With the rising cost of gas, more and more families are looking for affordable “staycations” this summer. I wanted to share a list of some of my very favorite NW kid-friendly locations! Your family is sure to find something on the list to keep you busy, learning, and having fun this summer! There is so much to see and do in the Pacific NW. What will YOU do with your family this summer?
This hidden gem of a park, located in Wilsonville is SO much fun! The park includes a super fun fountain and water play area, a giant hill slide, playground, lots of grass to run and play in, and a covered eating area.
2. Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo is a definite must on the bucket list of anyone in the Portland area. Our favorite attractions? The Great Northwest and Pacific Shores are high on our list of things to do at the zoo! Pack a picnic lunch, ride the train, and enjoy the animals!
Splash in the Waterworks exhibit, serve up some lunch in the Butterfly Bistro, or spend the day in my boys’ personal favorite, The Dig Pit! You’ll want to check out their new outdoor exhibit, Zany Maze!
4. Catch a cheap movie!
There are several options for catching a cheap show with your kids this summer! McMenamins offer $3 matinees! (Sometimes these will be “kid” movies, and sometimes they are “mom” movies to allow mamas with babies the chance to go to a theater!) Other low-cost theaters include Liberty Theater in Camas ($3.75 EVERY show), and Vancouver Plaza 10 (where I used to go in middle school- just $3.50)
You’ll also want to know about the Regal Summer Movie Express! Every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 am at select locations, Regal theaters play children’s movies for $1! (There are a ton of theaters in the PDX area and two in Vancouver participating!)
5. Hood River
Aside from being BEAUTIFUL, there are so many fun things to do in Hood River! From dozens of farms (where you can pick fresh fruit!), to bakeries and restaurants (and wineries!), to shops, to hiking, a cute little beach…This is one of our favorite day trips of the year. Hood River is the perfect staycation!
6. Beacon Rock
Nestled along the GORGEOUS Columbia Gorge, Beacon Rock is a fun hike for families. (There is also a little park with a walking trail for the faint of heart.) This may be the first year we attempt to take the two older kids up the rock!
7. Oaks Park
With TONS of summer specials, Oaks Park is a great place to spend a summer afternoon. We love the special Preschool Ride time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (for kids 6 and under only)! They are also offering specials on roller skating, and special deals Tuesday through Friday! My kids love Oaks Park, and this is a great “warm-up” for kids who have never been to a larger theme park.
If you are in the area, you NEED to check out Alderbrook Park! I fell in love with this place as a kid..(who wouldn’t love water fountains that dispense lemonade?!) It does cost $8 to get in, but that includes swimming, pedal boats, train rides, the maze, playground, and huge wooden pirate ship! You can pay extra for fishing as well.
The Pearson Air Museum (located next to historic Ft. Vancouver), is a great place to spend the afternoon with your little airplane enthusiast! Look at lots of great old planes from WWI and WWII, explore exhibits, and more! Kids 6 and under are also free! Adults are $7.
10. JJ Jump
With two area locations, JJ Jump is a great choice for a NW rainy summer day. This is a 6000 sq. ft. indoor inflatable arena, sure to bring hours of jumping fun! Check the website for open play hours at the location near you!
12. THE BEACH
I think I may need to write a whole post on the awesomeness that is Washington and Oregon’s amazing coast line! Head to one of the 10 longest beaches in the WORLD by visiting Washington’s Long Beach! While you’re there, say hello to Jake the Alligator Man, and ride the rides. Or, pop on over to Seaside and explore a great strip, the sea lion caves, ride the carousel, or rent a surrey! Explore gorgeous Cannon Beach (seen in The Goonies), visit the aquarium at Newport, or find fabulous shopping in Lincoln City! SO many options!!
Gotta love an ice cream cone the size of your head right? I have LOVED the cheese factory since childhood and my kids love it now! Sample a cheese curd, watch how the most delicious cheese on earth is made, and yes, have some fabulous Tillamook ice cream! Wisconsin doesn’t have anything on Oregon!
