11 Free or Cheap Places To Visit On the Oregon Coast

by Melissa

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Planning a trip to the Oregon Coast with kids? Here’s a list of 11 cheap, kid-friendly Oregon Coast activities you’ll want to add to your travel itinerary!

Cheap & Free Stops on the Oregon Coast

Kid-Friendly Oregon Coast Stops

Visiting the Oregon Coast was one of our favorite family vacations! Not only is Oregon beautiful, but because there are so many outdoor activities, visiting Oregon was also very affordable! We can’t wait to get back up there and explore more of the coastline and forests and charming towns.

But until then, here’s a list of some of the highlights that we know you’ll love, too!

Related: Visiting the Redwoods With Kids


This list goes in order from South Oregon to North Oregon. If you are starting from the top of Oregon, just know to reverse your order!

1) Chitwood Covered Bridge

Have you always wanted to drive through a covered bridge? Now is your chance! On the way from Corvallis to Newport, you’ll pass the Chitwood Covered Bridge. This bridge is so adorable and so iconic. Plan to stop and get a picture, drive through and enjoy this old-fashioned covered bridge in Oregon.


2) Hatfield Marine Science Center/Oregon Coast Aquarium

Right inside Newport is the Hatfield Marine Science Center and Oregon Coast Aquarium. Instead of paying $15-$25 per person to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, we opted for the FREE Hatfield Science Center.  It’s small, but it provided a few hours of learning and entertainment. You’ll love the fish tanks and touch and feel area.

Hatfield Science Center Information Here

3) Yaquina Head Lighthouse + Tide Pools (Newport Area)

From the Science Center, head North to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse was one of our first stops outside of Newport and it did not disappoint! You can take a lighthouse tour and climb all the way to the top! The views of the coast are amazing. And if that isn’t enough already, you can explore the tide pools at low tide just below the lighthouse.


4) Lincoln City Beach & Kite Flying

Lincoln City is a great place for kite-flying. The beach is huge, sand is soft, and if you’re lucky, you’ll go at a time that it’s not overly crowded. When we were there at the end of May, we nearly had the beach to ourselves. Grab a kite from the nearby store and enjoy endless hours of fun playing on the beach.

Tip: Take sand toys and a kite for hours of beach fun!

WHERE TO STAY: We spent our first night at the Liberty Inn and would highly recommend it! It was very clean, spacious, and close to grocery stores and the beach. We use Booking.com for reservations because their price is usually the best and they offer free cancellation most of the time.

Use this link to book and save $20 on your next booking! 


5) Drift Creek Falls Hike

Calling all hikers! This kid-friendly hike will take you through a beautiful grove of trees, along a river, and eventually to a large suspension bridge over a canyon.


6) Tillamook Cheese Factory

Since you’ve worked up an appetite from your hike, take a pit stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Watch cheese being made and packaged and then indulge in one of the many amazing Tillamook ice cream flavors you can find in the cafe. Their grilled cheese and soup is amazing, too! They also have a fun photo op in the famous cheese truck.


7) Manzanita

If you love quaint towns, check out Manzanita! There are only a few hotel options, so book early. However, the charm and views from the beach are unforgettable! We stayed right on the beach at the Sunset Surf Motel which had a pool and direct walking access to an amazing beach. You’ll find some quaint bakeries and restaurants there, too!

Manzanita Oregon


8) Short Sand Beach

Don’t forget to add Short Sand Beach to your list of things to see. As you are driving north on the highway, you’ll come to a parking lot for Short Sand Beach. From there, you’ll take a walk less than a mile long through beautiful forest and end up looking at this:


If that’s not gorgeous, I don’t know what is. This little hike was a hidden gem. Most guides don’t talk about this, but don’t miss it if you have kids. The hike is short and easy.

Plan in time to play at the beach and the shallow river that ends at the ocean. This was one of our favorite places!

Short Sand Beach

9) Cannon Beach/Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach is the famous beach you might recognize from Goonies. The famous Haystack Rock is a landmark you’ll want to visit for sure! There is also a cute main street with souvenir shops and candy stores, and restaurants you can stroll to.

Seaside, Oregon is just north of Cannon Beach. So many travel guides will tell you to stop there. However, we were not impressed with that area. It was more touristy and crowded and felt less charming. There are carnival-type rides that you may find fun, but we would skip over Seaside on our next Oregon Coast trip.

10) Astoria Historic Trolley

Driving to Astoria is an adventure in and of itself. You’ll drive over a long bridge which is exciting! Once you get to Astoria, you’ll enjoy charming houses, museums, and lots of fresh fish restaurants. Don’t forget to take a ride on the Historic Astoria Trolley. The cost is only a few dollars. You’ll ride along the coast and have spectacular views.

Once you hop off, try the amazing Frite & Scoop Ice Cream shop. It’s darling and has delicious ice cream!

Astoria Trolley Information Here


11) Multnomah Falls

Ok, so Multnomah Falls isn’t technically on the coast, but if you’re driving near the Portland area, it’s totally worth a stop. You can park right at the base of the falls and enjoy the gorgeous view with only a few steps from your car. But, if you have the time, it’s worth hiking to the top of the falls.

There are a lot of switchbacks and the hike is steep, but we completed this hike with two little toddlers. We were slow, but it’s doable. The view is incredible.


There you have it…11 cheap or free stops on the Oregon Coast. If you have any specific questions, leave a comment or shoot an email to [email protected] We’re always happy to share travel tips!

Check out our video of Oregon Coast Highlights:


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