The Inn at Cape Kiwanda is a family-friendly Oregon Coast hotel in Pacific City. It earned high praise from my kids. The funny thing is that the parents agreed in this particular instance which doesn’t always happen!
“This is my favorite,” my daughter proclaimed on her birthday night. The aforementioned birthday night fell in the midst of our epic Pacific Coast family tent camping trip and since she wasn’t going to have a big party or do something fun at home — her 10th birthday gift was a “real” bed and a “real” shower after 2 weeks of camping. (Sssshhh! She thinks it was ALL for her.)
Relief swept over me as we walked into our third floor room at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda with a breathtaking view of Haystack Rock and the wide sandy beach. I eyed the chair on the balcony and longed to sit for a while to watch the world go by after the go, go, go of our drive day. Surprisingly, that was a wish that came true! After weeks together, the kids wanted a little time to themselves, too.
All I remember doing for that first hour was relaxing with the comforts of home: nice furniture, pretty paintings on the wall, and a real bathroom with fancy Aveda products! (You have to remember I’d been in SO many campgrounds by this point that even the littlest thing made me feel so spoiled!)
The kids were so happy to have a room away from us – a little bit of space after sleeping in tents. The surfer theme and bunk bed was familiar to my SoCal kids, so it felt especially like home to them. Even my 13 year old approved and didn’t feel like it was too “kiddy” for him.
Their website says “We treat you like family” and they really did. We hit it off with the Manager at the Friday night Manager’s Reception where the adults can sample some Oregon wine or beer and the kids get treated to Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider. She gave us the scoop on the sand dunes and the Pelican Pub & Brewery across the way.
We timed dinner a little early so as not to miss the sunset. You can dine outside, but we were hungry and didn’t want to wait. If it were just my husband and I, we would have had a long leisurely dinner on the deck. Instead, we got seated and served right away and were done before the sun set. It was a treat to not cook after nights on kitchen duty. The calamari and tower of onion rings definitely hit the spot. (Photo credit for the food photos goes to the 10 year old!)
We walked out on the soft sandy beach at sunset where the weather was balmy, the sand was warm underfoot, and everything was aglow in golden: the sand dunes, the surprisingly calm ocean, and Haystack Rock.
But the best part was spotting a whale off the point and inside the sea buoy! The whale hung around for the whole sunset in the same spot. In SoCal, we’re used to migrating gray whales that have a purpose and are on a time schedule. This whale, a humpback I believe, was apparently there to remind me to just hang out and enjoy for a while. The road trip could wait!
And here’s a close up . . .
A magical evening which we could have topped off with a fire at the beach and roasting s’mores. But our beds were calling and we had a long drive ahead of us the next day. It’s the perfect spot, though!
- Beach play & dunes of the Cape Kiwanda Natural Area
- Keep an eye out for “wild” beach bunnies hopping around the RV Park
- Watch the water for whale sightings
- Learn about sea stacks
- Three Capes Scenic Drive
- Bob Straub State Park and Nestucca Sand Spit for bird watching and horseback riding on the beach
- S’mores and a campfire on the beach
Travel Tips for Families
- The weather isn’t normally like this here! I booked the hotel looking for some chilly, foggy, coastal Oregon weather to cool off. We were just lucky to get this perfect evening. So make sure you bring layers! The view from our balcony was drizzly when we awoke the next morning.
- Our “Family Suite” room came equipped with:
- Small refrigerator
- Small sink
- Coffee maker (the good stuff)
- Clock radio with nature sounds
- Board games for kids in the room, plus a library of DVDs and video games to check out from the lobby
- Enough seating for all with a couch and coffee table plus a small table with 2 chairs
- Television in the kids room and a television in the main room
- Balcony (all rooms are beach-facing with the parking lot and hallways off the back)
- Ask about their “Campfire Package” which comes with firewood, roasting sticks, and s’mores packets for $25
- Spa services available and a jacuzzi room if you come for a couples only trip!
- Walking distance to the brewery across the street and miles and miles of beach
- The beach rules are a little different here because you can start a campfire right on the beach AND drive on the beach. In fact, the Pacific Dory Fleet launches directly from the beach here. Listen for horns and be especially cognizant of vehicles when you are on the sand or playing in the waves.
- Although we did see some surfers in the water, it’s not really a swimming beach for kids. Leave it to the locals and the experts.
- Please, please, please follow signs at the dunes and when it says “Don’t go past this point.” — then don’t go past that point! Just this summer a teen died when he didn’t obey the signage.
- Pelican Pub & Brewery for a sit-down meal
- Ben & Jeff’s Tacos & Burgers Restaurant for lunch (closes at 5pm or 6pm)
- Stimulus Espresso Cafe is in the same building as the hotel on the bottom floor – your stop for coffee or pastries
Disclosure: Although the Inn at Cape Kiwanda were very gracious hosts and made my daughter’s birthday very special, we paid our own way and all opinions are my own.