Oregon Coast Guide: X Marks the Spot for Families
Port of Call: Newport
FAIRHAVEN VACATION RENTALS
fairhavenvacationrentals.com; from $200
Scattered along the Nye Beach waterfront, Fairhaven’s four posh homes give the kids room to romp—and provide you with a serene space to escape the crowds. Fairhaven’s rentals can accommodate up to nine people and also come with large gourmet kitchens, so you can play coastal chef and whip up, say rockfish and a grilled-ramps salad for a good, old-fashioned family supper. The only downside? Dirty dishes.
AGATE BEACH MOTEL
agatebeachmotel.com; from $139
Perched on a hillside overlooking a moon-shaped elbow of Agate Beach just north of downtown Newport, this cluster of 10 cottages has all the ingredients for tranquility and peace—fully furnished living areas, private beach-facing decks, and, most important, separate bedrooms. And, in case you need to get away from your little getaway, just a few steps will bring you to the beach.
ROGUE ALES PUBLIC HOUSE
Open to minors until 10 p.m., this 23-year-old pub’s burgers and pizzas appease kids, while the parent-friendly taps furnish mom and dad with a selection of 35 ways to wash down the day. One taste of a Brutal Bitter and you’ll be ready to wrangle your own little rogues. Again.
THE COFFEE HOUSE
Fortify the family for a day of aquarium-going with this quaint café’s hearty breakfasts, like the enormous egg-and-bacon sandwich, served on steaming focaccia bread. Or dive into a three-egg omelet—deeply layered with cheeses, sausage, bell peppers, and onions—and a tall glass of fresh-squeezed OJ.
OREGON COAST AQUARIUM
It’s a fact: no one has ever been able to look at an otter without smiling. At Newport’s largest and most popular attraction, you’ll find otters as well as everything from sharks to squid, showcasing the ocean’s potential for the cute (sea lions), the grotesque (the cabezon, or “scorpion fish”), and the just plain weird (the Pacific sea nettle).
Mariner’s Square boasts a trifecta of fun that’ll make your inner Clark Griswold smile: the creepy Wax Works containing hundreds of celebrity statues, from Michael Jackson to Yoda; the off-kilter Ripley’s Believe It or Not; and a stationary glass-bottomed boat dubbed the Undersea Gardens, which gives visitors a peek at a colorful aquatic ecosystem, octopus and all. On the Oregon coast, this is as close to Walley World as you can get.
YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE
Built in 1873 on a dramatic, rocky peninsula above the Pacific, this 93-foot tower is easy enough for young trekkers to reach from Nye Beach (just a half-mile) and rewarding enough—what with its 270-degree views of the roiling Pacific—to keep adults happy, too.
DEPOE BAY GEYSERS
Rain, fog, and wind don’t need to put a damper on your outdoor plans. Grab a poncho and make the 10-minute drive north to Depoe Bay, where the roadside natural geysers right downtown are even more impressive in stormy weather. Waves slam against the rocks, go under the old lava bed, and spout up to 60 feet in the air from holes in the surface. The din of the waves will be matched only by the oohs and aahs of your little ones.