The summer months in Pacific Northwest are truly magical. Families can enjoy epic vacations that are only a short drive away. From mountain retreats to high desert adventures, to sweet spots right on the ocean, there are dream destinations perfect for Portland families who are looking for a break from the city. If you are looking for an awesome nearby summer family getaway but aren’t quite sure where to go, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite spots. Read on to find out more.
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. Check out the Mt. Rainier National Park Website for information on what's open and closed before heading to the park. Northwest Trek offers families keeper tours that offer visitors an opportunity to meet wildlife up close and in person, or hop in your own car and go on a wild drive. There are even photo tours that allow you to get great pics of all of your favorite animals!
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!
34509 State Route 706 East, Ashford Wa.
Call: 1 866-267-6814
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
Drive: About 3 hours
Bend is located in the gorgeous high desert of Central Oregon. Visitors can enjoy a multitude of activities in the area. Families flock to Bend from all over the country for its unmatched outdoor recreation adventures including hiking, biking, and rock climbing. As the temps rise prepare 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 climb 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
Astoria , Seaside and Cannon Beach, OR
Cruise along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, and you’ll reach Astoria Seaside, Pacific City, and Cannon Beach. USA Today lists Astoria among one of the best Oregon coasts worth a visit (there’s a great riverfront trolley you can take here). Beyond historical landmarks and shipwreck remnants sits Astoria Column, which offers breathtaking views for those who dare to climb to the top. You’ll also find the Maritime Museum which will thrill you little sailors. Don't forget to indulge in cinematic nostalgia (Goonies was filmed near here.) Nearby Cannon Beach is popular for families and offers bird and whale watching and water activities like surfing and boating. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is another cool place to explore. This rolling-hills beach with giant dunes covers nearly 40 miles—it’s the largest dune expanse in North America. Of course, you’ll find lots of activities suited to the area: ATV riding, hiking, camping, etc.
Astoria has a variety of lodging options for your stay. We recommend Best Western Astoria Bayfront Hotel. This lovely hotel has beautiful, spacious rooms with high quality linens and amenities.