The Oregon coast is one of our family’s favorite places to visit, we love visiting the Tillamook area and Rockaway Beach areas. We like to stay in a little Airbnb so we can have a little more space, and get closer to the beaches, and things we want to visit.
We’ve stayed in these areas a few times now over the past 6 or so years and we have some favorite places to visit every time we go, I’m already ready to plan our next trip (or even more dreamy, buy a beach house there 😉 ) I thought I should share our favorites with you too!
The 8 best things to do near Tillamook, Oregon
Tillamook Creamery Tour
The Tillamook Creamery offers a free self-guided tour where you can walk through above the factory and look through windows to see actual Tillamook employees at work. You can read information about the processes that take place, and see their different machines. They also offer you some of their Tillamook Cheese Stick flavors for a free sample.
They also have a store and cafeteria where you can try different delicious Tillamook products, and other local brands. In the store you can find fudge, cheese curds, salsas, clothing, cook books and cutting boards, a few children’s toys, candy, cheese, ice cream and more.
In the cafeteria they sell options like cheeseburgers, mac and cheese and tomato soup. And you have to try their cheese curds! They also have a separate section for ice cream in the cafeteria with a choice of 25 or so of their popular choices in different cones. I recommend getting a split single cone (two flavors in the size of a single) because you end up with more ice cream than just a single flavored single scoop 😉
They also offer premium tours where you can get a more in depth hands on look, with a tour guide in a private/small group experience. This costs about $40 a person. We haven’t done this tour though, so I can’t say how it is.
Cape Meares State Viewpoint is such a beautiful location. It’s located high above the ocean so you can see some beautiful cliffs, and green pines along the top as you look down. We haven’t been able to see them, but it’s also a popular spot to see whales, dolphins, sea lions in the ocean, and thousands of different sea birds along the cliffs.
The views from the lighthouse and the walk to the lighthouse were gorgeous! Some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean out there, with the steep cliff lined with pines and the waves crashing against the sides.
The Light House is the shortest on the Oregon coast, but still adorable. It was first lit in January 1890, and mariners could spot the red and white flashes from more than 21 miles away.
We still haven’t been able to visit inside the lighthouse because the 3 times we’ve visited have been the off season or during the shut down, but we still enjoy visiting. But the inside should be open from May to September 11am to 4pm.
You can also see the Octopus Tree of Oregon close by, though there are other beautiful trees that look similar to it as well.
Tide Pools at the Three Graces
The tide pools at the Three Graces in the Tillamook Bay are my favorite tide pools ever. We’ve been able to see dozens of different varieties of fish, crabs, eels, starfish, anenomes, and other sea life in the tide pools. Just make sure to check online for low tide times, so you can visit them.
Our kids love bringing nets and sand buckets to catch different crabs and sea creatures while we are there. Bring water shoes too, and you can walk around to explore and see so much, just walk carefully as the mossy/seawood covered rocks can be slippery.
Three three graces are three beautiful rock formations that lie above the ocean, made of sandstone, and most likely formed over 20 million years ago. Lots of sea birds like to stop, or nest along these rock formations as well.
Crabbing in Tillamook Bay
There are several private companies that offer crabbing tours to take you out on their boat and help you catch crabs with them, but we have never done that.
We have however brought our own equipment and cast our fishing line and crab traps right into the bay from the Barview Jetty. We were able to catch several Dungeness Crab and even more Rock Crab that we were able to take home, steam and eat with garlic butter. Just make sure to check the local regulations on the crab sizes and gender rules for crabs you are allowed to keep, as well as getting a license for Shellfishing, it’s $10 for residents and $28 for non residents.
It’s a fun activity, and a great way to catch lots of crab to eat! If you don’t go crabbing you should definitely buy some fresh caught crab to cook and enjoy!
Visit the Beach
There are a few beaches close by that you can visit, and what’s a trip to the coast, without visiting a nice sandy beach. You can visit Barview Beach, Rockaway Beach, Nedonna Beach, Cape Meares Beach, Cape Lookout State Park Beach and more.
Even when the water is chilly it’s so nice to walk barefooted along a sandy beach. And if you’re going with kids, chances are they won’t even mind the cold water and will still want to jump and splash in the waves, just maybe not swim deep ;). Our kids could spend a couple hours at the beach throwing their surfer dudes in the water and watching them surf up, running away from the waves, and digging giant holes or sand castles.
Oregon Coast Train Ride
Taking a ride on Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad is such a fun experience. There are a variety of train rides available that take you along the coast from Garibaldi to Rockaway Beach, or vice versa to see beautiful views of trees, the Three Graces, and more.
You’ll ride on a historic steam or diesel engine locomotive and enjoy a relaxing ride along the Oregon coast.
The tickets cost about $25 for 13 and up, or $20 for children ages 3 to 12.
The train passes the airbnb we stay at each time we go and the kids loved going out to wave at the train and passengers when we heard it coming too.
Rockaway Big Tree Boardwalk Trail
This is such a cool area to explore, with a boardwalk trail, and a natural trail on the side as well (just beware, it might be muddy). The boardwalk is a nice wheelchair and stroller friendly path that is about 1.2 miles round trip, and takes you to the Rockaway Big Tree.
The Rockaway Big Tree is one of Oregon’s biggest trees, and is estimated to be between 800 and 1200 years old. The Big Tree is a giant cedar tree, that is about 50 feet in circumference and over 150 feet high. The tree bark is gnarly and contorted, but it’s quite magnificent to see.
The whole trail is nice to walk along and look for wildlife and to enjoy the different plants and trees you can see on the way.
Tillamook Air Museum
The Tillamook Air Museum is located in one of two Naval hangars that were built in 1943. One of the Hangar’s was destroyed in a fire in 1992. Its an okay activity to do on a rainy day, for about an hour. The museum used to house blimps and is the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world.
The building is as cold as being outside, so make sure to wear a jacket.
The museum has a few vintage aircrafts, and aviation artifacts, and waretime craft to learn about while you visit.