Karen Alman, of Springfield, Oregon, is convinced that the Oregon Coast is one of the Pacific Northwest's best vacation spots. So that's where she and her husband, Russell, headed with their kids, Alexis, 6, and Aaron, 5, when they wanted a relaxing three-day escape. "We rented a cozy guest house in the town of Yachats -- about a half hour south of Newport -- and explored the area."
Why It's a Winner
Even though the water's too brisk for swimming, kids will never get bored here. "We watched sea lions from the cliff tops, gathered sand dollars on the beach, and explored rocky sea caves," Karen says. "On our second day, we hiked to a quaint lighthouse and played. And our kids loved visiting the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, where they can run and roll down the steep sand banks." The next time the Almans visit, they plan to stop at Newport's Oregon Coast Aquarium to see jewel-like jellyfish and giant Pacific octopuses (541-867-3474).
Where to Stay
The family rented a two-bedroom SeaRose cottage across the street from the beach. "We could see the ocean from our window," Karen says. Rooms start at $45 (541-689-1679). Near Newport is the LawrenSea Oceanside Motel, which has a private trail down to a beach (from $50, 888-867-4305).
For more information, contact the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (888-628-2101, www.visittheoregoncoast.com).