Memorial Day brings the first real extended weekend of the warm weather season. You and your clan are most likely itching for adventure and the good news is that you don’t have to wait for school to let out to hit the road. There are plenty of awesome nearby destinations that are perfect for a quick getaway. Grab your kids, pack the car and read on to found out where you should go on your Memorial vaycay!

photo: Tjflex2 via flickr

Fort Stevens State Park
92.3 miles from downtown Portland

Located between Astoria and Seaside on the Oregon coast, Fort Stevens offers your family an adventure that is unlike any other you will find nearby. While there is a beautiful beach to enjoy which will give your little adventurers plenty of beach-combing time, there is also a historic shipwreck and military fort where your family can spend hours exploring and learning.

Once you’ve gotten a good history lesson in, grab your bikes  and take them for a spin on the nine miles of paved bicycle paths or don your hiking boots and hit the six miles of trails that take you through a wide variety of habitats including spruce forests, wetlands and dunes. While the water is probably still a bit cold, nearby Coffenbury Lake has two swimming areas, a picnic area, restrooms and boat ramp if you want to spend a day on the water.


If you are up for pitching your tent, Fort Stevens has a campground with six tent sited or try glamping in one of the 15 yurts that are offered. If camping isn’t your style, there are also 11 deluxe cabins to spend the night in. Five of the 11 are pet friendly, so your furry family members can join you!

100 Peter Iredale Rd, Hammond, Or.
Overnight Reservations: 1-800-452-5687
Cost: Parking Pass: $5/day, tent: $22/night, yurt: $46/night, cabin: $100/night

photo: by Annette Benedetti

78.1 miles from downtown Portland

If you are hankerin for weekend at the beach California style, Seaside is the way to go! Your clan will enjoy playing and relaxing on the massive expanse of sandy beaches that run along the ocean. In addition to amazing beaches, Seaside is home to The Funland Entertainment Center (201 Broadway St.), which is the largest arcade on the North Oregon Coast and has been around since 1931. There your little gamers will entertain themselves for hours with skee-ball, bumper cars, mini golf and so much more. Then head to the Seaside Carousel Mall where you and your kids will find a beautiful replica of a classic carousel that can take the whole tribe for a musical ride ( (300 Broadway St.).While you’re at it, make sure you hit The Buzz on Broadway (406 Broadway St.) for saltwater taffy and chocolate-dipped treats, including bacon-topped Twinkies. Then, head west 1 block, north 3 blocks and 1 block west again to go feed the seals and let the little ones touch a starfish at Seaside Aquarium (200 N. Promenade).

Seaside is perfect for a day trip or a whole weekend getaway. Consider booking a room at the Best Western Ocean View Resort ($100-$300/night) or at the more affordable but quaint City Center Motel ($54 and up).

Cost: Free

photo: Al Case via flickr


181 miles from downtown Portland

Tired of beaches? Head for the High Desert! If your family loves the outdoors then you just can’t go wrong with a weekend in Sun River. Visit Sunriver Resort to reserve a room at the Sunriver Lodge Village, a Sun River Lodge or one of their vacation homes or condos ($200 and up/night) You’ll want to bring your bikes — there are over 35 miles of paved paths that will keep little legs busy all day long. If water play is more appealing to your crew, you can rent canoes or kayaks, ride ponies, play at the park playground, and hike to Benham Falls. The top attraction is the resort’s SHARC water park, which features 22-acres of water fun and includes a sand play area, basketball court and more. And, with its lazy river, two water slides, tot splash areas and indoor and outdoor pools, your little fishes can swim for hours.

Sunriver Resort
17600 Center Drive, Sunriver, Or.
Reservation: 855-420-8206

photo: Wayne Boardman via flickr

Mt. Rainier
137 miles from downtown Portland

If a beautiful mountain escape is like what your are looking for, Mt. Rainier is the perfect destination for you and your clan. With a National park that boasts over 130 trails for your and your family to enjoy, there is more to explore than your family can possibly fit in in a weekend. Having a hard time choosing what to do? Go on a wildflower hike or make your way to majestic waterfalls for and afternoon of awe.

To add some adventure to your trip, get up close and persona with the wild life at NW Trek. They offer Keeper tours that bring you eye to eye with the local animal residents. If a train ride through the woods sounds intriguing, check out Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum and sign up for one of their train excursions that take you through the foothills of Mt. Rainier.

Rainier is well worth a weekend trip. Consider renting a rustic cabin for your getaway. Three Bears Lodge offers eight cabins ($175/night and up) just outside the year-round Paradise entrance to the national park in Ashford. The cabins accommodate groups of all sizes and six of the 8 cabins are designed specifically for families with young children. These cabins come with highchairs, boosters, toys, cribs and anything else you could imagine you might need. All of the cabins have fully equipped kitchens that have the supplies for a complimentary waffle breakfast. If you choose this lodging option, the only thing you need to bring with you is food.

National Park:
Fees: $25/vehicle for 7 consecutive days

photo: Adrianna Dane via flickr

110 miles from downtown Portland

While Eugene is known for the University of Oregon ducks, this cool city is brimming with things for you and your little explorers to do together. Browse and nosh downtown at the Fifth Street Public Market (296 E. 5th Ave.).  Restaurants, like Bricks Artisan Burgers, let you enjoy a mouthwatering, gourmet craft burger and Rogue Tap Root Beer, and Goody’s Chocolate, Candy and Ice Cream scoops up creamy, homemade ice cream that’s fresh, preservative-free and gluten-free. When your little ones get antsy, take them to  Skinner’s Butte (10 Cheshire St.), an award-winning park with an incredible play area called RiverPlay Discovery Village where they can play in the water, climb rocks, dig for fossils and ride in a stagecoach.

Top your trip off with a stop at Cascades Raptor Center (32275 Fox Hollow Rd.), where kids can get up close and personal with more than 60 birds of prey.


What is your favorite Memorial Day Getaway? Let us know in the comments below!

—Annette Benedetti