Recently, Seattle dad Greg Bamford, wife Shannon and their two daughters Clara (4) and Annabel (18 months) went for three nights and four days to Rockaway Beach, Oregon a little under two hours from Portland. They also popped into Bend, Oregon for a brief visit. Let’s read about their journey.
What did you do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon with kids?
We stayed at a family cabin at Rockaway Beach in Tillamook County. It’s right on the beach…very quiet, smells great, lots of walks and digging in the sand. Really not much of anything to do in town. They mainly love playing in the sand. Digging and getting dirty. And reading in front of the fire. Playing board games.
So I highly recommend having a family member who owns a beach house, ha. I’ve been going there since I was Clara’s age.
Where did you eat at the Oregon Coast with kids?
We mainly cooked. The Oregon Coast is not much of a dining mecca, in my mind, although there are good pizza places and such. So we ate the local stuff: Tillamook Ice Cream, of course. And I ordered Dungeness crabs and steamer clams off the boat. There’s a place between Rockaway and Wheeler where the boats come in – The Jetty Fishery. The employees steam the clams for you, then gut the crabs. They always try to get me to eat the crab heart. That’s the best meal of the trip, always.
Did you stop anywhere cool, while en route to the Oregon Coast?
Kids love the Tillamook Cheese factory. Because there’s ice cream. And it’s kind of interesting to think about all the milk they consume.
There’s also an AWESOME public aquatic center in Astoria, about a 1.25 hours north of Rockaway on the way back to Seattle. For $12 the whole family swam and had waterslide access, showers, family changing room, kiddie pool, baby pool, hot tub. This was a great stopover for a long ride back.
We paired it with pints and lunch at Fort George Brewery and Public House in Astoria. They had a great kids menu as well as great IPA. Next time, I’ll do the same but stop at the Rogue Brewpub, which is right on the Columbia River.
We chose not to go back through Portland, but I regret it, because Apizza Scholls is amazing pizza. Ohmygawd. It reminds me exactly of Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn. The secret (as with all artisan pizza) is in the crust. Actually, Apizza’s pizza is maybe better than Grimaldi’s, but very much of that type. There’s nothing like it in Seattle.
You also went to Bend, Oregon recently. What did you think of Bend with kids?
Bend is awesome. We are looking at relocating there, hence the trip. It’s quite inexpensive housing-wise right now. The big discovery there for kids was the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center facility. It has several pools – inside and out – a kid pool, a waterpark outside, and kids exercise classes – there was a kids yoga class when I was there – so cute! And cheap. Oh, and child care for when you work out/swim. Everything else is pretty obvious – hiking, biking, skiing, et al.
Did you find any great kid-friendly restaurants in Bend?
Yes, the kid’s menu at Deschutes Brewpub. The food is exactly the same as the adult menu, but cheap. Clara had an insane, grassfed, all natural, huge hamburger with a side (we chose applesauce, but it could be chips or fries) for $5 flat. It’s leftoverlicious, exactly the thing for a hungry dad. Last time, she got an amazing salmon fillet for $5. It was the best thing at a table with five people.
At the same time, you can enjoy fine brews as an adult. Did you know there are six breweries with restaurants in Bend?
Thanks, Greg. And if you don’t want to go to Bend for Deschutes, there’s also a Portland Deschutes location.
Read more about the Oregon Coast via the Oregon Coast Visitors Association.