With TONS of fun going on through the library summer reading program, you can stay busy reading and learning all summer long! We plan on visiting at least five different branches this summer, along with filling out our summer reading game boards and catching some of the summer entertainment!
15. Top Burger/Crown Park
This is one of those little places that Guy Fieri needs to visit. Top Burger, located in Camas, Washington is THE best place for burgers, fries, and shakes! You must try their seasoned fries and a seasonal milkshake! Take your awesome food across the street to the park to eat and enjoy! This is worth the trip!
16. Lacamas Lake
This park is seriously GORGEOUS! Whether you want to pack up the jogging stroller and take a run, bike the trails, swim at the Pot Holes, or just enjoy the scenery, Lacamas Lake is a must for this summer!
17. Cottonwood Beach
You can head to the beach without the drive! Located in Washougal (where all the really cool bloggers live), you can find this nice stretch of beach along the gorgeous Columbia River. (As a bit of history, Lewis and Clark camped out at Cottonwood Beach for nearly a week!)
I loved OMSI as a child, and love sharing it with my own children now! Not only is OMSI one of the country’s top science museums with TONS of hands-on, interactive science displays and exhibits, it also boasts a planetarium and an OMNIMAX theater.
19. Jamison Square
We LOVE the Pearl District, and Jamison Square is one of the many reasons why! Your kids will love to dance and play in this incredible fountain! (And while you’re there, explore some of the great shops and local restaurants!) This is also located VERY close to a fabulous farmer’s market!
20. Fort Vancouver
Explore this historic Vancouver landmark with your kids this summer! (One of my favorite field trips as a child!) The fort re-enactors do a FABULOUS job and transport you to another time and place through live demonstrations, tours, and hands-on activities.
22. LadyBug Theater
The LadyBug Theater in Portland is designed JUST for kids! There are no seats, (so kids can be more comfortable and have some wiggle room!) and tickets are just $4! The Ladybug Theater wants to teach children theater etiquette and give kids a positive early theater experience! Many of their shows are also interactive! Call for reservations!
23. Multnomah Falls
Not only did my husband propose here, but Multnomah Falls has been offering my family and I a TON of fun for years! Hike up to the top or just to the bridge, enjoy some soft-serve, or just come and take a picture or two! This scenic stop along the gorge is well worth the drive!!
24. Playdate PDX
25. Big Al’s Bowling
Mark your calendars for the Vancouver Sausage Fest, September 7-9! I have only missed one or two in 30 years and look forward to this family classic every year! Enjoy rides, vendors, great entertainment, and of course, sausages!
28. Alpine Slides
This was seriously one of the scariest/most fun things I’ve ever done! I can’t wait to take my kids up to Mt. Hood’s Ski Bowl Alpine Slides! Ride a chair lift up and then slide a half a mile down! While you’re there you can check out the other attractions at the Adventure Park!
For everyone who likes to “rub it in” that they have In N’ Out, and we don’t….I’d like to say, “Forget In N’ Out, we have BURGERVILLE!” (And you don’t have to stand in line for an hour!) Burgerville uses fresh, seasonal NW ingredients, and is a must for summer!
30. Enchanted Forest
This little hidden gem found in Molalla is only open on Sundays from noon to 5pm, May-October. Come ride on miniature trains and indulge your little train enthusiast with a peek at amazing trains, free train rides, and a spot to picnic, all while learning about trains!
Take a peek at the Spruce Goose, check out incredible vintage planes, enjoy an amusement park type airplane ride, play on an incredible “space playground”, or head over to the Wings and Waves Waterpark! So much to do in McMinnville!
Splish and splash in the wave pool or zoom down one of three water slides! At just $5 for residents and $8 for non-residents, (with a special family rate on Sundays) you can’t find a better place around Portland to beat the heat!
Have FUN around town this summer! Can’t WAIT to see you out there!!