10 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Oban

Scotland's Adventure Coast

Are you looking for a family-friendly gateway to Scotland’s West Coast? Head to Oban and discover a variety of family-friendly attractions and free things to do that will even keep the wee adventurers entertained.

Whether you want to spend your days exploring outdoors, immerse yourself in Scottish West Coast history, or head on an exciting boat tour to spot some of our local wildlife, a getaway to Oban offers the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation.

Discover a selection of 10 family-friendly things to do in Oban in this article. 


1. Dunollie Castle & Gardens

Dunollie Castle is one of the best-known attractions in Oban and a fantastic place for the whole family to play, learn and explore Scotland’s rich history in a beautiful natural environment.

Learn more about the history of the history of the castle, join a guided tour that takes you through the victories and defeats of the MacDougal Clan or explore the vast grounds and gardens. Dunollie Castle has two different self-led trails for children to follow, offering an interactive way to explore the castle’s grounds and history for the whole family. Finish off your trip at Dunollie Castles’ Kettle Garden Cafe, a perfect spot to grab lunch whilst admiring the surrounding woodlands and the ruins of Dunollie Castle.

Dunollie Castle hosts a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year. Head to their website for more information about upcoming events.

2. A day trip to Kerrera

Kerrera is a small island nestled between Oban and the Isle of Mull. Getting to the island from Oban is an adventure in itself, especially for the wee ones. Head on the short-passenger ferry journey from Gallanach near Oban. As there are no cars allowed on the ferry, we’d recommend arriving early to secure a spot in the car park. There is also a regular local bus from Oban to Gallanach (West Coast Motors service 417).

Once you arrive on the island, there are plenty of walking trails to explore. You can also bring your bikes on the ferry or hire e-bikes in Oban. One of the most popular trails is the 7-mile Southern Loop, taking you around the southern half of Kerrera, past Balliemore Farm and to the ruins of Gylen Castle. The Kerrera Tea Garden mark a great halfway point, offering homemade treats for the whole family before you head back along the coastal path towards the ferry. The entire route takes approximately 4 hours.

If you are travelling with smaller children, you can also just walk directly to the Tea Garden and  Gylen Castle and return the same way as you came. 

3. Enjoy a Boat Trip & Wildlife Spotting

Boat trips are an unbeatable way to explore Oban & the Isles and discover the wonderful wildlife that inhabits the region’s waters and coastline. Oban is a world-class destination for spotting seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises plus minke whales, basking sharks and even the occasional orca. There are plenty of boat tour operators leaving from Oban town. However, Basking Shark Scotland, Sealife Adventures and Seafari Adventures are especially suitable for families. 

Specialising in marine wildlife preservation, Basking Shark Scotland offers a variety of tours from Oban with their dedicated team of marine biologists able to answer all the questions your children might have about the local wildlife. Oban’s longest-established local operator, Sealife Adventures, is another fantastic choice for wildlife-watching tours, taking you to uninhabited islands and dramatic sea cliffs. Located a short drive outside of Oban, Seafari have a fleet of high-speed Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RIB), purpose-built for wildlife and nature watching and, for the more adventurous, they do Whirlpool Special Tours to see the mighty Corryvreckan at its most active. 

4. A Visit to Ganavan Beach

Ganavan Sands has beautiful sandy beaches and clear blue waters that make you wonder if you’re actually in the Mediterranean! A family day out to Ganavan Sands is one of the best ways to use the summer sun.

Located an approx. 25 minutes away from Oban, the beautiful sandy beach is the perfect spot to spend a relaxed day whilst the young ones explore, swim or build sand castles. Soak in the excellent views of the nearby islands of Mull and Lismore or go for a stroll along the stunning coastal walking path to watch the sunset. 

5. Visit Dunstaffnage Castle & Grounds

Dunstaffnage Castle & Chapel is another popular family-friendly attraction to visit while in Oban. Dunstaffnage is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles, built before 1240, probably by Duncan MacDougall.  

Climb up to the battlements to take in the fantastic views, find the very special 13th-century Dunstaffnage Chapel tucked away in the trees, stand in awe of the daunting curtain wall – one of the oldest standing castles remains in Scotland –  and learn about the castle’s fascinating history, including many historic battles. With its ancient architecture and mysterious atmosphere, a visit to Dunstaffnage Castle promises to be a great day out for the whole family.

6. What's the story in Ballamory

Every kid knows about Balamory. It was filmed in the charming coastal fishing village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. Easily accessible via ferry from Oban, the Isle of Mull is a fantastic family-friendly day trip from Oban. During your ferry journey keep your eyes peeled for dolphins jumping next to the ferry!

With 300 miles of coastline, hills and woodland walks, there’s plenty to explore on the Isle of Mull. Whether you head for a coastal drive towards Tobermory, get up close to local sea creatures at Mull’s Aquarium, Europe’s first ‘catch and release aquarium’, or head for a walk along the beach, Mull has plenty to offer for the whole family. 

During peak times, we’d recommend booking your ferry tickets to Mull in advance. You can check current timetables and ticket prices here.

7. The Three Isles Tour: Mull, Iona & Staffa

If you’re looking for a family-friendly full-day trip, join West Coast Tours 'Three Isles Tour'. Journey through the stunning scenery of the Isle of Mull, delve into the ancient history of Iona then onto the unique Isle of Staffa to see the geological wonders of Fingal’s Cave and, until early August, the opportunity to see its nesting puffins.

West Coast Yours also offers shorter island hopping trips and a selection of wildlife tours, departing directly from Oban. Head to their website to check their current offers and timetables

8. Explore the iconic McCaig’s Tower

Easily accessible by foot from Oban town, a visit to McCaig’s Tower is a great afternoon activity for the whole family. 

The iconic stone tower is a lovely place to take in the panoramic views over Oban Bay.  The gardens inside the tower are well maintained and are a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of town life in Oban. The tower was built in 1897 by local banker John Stuart McCaig with the intention of providing work for local stone masons and building a lasting monument to the McCaig family. 

9. A walk up Pulpit Hill 

If you want stunning views of the town of Oban, look no further than Pulpit Hill. Head on this 20-minute family-friendly walk from Oban town to take in the fantastic panoramic view of Oban Bay and the surrounding Isles and mountains.

10. Oban Chocolate Company

Who doesn’t like hot chocolate? When you think of delicious treats in Oban, one particular place comes to mind: Oban Chocolate Company. Try out the different chocolates, attend a chocolate workshop with your family or simply treat yourself to one of their delicious hot chocolates. For those with a bit of a sweet tooth, the Oban Chocolate Company is the perfect attraction to Scottish-inspired chocolates and take them home as a gift!

Oban is a brilliant getaway destination for the whole family. Discover more things to see & do, accommodations and restaurants in Oban on our website.