The Best Family-Friendly Beaches in the Pacific Northwest

By Keryn Means,

Not too many families think Pacific Northwest when they think of a beach getaway, but for those of us who live here, we know that this is the place to be for both sandy fun and storm watching. The water is cold, but that never stops surfers in full body wetsuits and little kids who just can’t stand the thought of not jumping in. Fresh seafood, kite flying, arcades, hiking and bike riding are just a few things to look forward to when you tackle the Pacific Northwest beaches.

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Join the Goonies at Haystack Rock
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Cannon Beach- Photo Credit- Keryn Means
Photo by the author 

Goonies fans flock to Cannon Beach, Oregon, every year to snap a picture of Haystack Rock, the iconic geological marvel that shows up at the end of this ‘80s cult classic as the pirate ship sails away. Independently owned restaurants line the main street through town, along with small hotels, inns and B&Bs, like the beautiful Arch Cape Inn and Retreat. Candy shops and toy stores are around, but kites, sand castles and beach bikes rule the sands.

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Miles of seaside Promenade entertainment
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Seaside OR- Photo Credit- Flickr-Rick Mickelson
Photo by Rick Mickelson

Families with active kids who don’t want to travel far to find endless entertainment head to Seaside,Oregon. Here you will find the Promenade running the length of the beach with hotels behind and the ocean in front. Arcades, restaurants, mini golf and carnival rides fill the streets. With all the fun off the beach don’t forget that the ocean is still there beckoning you to play. Pack your sand toys or buy some when you get there for hours of digging.

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Get back to Nature at Long Beach
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Long Beach WA- hoto Credit- Flickr - Darren Barry
Photo by Darin Barry

Stroll the quiet pathways down to Long Beach, Washington to get back in touch with nature and coastal life. For those looking for a bit more excitement than Mother Nature can provide, you can bet Long Beach has you covered with zip lining, horse back rides, go-carts and bike rentals. If you are really daring you can sign up for surf classes,  wet suits included and definitely necessary. To round out your trip visit the lighthouses in the area for gorgeous views.

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Build Fairy Houses made of driftwood
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Kalaloch, Washington isn’t technically a town; it is an unincorporated resort area within Olympic National Park. You and your kids will marvel at the amount of driftwood you can find, making it easy to build fairy houses and even forts big enough for the entire family. Thousands of marine species call the coastal waters around Kalaoch home, including puffins and even orcas. The Hoa rainforest is an easy 45-minute drive away and the hikes along the coast are beyond anything you could imagine.

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Cross the Border to Surfer’s Paradise
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Tofino 003- Photo Credit- Flickr - Bernard McManus
Photo by Bernard McManus

Scores of surfers flock to Tofino on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and with good reason. Waves are worth the trek in the summer and storm watchers can’t get enough in the winter months. Rent a kayak to explore the calm waters of Clayoquot Sounds, grab your surfboard to brave the waves, or do a little beach combing on shore. Once you have had enough of the beach, head inland to hike Big Tree Trail, Tonquin Trail or a myriad of other hikes.

Which one of these beach towns interests you the most?

Featured image by Getting Stamped