Summer Adventures Part Four: Newport, Oregon.

On my never-ending quest to recap all our summer fun – the adventures continue!  Our first trip of the summer was at the very end of a July – a quick weekend getaway with friends.  Some of our dearest friends moved away back in February, and amidst the sadness of losing them we decided to plan a fun summer trip together to ensure we’d see each other sooner than later.  And before I knew it, July was here!

They moved to central Oregon, so we picked a spot on the coast for our two families to meet.  We had never been to the coast here, so I was happy to go anywhere.  We chose Newport for it’s proximity to us both, for the cute beach town with restaurants and shops, and for the well known aquarium we knew the kids would love!

We hit the road on a Friday afternoon, and almost immediately hit horrible traffic.  Thankfully, I was prepared with car entertainment and lots of snacks, but it was still really frustrating.  It took us almost three hours to get out of the general Seattle area, so what was supposed to be a 5.5 hour car ride ended up taking EIGHT hours.  The kids were total troopers, and we only ended up stopping once!

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Side note: A ton of people asked me about this travel tray on Instagram!  The tray pictured above is this one, and while I really liked it, it wasn’t a great fit with Cullen’s Britax Frontier booster seat (because of the arm rests).  We also have the Diono Radian RXT, and the green tray works really well with that seat because it’s a bit narrower!  I actually bought a second tray – this one – that works much better with the Britax!  Cullen loves doing legos or coloring books in the car now, and it’s nice to have an iPad alternative for super long trips. 

After eight long hours in the car, we finally rolled in just before bedtime and just as the sun was setting over the ocean.  It was so beautiful!  We woke up Saturday morning to rain and cloudy skies, so we took the opportunity to check out the Newport Aquarium.  It was seriously awesome, and I took zero pictures.  But the kids loved it, and we’d definitely go back again!

Right as we settled the kids in for nap time, the sun finally came out and the rain disappeared.  It was clear that the three year olds (who were sharing a room) had no intention of napping, so Katie and I got them up and took them out on a special big kids adventure. 

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We headed to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse area to explore the tidepools and find all sorts of awesome sea creatures.

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The tide was starting to come in when we got there, so we only had about an hour or so to check out the pools.  I was so glad we’d decided to sneak out with the big kids, because it wouldn’t have been a good activity for the little ones.  The rocks were slippery and you had to be really careful not to step on sea life!

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We saw all sorts of anemones, urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs of all sizes, mussels, barnacles, and more.  It was really cool to see all the stuff we’d seen at the aquarium in a natural environment!

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Cullen has a serious fear of crabs, so he was a little freaked out by those, but he loved exploring the water and checking out all the little nooks and crannies in the rocks. 

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And it was so fun to see him having fun with Clayton again – they have been best buds since they were newborns, and have spent so much time together in their three short years. 

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The coast was absolutely gorgeous, and while we were there we saw sea lions beached all over the rocks, and a pod of grey whales spouting out in the distance – incredible!

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We headed back to the house just in time for the little ones to wake up from naps, and we all headed out to the beach together. 

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My kids love the beach, and this was their first time at the Oregon coast.  Graham liked the water until he got knocked down by a wave and then he wanted no part in it and stuck to the sand.  But Cullen surprised me by turning into a fish and jumping and splashing for what felt like hours.

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It was such a gorgeous afternoon, and I was so grateful for a sunny beach day after a rainy morning.

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The next morning was cool and overcast again, and we ended up finding a fun boat ride adventure that left out of the Newport Harbor.  It was two hours of exploring, crabbing, and learning about the local area.  The kids got to help with throwing out crab traps, taking water samples, and other fun stuff – they were in heaven.  We went out into the Pacific Ocean for a while, and the water was really rough – some of the biggest swells I’ve seen!

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The boat ride was right at Graham’s nap time, but his nap the day before had been really short, so it was silly to keep the whole group home just for that.  He spent the whole weekend climbing out of his Pack N Play – not cool at ALL.  I gambled and thought if he was tired enough maybe he’d conk out in an Ergo.  It worked, and he slept for over an hour!

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The rest of Sunday was spent at the beach, enjoying the wide stretches of sand and the gorgeous coastal scenery.  I’ve spent so much of my life enjoying the east coast beaches, and while I absolutely love it there, I can’t quite get over how beautiful it is on the Pacific. 

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The kids loved what they were calling “sand waves” – the giant dune areas toward the back of the beach – and they had fun racing across them and chasing balls and just being silly together. 

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I feel so lucky that we have great friends that truly feel like family, and I know that even though we live further apart now, our families will continue to make these memories together for many years to come.

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We left feeling like the weekend went by way too quickly, but excited to know we get to go back and explore this area again before the summer is over.  Our car ride home was a smooth 5.5 hours with zero traffic, and left me feeling much more positive about doing it again.  I’m planning to do a post about road-tripping with kids in a few weeks, since we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks through our travels these past few months.  We have one more big trip planned, and it’s back to the Oregon Coast this coming weekend – we are counting down!

Hope your week is off to a great start!