Oregon Coast Indoor Activities in and around Rockaway Beach

Sure, we all love to spend an afternoon at the beach sharing a picnic with friends, playing in the surf, or scouring the shoreline for seashells and agates. Our miles of sandy beaches are what bring most people to Rockaway Beach, yet they are often pleasantly surprised to find a colorful array of eclectic beach shops, award-winning restaurants, and endless stories spun by our lively locals and spirited shop owners awaiting them in our town center.

Rockaway Beach Shopping

For every shop in Rockaway Beach, you will find a story; all you have to do is ask. Did you know that on Saturdays children under 12 can get a free, new-to-them Hot Wheels car from The Little Crow? Or that the baked goods and pastries at Renee’s Tasting Room & Cafe are recipes the owner used to make for her children when they were younger? Some of our shops have been here for so long that parents and grandparents bring the next generation to enjoy them – because it’s not a trip to Rockaway Beach without stopping at Flamingo Jim’s, right?

A stroll along Hwy 101 will reveal handmade jewelry, the most colorful birdhouses you’ve ever seen, vintage and contemporary art, local crafts and photography, kites and souvenirs, and of course, ice cream parlors serving the famous Tillamook Ice Cream and classic salt-water taffy. From clothing boutiques to light bulbs filled with rainwater (yes, that’s a real thing and we have it!), if you’re looking for interior decorations, gift ideas, or just something to remember your trip by, there is so much to explore in Rockaway Beach.

Of course, no day is complete without a fabulous meal at one of our many amazing restaurants ranked as some of the top dining spots on the coast. Most restaurants source from local growers to ensure quality and freshness, so if you need a pick-me-up cup of coffee and homemade pastry, or are craving freshly smoked local catch, we have it all in our small town.

Click here for the Rockaway Beach shopping directory.

International Police Museum

Ever wondered how police officers collect evidence and solve crimes? Or what it would be like to wear a bulletproof vest? At the International Police Museum in our small beach town you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about police protocols and can even try on their equipment.

Entirely dedicated to the heritage, history, and evolution of police and law enforcement on the Oregon Coast, this fascinating museum is great fun for the entire family. Each educational display explores different aspects of law enforcement from around the world, giving visitors a chance to see historical and international police equipment, including uniforms, weapons, restraints, badges and more.

Garibaldi Maritime Museum

You’ll find the Garibaldi Maritime Museum located between the base of Captain Robert Gray Mountain and Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi, Oregon at the Oregon Coast. The museum is filled with memoirs of the maritime heritage of the North Coast, particularly the adventures of Captain Robert Gray. It is the mission of the museum to collect information concerning Captain Robert Gray and historic sailing vessels; the Lady Washington and The Columbia Rediviva.

The fascinating history of the 18th-century sailing world is recounted through the story of Captain Robert Gray and the trade he established with native Elim and other Salish Indians of the Pacific Northwest.

Come see the models of the Columbia Rediviva and the Lady Washington. Be amazed at the eight-foot-tall reproduction of the Columbia Rediviva’s figurehead and the model showing how this ship was provisioned for the long sea voyage. See the apparel of what the 18th-century seafarers would have worn, and the musical instruments they would have played.

There is also a replica in the works of a “Jolly Boat” which was used in the trade industry for transport between large seafaring ships. Please be sure and check out the unique history of the City of Garibaldi which includes interesting pictures and memorabilia from the turn of the Century.

Tillamook County Pioneer Museum

Have you heard the legend of the treasure allegedly buried on Neahkahnie Mountain? What about the story of the first pilgrim who built his house inside a tree stump? Did you know there once was a town built along Bayocean Spit that fell into the ocean? You’ll discover these stories and many more during a trip to the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum on the corner of Pacific and Second Street in historic downtown Tillamook.

Tillamook County’s history is rich and diverse – spanning miles of coastline and rugged mountains. And while time and development has reshaped some of the Tillamook Coast’s identity, much of it still lives on among the museum’s artifacts and the enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers for telling a good story.

The building itself is a testament to the city’s history, once serving as the Tillamook County Courthouse. Now it plays an equally important role, housing more than 35,000 items and 10,000 photographs capturing and telling a story of a much older Tillamook Coast.

From pioneers to the Kilchis Indians, to Naval Air Station Tillamook, to the great Tillamook Burn that almost wiped out the entire forest, the museum keeps all the memories, legends, myths and mysteries alive in its unforgettable collections. No matter what aspect of the Tillamook Coast interests you, you’re sure to learn something new or broaden your horizons at the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum.

