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Things To Do in Oregon in December at the Coast

Thinking about an Oregon winter vacation, and wondering what to do in Oregon in December at the Coast? You'd be surprised at all the fun to be had! Locals looking for things to do in Portland in December often think of heading west to the Coast. While this year's events are low key due to the coronavirus, there is definitely still fun to be had. Follow along, and we'll give you the inside scoop.

Couple enjoying oregon coast

Do You Enjoy a Play?

Try Scrooged In Astoria, presented annually by the The Astor Street Opry Company in our northernmost Oregon Coast town. This event is a fun family holiday tradition for many coastal citizens and visitors, and is The Astor's own musical adaptation of a Christmas Carol, featuring the same favorite characters from "Shanghaied in Astoria." Enjoy watching our Scrooge learn about the holiday spirit. The production typically runs Friday and Saturday nights. Check The Astor for details on this fun Oregon Coast Christmas tradition.

Check The Coaster Theater Playhouse for Cannon Beach Christmas festivities. This small but mighty coastal theater has a rotating list of holiday productions.

If you're looking for things to do in Rockaway Beach Oregon or the Manzanita area, you should checkout the performances at the North County Recreation District theater. The Riverbend Players regularly offer wonderful, enjoyable family friendly productions. Their current offering is a virtual production of It's A Wonderful Life.

Whale swimming

Have a "Whale" of a time!

It's Whale Watch Week season all along the Oregon coast. Mid-December begins the migration of 25,000 gray whales from as they move south to the warm waters off Mexico. Even better, the Oregon State Parks presents their "Whale Spoken Here" program throughout Oregon in December to help visitors spot whales and learn about our beloved Gray whales. Visitors thrill with the sight of these majestic royals of the ocean - your Oregon winter vacation be unforgettable with this experience. Download their brochure here

So where do you go in Oregon to watch the whales? Here's a quick guide:

  • Whale Watching Astoria Oregon: You'll find the best whale watching in the Astoria area is at Fort Stevens State Park.

  • Whale Watching Seaside Oregon: Seaside visitors will find the best whale watching north in Fort Stevens State Park, or south in Ecola State Park.

  • Whale Watching Cannon Beach Oregon: head to the north end of town to Ecola State Park.

  • Whale Watching Manzanita Oregon: travel a short distance north to the Neahkahnie lookout, or Oswald West State Park.

  • Whale Watching Rockaway Beach Oregon: either head north to Neahkahnie lookout or Oswald West State park, or head south to the Tillamook areas.

  • Whale Watching near Tillamook: travel west to Cape Meares Lighthouse, or southwest to Cape Lookout State Park

  • Whale Watching near Pacific City: visit Cape Kiwanda State Park to spot whales, or head north to Cape Lookout State Park.

Santa giving gift to girl

All Aboard for Fun!

Ride Candy Cane Express, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

Looking for fabulous things to do at the Oregon Coast with kids, young and old alike? Have you taken a ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad? If not, add this to your things to do on the Oregon Coast in December! Now is the perfect time hop on the Candy Cane Express, especially during the coronavirus. It's a covered car, but there are no windows, so dress warmly and bring your mask, and get ready for some Christmas in Oregon fun.

Trains depart from Garibaldi at 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays for round trip fun to Rockaway beach. You'll be front and center to the beautiful Oregon coastline while enjoying cookies and hot chocolate. Don't be surprised if Santa makes an appearance! Our Oregon Coast Christmas tradition is loved by many.

Lights, Camera, Action ...

Christmas at the beach wouldn't be the same without Oregon Coast winter holiday lights and festivals!

While our coastal holiday gift festivals and markets are currently on coronavirus hiatus, you'll find lots of Christmas Oregon Coast style!

Christmas lightening

The holiday season kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with Plaid Friday in Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and the tri-city area, Rockaway Beach, and Tillamook. Plaid Friday was started with the idea of weaving individual threads (small businesses) to create a strong fabric that celebrates wonderful, independent businesses. Plaid Friday the alternative, independent idea of big box store Black Friday. Look for Plaid Friday posters in the stores and shop for the holidays on the Oregon Coast!

December on the Oregon Coast brings the following annual holiday fun - be sure to check for changes before attending:

  • Astoria Holiday Light tour. Be sure to get your maps from the Astoria Chamber of Commerce.

  • Gearhart Art Walk on the first Saturday in December. Check here if you're wondering about Gearhard OR weather.

  • Providence Seaside Festival of Trees. This year's festivities include a virtual gala and auction.

  • The Annual Seaside Parade of Lights the Friday after Thanksgiving

  • Cannon Beach Name That Tune Holiday

  • Cannon Beach Holiday Wreath Making Classes

  • Cannon Beach Lamp Lighting Ceremony - held virtually this year

  • Cannon Beach Fireside Story With Santa - held virtually this year on Facebook

  • Manzanita store holidays and Christmas shopping

  • Manzanita Hoffman Art Gallery December show, Fridays and Saturdays

  • Rockaway Beach Holiday Bazaar and Gift Fair

  • Rockaway Beach Christmas Tree Lighting Festival

  • Tillamook Drive-Thru Holiday Party

  • Tillamook Christmas Bazaar - December 4 and 5

  • Tillamook Four Seasons on the Oregon Coast Quilt Exhibit

  • Check out "Tillamook North County Happenings" on Facebook for more fun!

Be sure to check out the Events page on the Visit Oregon Coast website. And don't forget to enjoy your Christmas shopping locally when visiting. Buying locally will delight Oregon Christmas shoppers and help the small businesses that make our area unique and creative!

Splash your way into the New Year!

Don't forget about the Annual Polar Plunge along the Coast. Check your local area. The Manzanita Polar Plunge typically begins at approximately 11:00 am on New Year's Day. Look for the bon fire towards the north end of the beach.

Don't forget stay inside fun

We love to make Christmas cookies when at the beach in December. Or check out some of our favorite inside beach vacation ideas.

Lastly, there's always a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It's a fan favorite, and they're still open, safely, during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Enjoy your Oregon holiday beach vacation ~

Looking for a terrific place to stay at the Oregon beach in December? Check our our oceanfront Manzanita vacation rentals - you'll get a front row seat to our popular seven mile sandy beach.

Swimming race



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