Getting Kids And Families Outside

We love helping families, schools, and community groups get their kids outside to explore the forest. Whether they’re hiking under big trees, poking around tidepools, learning about streams or meadows, or just being silly on a sand dune, kids gain a lot from time spent outside. The Siuslaw offers many ways for kids to experience nature and pique their curiosity about the world around them.

Every Kid Outdoors 
Jr. Rangers
Agents of Discovery App
Family-Friendly Activities
Education Programs and Resources

Visit for Free - Every Kid Outdoors

Every fourth grader and their family can visit national parks and forests for free! Visit or call or visit any of our offices for more information.

Become a Jr. Ranger

The Junior Forest Ranger program is an exciting way for young people to explore their national forests and grasslands. Download your Jr. Ranger Adventure Guide today!

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Junior Ranger Book(PDF 8.8 mb)

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area Junior Ranger Book (PDF 3.9 mb)

Forest Service Junior Forest Ranger Program

Agents of Discovery Mobile App

A screenshot of the Discovery Agents appWe’ve partnered with Agents of Discovery to make a fun app that gets kids out exploring the forest by solving fun challenges. If you’re visiting Cape Perpetua, this free app will help you and your kids experience the forest in a whole new way.

Download the free app from the App Store or Google Play before you leave home, or using the WiFi at the visitor center. Once downloaded, follow the instructions to search for missions nearby and select the one for the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Once that’s loaded into your device, you’re ready to head out to the Discovery Loop Trail to play! 

Family-Friendly Places and Activities

Throughout the forest there are family-friendly hikes, programs, and events that are perfect for kids and families:

A group of kids explores tidepools with a rangerCape Perpetua Visitor Center

The visitor center offers family-friendly programs and events throughout the year like tidepool exploration days, whale watching, guided hikes, presentations, community projects and more. There are also twenty-six miles of interconnected hiking trails taking you through the old-growth forest (even one to a 600-year-old tree!), to tide pools, and unique geological features.

Whale Watch Weeks: Catch a glimpse of grey whales from Cape Perpetua during their spring and fall migrations. Gray whales can be spotted along the Oregon coast from mid-December through mid-January as they migrate south and again in late March as the whales travel north on their way towards Alaska.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for event information and updates, or contact the Visitor Center for details at 541-547-3289.

Sweet Creek Falls

A top kid-friendly hike on the Oregon Coast. The trail passes 11 small waterfalls in 1.1 miles.

Oregon Dunes Overlook and Day Use Area

With miles of sand and tree islands, there is a lot to explore in the dunes. In the summer, field rangers offer weekend guided hikes from the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area.

Carter Lake Campground

Not only a family favorite campground, but also favorite fishing spot. There is also a one-mile trail through the dunes here to the ocean.

Tahkenitch Area

A part of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where non-motorized recreation rules. There is a campground, hiking trails and a lake for canoeing and kayaking.

Siltcoos River

Ideal for paddlers and you can find camping and a boat launch at Tyee Campground.

Two kids holding fishing poles pose with forest service rangerHebo Lake Campground

A small family campground with 12 sites, a pond stocked for fishing and hiking, including the Hebo Lake Loop Trail.

Drift Creek Falls Trail

With its waterfall and suspension footbridge this easy trail appeals to young and old alike.

Niagara Falls Trail

For the more adventurous hikers, with some steeper portions, but it’s 2-mile round trip trail that brings you to two waterfalls thundering into the canyon.

Fish Derbies

Each year, free family fishing events are held around the forest. One of the most popular is the Hebo Lake free fishing day. Contact the Hebo district office for information.

Education Programs and Resources

Highlights from Forest Camp (week-long outdoor school for rural Linn and Benton county schools)

Forest Service staff love to share their expertise for hands-on fun and education with programs and resources for groups like these:

  • Field trips (your youth/scout/school group visits us)
  • Classroom and community visits (we visit you)
  • Classroom curriculum
  • Tsalila Festival (3-day event for elementary school groups to learn about watersheds, coastal cultural history, and more)
  • Forest Camp (week-long outdoor school for rural Linn and Benton county schools)
  • Marys Peak Outdoor School (day-long event on Marys Peak for Benton county 8th graders, hosted by Marys Peak Alliance)

Contact Brian Hoeh, 541-547-3289 for more information.


FSNatureLIVE distance learning adventures bring nature learning to your classroom through our series of webcasts, webinars, and online education resources. No matter where you are in the world, you can virtually learn about bats, butterflies, climate change, wetlands, and more!

Natural Inquirer

The Natural Inquirer program produces a variety of science education materials for PreK through grade 12. Natural Inquirer products are produced by the USDA Forest Service, the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association (CFAIA), and other cooperators and partners.