August is here, which means the salmon are moving into the bays and my family will be spending some extra time at the coast.
My husband is an avid fisherman, so we have found ways to turn his coastal fishing trips into family excursions.
Over the past several years we have found some wonderful places to play, eat and sleep.
If the weather cooperates, our favorite spot is always the beach.
We’ve uncovered buried treasure, made sand angels and sand castles, splashed in the puddles, chased the waves and explored the tidal pools.
One of our favorite beaches is Umpqua Beach off of Salmon Harbor Drive south of Winchester Bay. It is somewhat sheltered from the wind and has lots of deep, soft sand.
Besides playing on the beach, we love to visit the docks to look at the boats and watch for birds and sea lions.
We also have some favorite destinations in the coastal towns.
The Umpqua Discovery Center in Reedsport is located on the riverfront and offers interactive, museum-like displays that share the natural and cultural history of the region through two indoor trails.
The cultural history exhibit features a tidewater town, a fish cannery and stories of logging from the past.
The natural history exhibit is a simulated nature trail that features natural habitats and wildlife. There is a slide to a bear cave and some interactive science activities at the top.
My kids (ages 1 and 3) are too young to appreciate all the discovery center has to offer, but they enjoy seeing the scenes and animals along the trails.
Shore Acres State Park in Charleston is also one of our favorite stops. The park was formerly a private estate with a mansion and magnificent garden filled with flowers, shrubs and trees from around the world. The mansion was destroyed, but the formal garden has been restored.
From Thanksgiving to New Years Eve, the garden is filled with thousands of colorful Christmas lights.
Below the gardens is a cove that is perfect for exploring tidal pools and for watching huge waves crash against the rock formations.
For shopping, we have spent the most time in Old Town Bandon. WinterRiver Books has a great selection of children’s books as well as local interests and best sellers.
I have come to love The Toy Room in Bandon for their variety of classic, educational and just plain fun toys. It is also a great place to find specialty brands for baby and toddler shoes, such as Stride Rite and See Kai Run.
There are a few eateries that we tend to frequent when we are at the coast.
The first is the Sugar Shack Bakery in Reedsport. This old-fashioned bakery is packed full of donuts, breads, cookies and pies like grandma would have made.
The first time I went there to get a cup of coffee because it was the only place up as early as the fisherman (and it is located just blocks away from the boat ramp). I’ve been hooked ever since.
When we are in Bandon with family, my husband and I always try to sneak away to Bandon Bills Restaurant. It is situated with windows viewing the oceanfront and Face Rock (although to be honest we rarely see this because it is either dark or foggy). Either way, it has a great atmosphere and fresh seafood.
This isn’t particularly a kid-friendly restaurant, but it is perfect for date night.
When staying overnight at the coast, we prefer to camp or rent a house. Hotels at the coast tend to be very expensive.
However, we have found a couple of nice (although not cheap) hotels that we like if we are not able to camp.
One is the Best Western Salbasgeon Inn & Suites in Reedsport and the other is the Best Western Inn at Face Rock in Bandon. Both are very clean and comfortable. Bandon Bill’s is located at the Inn at Face Rock.
I have heard great things about the Bandon Inn, but we have not stayed there yet.
There are several nice campgrounds along the coast. We especially like William Tugman State Park. It is sheltered from the wind and has a lake and playground area.
With very small children, we usually try to rent a yurt (which does require a reservation usually several weeks in advance).
The coast offers great opportunities to spend time as a family exploring nature, enjoying seafood and sleeping to the sound of the wind and waves.
I’m looking forward to the memories we will make and the places we will find this year. It is always worth the trip.