It’s been a long 2020. Portland families have spent most of it staying home and staying safe. Spring vacations were put on hold and many summer getaways were completely canceled. The good news is that many locations that are just a short drive away from Portland are beginning to open and welcome visitors again. It’s time to kick that COVID cabin fever go on a family getaway. We’ve rounded up some nearby spots that are perfect for a sweet escape and dedicated to keep you safe. Read on to find out more.

photo: Amie B. via Yelp

Mt. Rainier Via Ashford, Wa

Drive: 2.5 hours

If the idea of spending a weekend in a cabin in the woods sounds like bliss, Mt. Rainier is the perfect place to take the family. With the National Park recently re-opened, your family can get in all of the outdoor adventures you’ve been dreaming of. The higher levels don’t melt until well into summer and there are plenty of lowland hikes that will take you through towering trees, along babbling rivers and streams, and by crystalline waterfalls. Note: the Visitor’s Center and Paradise Inn are still closed and await the next phase of opening. Check out the Mt. Rainier National Park Website for information on what’s open and closed before heading to the park. Northwest Trek has reopened and is offering families a new Wild Walk Experience as well as a New Wild Drive Experience that offer visitors an opportunity to meet wildlife up close and in person! The website has all of the details on what’s changed to keep visitors safe from COVID-19, and there’s still plenty to do.

While hotels are nice, there’s nothing like a night or two in a luxury cabin. Altimeter Cabin is our top pick for the perfect family retreat. This rustic, yet luxurious spot has a private hot tub, free wifi, a fire pit, wood stove and a fully stocked kitchen. The kid will love playing a little put put golf while mom and dad grill up dinner. This amazing cabin provides families with the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience. Just imagine spending time with your loved ones beneath the starry sky surrounded by towering cedars while you relax in the hot tub or roast marsh mellows by the campfire. Sleeping arrangements  include a fun, open sleeping loft with log ladder that will remind you of your own childhood family vacation!

Altimeter Cabin
34509 State Route 706 East, Ashford Wa.
Call: 1 866-267-6814

photo: via The Society Hotel

Bingen, WA

Drive: 1 hour

Bingen is just a short car drive away. But, if you aren’t in the mood to hit the road, it is only two stops away from Portland and three stops from Seattle by Amtrak. If your family loves the outdoors, Bingen is a dreamy escape. The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail makes for a scenic family bike ride or hike. This trail—once a section U.S. Highway 30—is now only open to bikers and hikers and takes you along the winding curves of the cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge where you catch breathtaking views of the water without motorists zipping by and detracting from the sweeping beauty.

It’s getting hot out! Wet Planet is open and offering whitewater rafting adventures down the Lower Salmon River, and they are gorgeous! You can book a full or half day trip or go on a multi-day adventure. These trips are appropriate for kids 10+ years old. The younger set are sure to be enchanted while exploring the natural life along one of the Gorge’s trails. Catherine Creek Trail is a stunning wildflower hike that gives visitors breathtaking views of Mt. Hood. It’s easy for little feet and parents with kids on their backs, and makes for a great morning or afternoon activity.

The Society Hotel is only five blocks away from the Amtrak station and features a community gathering space that offers affordable rates, varied accommodation options and concierge-style service parents will appreciate. Room options include 10 European-style standard hotel rooms that are each themed after a school subject and have access to a shared bathroom.

For larger families, we suggest one of the 20 cabins that encircle a grass area with a fire pit, bathhouse and spa. The two-room cabins are perfect for a family of four. They have cozy beds, a sitting and dining area and a small kitchenette where you can cook your own meals. Outside you’ll find a picnic bench and hammock swing to kick back in.

The Society Hotel
Bingen, Wa.

photo: Lee T. via yelp

Bend, OR

Drive: About 3 hours

Bend is in Deschutes County which was one of the first Oregon counties to move to Phase 1 opening. It is now in Phase two and visitors can enjoy a multitude of activities in the area (while social distancing and wearing masks! Families flock to Bend from all over the country for its unmatched outdoor recreations adventures. As the temps rise repare to get wet and wild on the Deschutes River with Sun Country Tours—their guides can take you on a white water rafting excursion or a relaxing tour down the river by stand up paddle board or inner tube. Just a little further south on 97, you’ll find the world-renowned Smith Rock; climbers come to the area for an opportunity to scale the sheer walls of Monkey Face. The guides at Chockstone Climbing Guides are now booking private trips that will help your little monkey learn to climbe rock walls. All of the required gear is provided and you will feel safe in the hands of these climbing experts.

For some low-impact local fun, you can stroll through Drake park and watch the ducks and geese play or hit a nearby trail on bike or on foot. There’s so much to do, choosing which activity you want fit in is sure to be your biggest challenge!

Mt. Bachelor Village gives traveling families a variety of lodging options. Rent a hotel room, a river view condo or a vacation home. There is something available to fit every family budget and all options come with amenities like indoor and outdoor pools, playgrounds, golf courses and access to biking and hiking paths.

Mt. Bachelor Village

–Annette Benedetti


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