In my family, day trips and short jaunts have proven to be highly beneficial for everyone’s mental health. It’s easy to keep a safe distance from others while visiting the beautiful natural scenery in the coastal towns of Waldport and Yachats.

You can catch a glimpse of lounging and playful harbor seals during a morning walk across the Alsea Bay Bridge in Waldport. Venture to Smelt Sands Park in Yachats and walk along the paved 804 Trail to watch blowholes put on a show. Walking north along the 804 Trail leads you to a vast sandy beach. (Thor’s Well is another nearby blowhole. Please don’t walk on those rocks. But the trail north from Thor’s Well will lead you to peaceful tide pools full of green anemones!)

Tide pool at Thor’s Well

For beachgoing without the walk, drive north of Waldport to Seal Rock State Recreation Site. Bring chairs and park yourselves next to the little creek if engineering a dam or building a sandcastle would keep your kiddos busy for an entire afternoon. (And stop by Seal Rock’s Indulge Sweets for to-die-for fudge or Tillamook ice cream. Don’t miss the decadent salted caramel fudge — trust us!)

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For camping-lite accommodations that help you easily distance, check out the deluxe cabins at the Waldport/Newport KOA. Each has a private bathroom and kitchenette, but you’ll need to bring your own linens or sleeping bags and a camping cookstove. They’ve also got firepits and outdoor grills. Or get takeout fish ’n chips from Luna Sea Fish House in Yachats. (If your kids don’t do seafood, there’s a cheeseburger on the menu, too.)

Swing by the newly reopened Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport on your way in or out. You can read about their COVID-19 safety procedures at aquarium.org.

Denise Castañon
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