriving in Manzanita the evening of July 27th and flying home from Portland late afternoon August 1st. There will be about 30 of us (all ages) staying in 2 beach houses and most of our time will be unstructured. What are some really fun activities/must-sees for either our immediate family (kids age 14, 17 and 20) or a larger group within a few hours drive of Manzanita? My daughter likes lighthouses and hikes, my son golf, my hubbie going through art galleries and antique shops and I enjoy taking photos, doing things I wouldn't do at home like renting horses and visiting museums and other popular attractions. I'm wondering if the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is worth the 2+ hour drive, if anyone's been to the Tillamook Forestry Center and the best itinerary for 4 l/2 days. Should we wait and visit Astoria on our way back to Portland Aug. 1st? If so, is it worth driving across the border into Washington and visiting the area around Long Beach? I'm also looking for suggestions of things to see around the Portland/Vancouver (where my sister-in-law lives) area for about 3-4 hours before we need to be at the Portland Airport. Thanks for the help!

Florence, Oregon
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1. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

Oh, where to start LOL!!!!

I'll keep this short, but if you want more detailed info, myself and others here would be happy to provide.

There are horse rentals from the south day use area at Nehalem Bay State Park, two miles south of Manazanita.

Oswald West State park is 4 miles north on hwy 101. Lots of hiking, nature and one of the best, albiet smallest beaches in Oregon. If you're up for it, hike to the top of Neah-Kah-Nie Mt (~3 miles) The vies are worth the time and effort. You can easily kill a day at Os West :-)

Cannon Beach is worth as stop as is Ecola State Park on the north end of town. Cannon Beach is ~ 15 miles north.

Astoria is a MUST SEE. Wonderful town full of history. ~ 40 miles north and an easy 1 hr drive. Ft Stevens State Park (yes I know I sound like a broken record lol!!) is worth a stop as well. The Historic Area is a Civil War era fort built to protect the entrance to the Columbia River.

I have to be honest, IMO, other than the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and general vicinity, the southern Washington coast (Long Beach area) is pretty unspectacular.

Cape Meares Lighthouse west of Tillamook is the closest one open for tours. Tillamook is ~ 24 miles south. If you go here, I recommend you continue on the Three Capes Scenic Route. Very nice drive.

I have not yet visited the Tillamook Forestry Center, and I drove right past it today?????? I have heard good things though. Perhaps another regular can help you with that.

Newport is a solid 2-2.5 hr drive from Manzanita. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is nice, but not great. But, if you also visit the Hatfield marine Science Center and the Yaquina Head and Yaquina Bay Lighthouses, it might be worth the drive.

I'll end now and let others share their opinions. If you want more details, just ask.

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

Ditto to everything Den wrote. He's generally given a skeleton description of a lot of areas, but there's a lot of meat on those bones. And it's easy to find.

Not too many golf options for your son. The best is probably Gearhart, a couple miles north of Seaside, or 25 from Manzanita. Seaside has a course too, but if you're driving that far, go the extra few miles to Gearhart.

I might suggest the drive to Newport, but it wouldn't be because of the Acquarium. Newport's a neat little town, especially the bayfront area. Couple lighthouses there as well. As for the Acquarium, it is nice, but if you keep your eyes open and do some tidepooling, you'll see a lot of sealife in its natural habitat, without having to spend the $12(?) per person.

Don't miss Cannon Beach; something there for everyone in the group.

Anyone in the group just like to hang out at the beach? I don't know about Manzanita, but there are a couple great kite shops in Cannon Beach, as well as places to rent skim boards, beach cycles, etc.

