This is an awesome video that shares a perspective of the Oregon Coast most people do not see. Exploring the tide pool zones of the rocky shores are an excellent family fun activity. There is always so much life to observe, however once the water rises up and the waves start crashing all kinds of life start to pop out from their hiding places. Crabs, starfish, sea anemone’s sculpins and other little fishes all make the tidal zone their homes.
The Oregon Coast is a wonderful place to travel to and visit as there is many historic and beautiful places to enjoy. The Octopus Tree at the Cape Meare’s Lighthouse west of Tillamook Oregon is one of those places. Take a walk down to the lighthouse and take in the views, but before you leave take the short hike through the woods to see the Sitka Spruce they call the Octopus Tree, the largest in Oregon with incredible tree trunk branches coming out of the base at the ground. This tree is an impressive specimen and you get to enjoy some local history and scenic viewpoints while seeing the Oregon coast octopus tree.
Oregon Coast Day Trip
Octopus Tree and Cape Meare’s Lighthouse
Heading out of Tillamook towards Netarts you only need to keep your eyes peeled and follow the signs to the Cape Meare’s Lighthouse or check out the directions based on your location using the Google Map below.
The Octopus tree is located a short hike passed the bathrooms near the parking area. When at the parking lot you will either walk down the hill to the lighthouse or go south and follow the trail up the hill, past the restroom facilities and which leads to the Octopus tree about 5 – 10 minutes later. The hike is an easy to do walk and so it is fine taking your younger children just don’t venture too far pass the tree as the coast cliffs are close by. There is a great viewpoint set up at the cliff edge to see a breathtaking shot of the coast and the waves crashing on the rocks.
This is a massive tree!
Take a hike at Cape Meare’s and go check out this awesome tree and enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean looking south from the viewpoint near the tree.
The Oregon Sea Lion Caves located in Florence near the southern beaches of Oregon are a great family fun destination. They are certainly one an Oregon coast treasure and should be on any Oregonian’s day trip list of places to go along the coast. The caves are an inexpensive outdoor activity only costing $12 for adults and kids are $8. In order to get to the best viewing areas you will be required to walk down and back up a hill about 400 yards.
The spring and summer seasons are a great time to see the sea lions out and about on the rocky ledges outside of the cave and during the fall and winter they are more likely to be found within the cave making the sea lion caves an excellent choice for Oregonians looking to enjoy the beautiful summer weather and an activity that can still be enjoyed during the rainy winters. The caves open at 8:30 in the morning and close at 7PM in the evening. More information can be found on the website for the sea lion caves.
Haystack Rock is a great destination and site to see if you are visiting near Cannon Beach. Located on the North Coast in Clatsop County Cannon Beach is a popular destination for vacationers from portland Oregon. There is many great places to stay and places to eat in cannon Beach and has a large commercial area downtown with all kinds of fun shops to explore. However, the big site to see in Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock a beautiful marine ecosystem that is fun to explore on a lowtide. Check a tide tables and take a nice walk on the beach during the low tide and you can explore the surrounding rocks and tide pools that when receded reveal starfish, sea anemone’s, rock crabs, and many other interesting creatures and sea plants / life. The rock and surrounding area is a protected marina garden so no fishing or harvesting of any wild creatures is allowed, but you can take as many pictures as you want and nejoy the area. The rocks rises over 230 feet to the top from the beach below. When the tide is up you can still enjoy lots of visible wildlife, primarily through bird watching the rock is home to the tuffed puffins, gulls, and cormorants among the most common sightings since they make Haystack Rock and the surrounding rock outcroppings there homes.
Learn more about this natural marine ecosystem through the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP)which is dedicated to protecting this special marine garden environment for everyone to enjoy for years to come. http://www.ci.cannon-beach.or.us/~Natural/HRAP/hrap-summer.html
The Newport Aquarium is an excellent family destination along the Oregon coast. Located near the Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon, which is a few miles south of Lincoln City on the Central coast there is plenty of activities, places to stay, and restaurants to eat at, that you can easily incorporate a trip to the Newport Aquarium on your next Central coast visit. There are thousands of tons of different species of animals throughout the tanks and display areas, in this world class marin educational facility. Little kids and parents alike will love the various attractions and exhibits that are available. This Aquarium is very affordable compared to some aquariums such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. The tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for teens 13-17, children 3 -12 are $12, and under 2 and the trip is free. The Aquarium is open at 9am to 6PM daily during summer hours and 10AM to 5PM during the winter.
