There is nothing quite as memorable as family road trips to National Parks. Fortunately, there are several featuring breathtaking hikes, adventures in nature, and lots of educations opportunities. National Parks Week runs April 17-25 this year providing a perfect excuse to plan a family road trip that takes you to these awesome spots. Read on for a little help planning your next family adventure to a beloved National Park near Portland

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Explore the prehistoric past at these fossil beds 40 million years in the making. John Day Fossil Beds is also home to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center which is a working lab. Don’t miss the Painted Hills area where you can grab gorgeous pics of your babes on a one-of-a-kind back drop. It makes for a dream family road trip this time of year.

Nearby Airbnb: This large two bedroom, two bathroom townhouse , has an optional 3rd bedroom/daylight basement studio and is located behind the Dayville Post Office, eight miles from the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. It's sweeping decks and gorgeous views will keep you coming back again and again.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

It's hard to miss the massive fort the 366-acre park it sits on when zooming down Hwy14. Located on the North bank of the Columbia River the park is home to rich Pacific Northwest history. Great for multiple day trips full of fun you and your family can explore four different aspects of history: Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Barracks, Pearson Air Museum, and The McLoughlin House. Connected by trails and spacious grounds, this spot offers an abundance of opportunities for little adventurers to play, discover and learn.

Nearby Airbnb: This vintage two bedroom Mediterranean Townhouse was built in 1923 and features a Mission style interior. Your young book worms will enjoy reading in the cozy inglenook. Cook in the newly remodeled kitchen or have a BBQ in the back in our bamboo garden. 

Crater Lake National Park (Opening May 2021)

Crater Lake National Park is home to the deepest lake in the United States. The water-filled caldera is a stunning blue and the scenic Rim Drive is a "must do" activity for all visiting families. This 33-mile tour winds around Crater Lake and has plenty of pullouts along the way for photo ops and restless legs. There are plenty of trails to explore for those in the family who love to hike. And your kids will want to explore Wizard Island. Find out more here.

Nearby Airbnb: This spacious chalet in the woods is near hiking/biking trails and waterfalls There is a community pool and tennis courts nearby. The kiddos will enjoy playing amongst the trees on the wrap-around deck while taking in the sights and sounds of nature. In the evening, your crew can get cozy by the fireplace on cool evenings.

photo: by Annette Benedetti

Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park on Washington's scenic west coast,  is approximately 3.5 hours from Portland by car making it a reasonable trek for families with young ones. Unsurprisingly, with immediate access to both the coastline and the nearby Hoh Rainforest, it is packed with adventures for people both young and old. Weather you and your little explorers enjoy animal spotting, treks on trails through trees or playing in the sand and exploring sea life, there are plenty of activities to fill a weekend or week-long travel itinerary with. Here are some of our favorite things to do.

Airbnb Nearby: This rustic cabin come with all the amenities a family could need. It's private location give kiddos plenty of room to run and play. The full kitchenette is well appointed. It's a great basecamp for your National Parke adventures.

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park is only a two to three hour drive North of Portland and offers a multitude of awesome outdoor activities and adventures that the whole clan will love. From hiking to, viewing and feeding wildlife with NW Trek, to scenic  gondola and tram rides through the wilderness, this mountain experience will bring your nature-loving crew back again and again. Find our suggestions for what to do while you are there here.

Airbnb nearby: This cozy cabin is gorgeous and offers families and authentic mountain cabin experience. Your crew will love the wood burning stove and large sunny decks. It's located between the Cowlitz River and Coal Creek so you can fall asleep to the natural sounds of babbling water. Bonus: it's dog friendly!

—Annette Benedetti

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