The museum encompasses three floors, complete with replica rooms and artifacts dating back to the very first settlers. With two libraries documenting the Tillamook Coast’s diverse past, visitors are encouraged to do some of their own digging. Or just meander the different floors, each dedicated to a different time, aspect or theme of Tillamook’s past, and soak it all in. A few times each year the display in the main exhibit room is changed, making a trip to the museum insightful and entertaining, no matter how many times you’ve been there.

What mysteries will you solve at the Tillamook County Museum at the Oregon Coast?

Storm Watching

If watching the ocean waves crash, recede and smack into each other sounds exciting to you, then a visit to Rockaway Beach during the winter months is right up your alley. We will supply the stormy weather; all you need is a cup of hot cocoa, a cozy blanket and a view of the horizon for a quintessential Oregon Coast weekend. And since we are the only beach town in the county that’s actually right on the beach, we have the best vantage point for enjoying those stormy afternoons.

While it is never recommended to be on the beach during a storm, we have several popular beachfront hotels and beautiful vacation homes with views of the ocean, so you can watch from the safety and comfort of your own room or deck. And what sounds better than torrents of horizontal rain hitting your window while you curl up next to the fire? Maybe ordering in from one of our highly-rated dining spots and restaurants.

If you do decide to venture outside, wear the proper rain gear and a sturdy pair of boots to keep you from slipping or getting too wet.

Tillamook Air Museum

A visit to the Tillamook Air Museum at the Oregon Coast  is like taking a step back in time – almost literally. Housed inside one of the nation’s last remaining World War II blimp hangars, this world-renowned museum features rare wartime and aviation artifacts and meticulously restored vintage aircraft, many of which are still airworthy!

You’ll even have a chance to see what life as a jet pilot was like by sitting in the cockpit of a vintage aircraft trainer. As if the jaw-dropping planes aren’t enough, photos, first-hand documentation, and authentic uniforms will draw you into a world that has long passed but is never forgotten. Experience first-hand engines from aviation’s heyday, and learn about and see the tools and machines used at the time to deliver helium to the airships. Get a full history of the blimp hangars’ role during WWII in the Tillamook Air Museum’s free theater.

Not only do the planes, photographs, medals and trinkets that surround you tell their stories, but the hangar itself that houses it all also has a story to tell. Built in 1943 by the US Navy for Naval Air Station Tillamook, the hangar, known as Hangar B, is 1,072 feet long and 296 feet wide, covering over six acres. It stands 192 feet tall and was one of two hangars built on the site (Hangar A burned down in 1992). It is one of the largest wooden structures in the world that is still standing today.

After you’ve toured the museum, don’t forget about the 1950’s themed Air Base Café serving hamburgers and milkshakes in vintage fashion. Then browse the gift shop and take home your very own Belanca Aircruiser model or P-51 Mustang keychain. The Tillamook Air Museum is an experience you’ll never forget, and one you can’t have anywhere, but on the Tillamook Coast. So whether you’re young, or just young at heart, you’ll understand why the Tillamook Air Museum is a “don’t miss” destination.

The Tillamook Air Museum is open daily from 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m and the Café is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

There’s only one spot along the Tillamook Coast where you can indulge in an ice cream cone, taste an award-winning grilled cheese sandwich and bring home a bag of “squeaky cheese,” all while learning what goes into making world-famous Tillamook medium cheddar cheese.

At the Tillamook Cheese Factory you’ll meet people from all around the world who gather to learn about the cheesemaking process. During the free self-guided tour you, too, will discover why Tillamook has such a deep connection to its cheese and understand the history that has gone into making the famous baby loaf. Learn about the dairy cows and why the Tillamook Valley is such an opportune place to raise them. Test your knowledge of the differences among Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Holstein, and Dutch Belted cows, and read about some of the first dairy farms in the area.

Take an interactive, behind-the-scenes peek at how your favorite cheese is produced and packaged. You’ll even get a chance to sample different types of Tillamook cheese and enjoy a scoop or two (or more!) of your favorite Tillamook ice cream flavors. Don’t have a favorite? Don’t worry! There are endless varieties to choose from. Or maybe you’d rather stop by the Creamery Café for a delectable grilled Tillamook cheese sandwich. There’s even a fudge counter featuring more than thirty different types of old-fashioned fudge made with creamy Tillamook butter.

Finally, don’t miss out on the gift shop. Pick out some “Tillamook flavored” souvenirs that will ensure you never forget your trip to this renowned Tillamook Coast landmark. While you’re there, get your picture taken in the adorable Baby Loaf Bus, which travels on the Loaf Love Tour and brings the naturally-aged cheeses to people all across the country from the Oregon Coast. Because in Tillamook, cheese is a tradition, and cows are treated like family, so why wouldn’t we want to spread the love around a bit?

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