Florence, Oregon
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3. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

There is a small (9 hole) golf course half way between Manzanita and Nehalem Bay State Park.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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4. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

Great overview, dengay! My personal opinion would be not to drive down to Newport just for the aquarium. It has lots of exhibits, but not spectacular other than the glass tunnel through Keiko's old tank. The Marine Science Center is interesting, and is free. But Newport does have the two lighthouses, one of which is at Yaquina Head, which also has great tidepools. There is also the bayfront which has lots of fun shops and galleries, and those "famous" sea lions on the docks! There are also a couple of different types of bay/whale watching tours. Downstairs in the Craft Warehouse there are lots of antiques and stuff for sale. In short, you could easily spend a full interesting day in Newport.

I have not personally been to the new Forestry Center, but a friend visited recently and was very impressed with it.

Astoria is an excellent place to visit, a unique town. If you go there, don't miss the Astor Column and the Marine Museum.

As far as Portland suggestions, there was a recent post (somewhere under Oregon listing I think) that was chock-full of great information about what to do around Portland. My vote is always for Multnomah Falls.

Have a happy family reunion -- what a fantastic place for it!

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5. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

You will find many fun things to do in Astoria. There is Fort Clatsop which is educational fun, here there is a small movie theater that shows a movie a few times a day about the Lewis and Clark Journey. A walk down to the canoe landing is also fun. In the busy summer months, a shuttle will take you up to the fort area.

In Astoria, the Flavel House, Maritime Museum and the Heritage Museum are all fun things to do. Go out to Pier 39 (or you can take the riverfront trolley) and have a meal at the Rogue Public Ale House, gorgeous views from the docks here. If you like to wine taste, Shallon is really fun. Complimentary wine tasting and the host is very nice and informative. We like the Chocolate Orange dessert wine here. There is also now wine tasting at the Silver Salmon Grille. We enjoyed all of the wines we sampled here, especially the Viognier. Up on Coxcomb Hill you find the Astor Column, be sure to check out the amazing graphics on the column, the views from this area are spectacular.

If you go to Long Beach, there is a quaint little town called Seaview there that has a few good restaurants. We like the 42nd Street Cafe and The Depot. I would also spend some time in Ilwaco, a nice little port town with a cool waterfront area with shops and even a day spa. We had a very good meal at the Port Bistro last month. Enjoy your trip! :)

Oregon/Washington
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6. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

Don't forget to just have fun on the beach too. We did a family reunion in Gearhart one year, and each evening we enjoyed having a bonfire and all the makings for s'mores.

Another thing that we enjoy, whether it is just a few of us or many, is to rent the recumbant surrey bikes and ride on the beach.

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

Pardon me, syrahgirl, but I think there are better reasons to go to the Longbeach Peninsula than to eat, shop, and spa in Seaview or Ilwaco. Cape Disappointment State Park, just outside of Ilwaco, has several nice beaches and attractions to explore. My favorites there are the north lighthouse, where from the top you'll find dramatic coastal views both north and south, and the Interpretive Center, which sits on a cliff overlooking the broad expanse of the mouth of the Columbia River.

Manzanita, Oregon
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8. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

You can check out the tillamookforestcenter.org site for an over view. We visited and found it interesting. There is a film on the history of the very large Tillamook forest fires of sixty years ago and the subsequent forest replanting. There are daily forest related programs. Exhibits on the forest eco system, wildlife and human impacts are layered for a brief overview or more detailed as you prefer.

The forest center would be a good day trip in combination with the Three Capes route earlier mentioned. If you go to the Cape Meares Lighthouse consider stopping in the village of Oceanside about 2 miles south. Lovely beach walk with Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Preserve (birds & sea lions) just off shore.

If you like ice cream stop by the Tillamook Cheese Facotry for some national award winning cheeder cheese samples and great preimum ice cream.

There are a number of gallerys in Cannon Beach, good eateries, grat beach. People will give you details on this forum if you are interested.

sandy, utah
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9. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

Thanks for all the good suggestions. Sounds like there's plenty of great options!

sandy, utah
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10. Re: Must-Sees, Fun Activities at Oregon Coast Family Reunion

I'm just curious Dengay, what does LOL stand for? I finally figured out what IMO is.