As the holidays approach, free time for the whole family to escape the house becomesfound via flickr nearly non-existent. We know that this busy time of year in Portland isn’t ideal for taking long trips, so we’ve come up with 13 fabulous ways to have a staycation in your own backyard. Whether you’re exploring a unique neighborhood, dining at a new joint, or participating in some indoor fun, these 13 ideas will help you and your kiddos discover and experience Portland in a whole new way!

1. Take a Day Trip to Cannon Beach. Pull on your rain boots and rain coats and stomp around with the little ones in the sand, explore great food and drive down to Seaside for an aquarium visit. No crowds and reduced prices for off-season visitors!

2. Spend an afternoon getting messy with drop in art classes and come home with art for the whole family.

3. Check out Salem Oregon – Kid friendly and just far enough away to feel like an adventure!

4. Enjoy an afternoon of indoor play in the great outdoors and scope out the World Forestry Center.

5. Saddle up and go horseback riding with the whole family!

6. Make breakfast an adventure and decide for yourself where to find the Best Pancakes in Portland. Yum.

7. Explore St. John’s Neighborhood. See a movie in the historic theater, and check out new shops and restaurants with the kiddos.

8. Take the day to walk around the Hawthorne District and all its kooky fun nooks and crannies.

9. Visit one of the many kid-friendly bowling alleys.

10. One fave of Portland families: the Oregon Zoo, which never fails to disappoint.

11. Have you visited the Museum of Science and Industry? This interactive spot will provide an entire afternoon of exploration for the little ones and we’ve got the tips and tricks to make it easy.

12. Be a tourist in your own city with this list of tons of things to do, eat, and see with kids in Portland.

13. Check out any of these 7 easy day trips from Portland  for even more escapes!

What is your family’s number one favorite staycation spot in Portland?

— Lauren Dupuis