By Tiffany Woods
Looking for a fun, family-friendly outdoor activity on the Oregon coast this summer? You’re in luck. Oregon Sea Grant has updated its popular book of clue-directed hunts in places that include coastal parks, cemeteries and downtown areas.
The 2023-24 edition of “The Oregon Coast Quest Book” features 30 self-guided walks (aka Quests) in Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Coos, Curry and Benton counties. Four Quests in Seaside, Newport, Toledo and Florence are new to the book. Others have been updated to reflect small changes since the last edition was published.
Quests use hints to encourage participants to discover, at their own pace, the natural, cultural and historical “treasures” in outdoor spaces. At the end of each hunt, participants find a hidden box containing a logbook to sign and a hand-carved stamp to mark their accomplishment. In addition, people who complete 10 Quests can receive a colorful, embroidered Quests patch.
“The true treasure is the fun of the walk and learning about special places in the community,” said Cait Goodwin, an educator with Oregon Sea Grant and the coordinator of its Quests program.
The Quests were made by people from coastal communities, such as park rangers, educators and students. Each Quest has its own voice, and some directions are written in rhyming verse.
The Quests take place at sites such as: Fort Stevens State Park, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, South Beach State Park, downtown Toledo, Cape Perpetua, Siltcoos Lagoon and downtown Coos Bay.
In addition to being fun, Quests are educational, and topics vary. For example, seven Quests teach about earthquakes and tsunamis and lead people to higher ground so they know where to evacuate. A Quest in Florence points out different examples of art and encourages people to sketch as they walk. Three Quests are in historic cemeteries, giving explorers a glimpse into the lives of prior residents.
For Spanish speakers, Oregon Sea Grant added to its website directions in Spanish for two popular Quests in Newport: Búsqueda en la Bahía (Bayfront Quest) and Búsqueda del Parque Big Creek (Big Creek Park Quest). A description in Spanish of how to Quest is also on the website at beav.es/TJg. As more Quests in Spanish are created, they will be added to the website, Goodwin said.
“Whether you’re a coastal resident or tourist, a retiree, family or youth group — if you’re looking for an excuse to get outside and explore, go on a Quest,” she said.