There is a huge number of different exhibits such as the Oregon Coast, Sea & Me, Sandy Shores, Rocky Shores, Coastal Waters, Giant Pacific Octopus, Sea Otters, Seal & Sea Lions, Sea Bird Aviary, Turkey Vulture Habitata, Passage of the deep, Aquarium Gardens, Estuary Trail and there are temporary exhibits and other interesting sites to see and things to learn about. Check out additional details about the various exhibits and shows that will be available at the time of your visit. Aquarium Exhibits
Make sure to visit the website before you make the drive so you have all of the information you need before you get here to enjoy a great day at an Oregon Coast Treasure. http://aquarium.org
The Three Graces are three large prominent rock outcroppings that are in between Garibaldi and Barview along the Oregon Coast Highway. This is an excellent location to stop for a beautiful picture or to take a stroll along the beach and out onto the rocks on a low tide to explore the shallow pools of water teeming with aquatic life. There are hundreds of sea anemones attached to the rocks, starfish, little crabs and much more to see when the water is low. The Three Graces are close to the opening of Tillamook bay to the ocean and so there is usually boats passing by from the port to ocean and the occasional coast guard vessel cruising by. The tide pools are a great place to take kids that want to explore the rocks and see interesting and cool creatures. Be careful as the seaweed on the rocks further out will be slippery and the current can be swift, so it is best to not go too far out on a low tide and get back in once the tide has turned and starts coming in. I recommend getting out an hour before the low tide especially if it is a negative tide and there will be plenty to look at and the kids will want to probably get going to the next thing before the water starts coming back in from the Ocean.
It is best to visit on a low tide so consult a tide table that you can find at most of the local stores along the coast or this web link to the tides for Garibaldi. http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaatidepredictions/NOAATidesFacade.jsp?Stationid=9437540 However even if you are just along for a ride and want to stretch your legs there is several places to pull your car over nearby so you can get out and snap a few shots of bay and the Three Graces.
Looking for migrating whales off the Oregon coast is a unique Oregon experience and is going on right now. There are several species of whales that pass by off the coast that can be viewed from many different viewpoints, the most often sighted whales include: Gray, Humpback, and Sperm whales that are making their annual migration between Alaska and Baja Mexico a whale breeding site. You have to keep your eyes scanning the open ocean looking for the spout exhaling a large mist of air and water into the air when the whale is breathing. On a rare occasion you may observe a breach or the tail fluke exiting and entering the water. Wait to use your binoculars after you have seen a spout and then it is much easier to narrow in on the whales and you can watch them as they travel.
There is a great organization of volunteers that are available during the peak whale watching season from 10AM to 1 PM at prominent viewing locations to help visitors spot their first whale and learn about these magnificent creatures.
Here is locations that volunteers may be present to help you out.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Ilwaco, Washington
Ecola State Park
Neahkahnie Mountain Historic Marker Turnout on Highway 101
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint
Cape Lookout State Park – 2.5 mile hike to site at tip of Cape
Inn at Spanish Head Lobby on 10th floor
Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint
The Whale Watching Center/Depoe Bay Sea Wall
Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint
Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Don Davis City Park
Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center
Cook’s Chasm Turnout
Sea Lion Caves Turnout – large Highway 101 turnout south of tunnel
Umpqua Lighthouse, near Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Shore Acres State Park
Face Rock Wayside State Scenic Viewpoint
Battle Rock Wayfinding Point, Port Orford
Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon
9th Street Beach, Crescent City, California
The state of Oregon has a great website with pictures of all of these locations. Check out these spots here:http://www.whalespoken.org/OPRD/PARKS/WhaleWatchingCenter/watch_site_views.shtml
For more information about the Whale Watching Center
A favorite North Coast viewing spot up on Neahkahnie Mountain just North of Manzanita.