Seattle's Child

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Parent Review: A kid-friendly trip to Ocean Shores

Sandy beaches, ocean activities and sweet treats make for a great getaway

Looking for a kid-friendly coastal getaway? We may have the perfect spot for your next seaside escape. If you like expansive views, sand between your toes and bird watching, this kid-friendly trip to Ocean Shores is calling!

Head to this kid friendly beach and frolic through the sand

Where to go and about the campsite

About 2 hours and 30 minutes from Seattle (not including traffic) is a quaint coastal town that’s been on my beach bucket list for a while – and now I can finally check it off! Ocean Shores boasts stunning, unencumbered ocean views, community charm and an abundance of recreational activities at your fingertips.

We packed our tent, sleeping bags and sunscreen for a camping trip by the beach, and according to our kids, it was “the best trip ever!” The camping site at Ocean City was great for little ones (mine are ages 5, 3 and 2). There is much to win  Ocean Shores a kid-friendly badge. Each site includes a large picnic table and fire pit. You can pick up a bundle of wood and some kindling as you check-in. Bathrooms were scattered throughout the campground and were easily accessible.

A small trail leads directly from the campsite through brambles and woods to a small parking lot that tunnels you toward the sandy dunes. We walked the trail many times and along the way got a good view of wildflowers, tall swaying grasses and wildlife of all shapes and sizes (deer, frogs and birds).

Take the beach trail through the grassy fields and meadows of wildflowers

The beach: Cars on the beach make for easy access

Once you make the small jaunt to the sandy beach, you won’t want to leave. Pack a beach blanket, snacks and binoculars and spend hours playing and wading on the shores. A bald eagle kept us company for much of the trip. Along the dunes and waterways are tall perches perfect for resting birds.

It took a bit to get used to the cars allowed on Ocean Shores beaches. It was a little jarring at first to see them cruising along this sandy highway, but by the end of the trip we barely noticed. The treads along the sand disrupted the picturesque aesthetic, but these imperfections are the swap for convenience. Having the opportunity to drive on and off the beach made schlepping all our stuff much more manageable.

Visit Sharkey's a local downtown beach attraction

Ocean Shores: Downtown attractions

We spent the majority of our time exploring the beach and campsite, but we also ventured to Ocean Shore’s cute downtown strip. There are a handful of shops to explore, whether you need a kite for the beach, a trinket to commemorate the trip or a scoop of handmade ice cream, you’ll find it all on the main drag that leads straight to the coastline.

The aptly named Sharky’s is a must-visit if your little aquanauts are obsessed with sharks. Our kiddos loved walking into the mouth of a shark and into a gift shop full of treasures! You’ll see the enormous jaws and towering teeth from the road. The shop is located adjacent to Chance a La Mer beach access. Get your camera ready, it’s a great place to snap a photo!

If you’re looking for a great spot for fish and chips, Bennett’s Fish Shack is the place to go! They offer a great selection of fresh fish and a large drink menu for moms and dads. The patio is wonderful, and the décor is as you might expect from a restaurant with shack in the name (the bar is reminiscent of a tiki shack in the best way possible). Order when you arrive from the counter and find a seat at one of the many picnic tables inside the restaurant and on the patio. Staff were incredibly friendly and attentive.

Grab your sweet treats near the beach

Beach treats

Murphy’s Candy and Ice Cream had confections galore to satiate any sweet tooth. We got large scoops of ice cream and walked to the beach. Don’t forget napkins!

Missed attractions worth checking out

A couple places we didn’t get to visit on our trip, but looked fun when itinerary planning are both the Coastal Interpretive Center and Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center. Nap times and tantrums got in the way of making it to these two locations, but from the reviews, they are a tourist draw.

The Coastal Interpretive Center is an interactive experience that teaches about the history and ecology of the Washington coast. They also have a kid’s room. The center is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day. Admission is $5 per adult; $10 per family.

Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center offers all things family fun – miniature golf, a laser maze, arcade games. Honestly, we were worried about not being able to make it out, so we opted to skip it altogether. With kiddos under 5 years old, it was a recipe for mayhem. When they are a bit older, we’ll add it to our to-do list.

There are a couple options for renting electric beach bikes and pedal karts if you want to cruise the beach in style. Horseback riding is also available at Honey Pearl Ranch for riders 7 and up.

Whether looking for a relaxing beach getaway or a seaside adventure full of entertaining stores and activity, Ocean Shores is a nice respite away from the bustling city. Just imagine taking in the fresh, salty air, and book this kid-friendly trip to Ocean Shores today!
Don’t take my word for it, take my toddler’s. She gave it two big thumbs up!

Know before you go:

  • Practice caution on the beach and let your children know that there are moving cars on the beach
  • Book your campsite in advance, many spots have partial availability
  • Sharky’s: 695 Ocean Shores Blvd NW, Ocean Shores, WA
  • Bennett’s Fish Shack: 105 W Chance a La Mer NW, Ocean Shores, WA
  • Murphy’s Candy and Ice Cream :172 W Chance a La Mer NW, Ocean Shores, WA

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About the Author

Kathryn Mueller

Kathryn Mueller is a mama of three toddlers and calls Shoreline home. When she's not wrangling her little ones, she's a writer, winery owner and outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her little ones in tow and can usually be found with a coffee in hand.