Family vacations are a great way to spend quality time together. These Pacific Northwest family travel destinations promise memorable adventures, interesting experiences and lots of Instagram photo opportunities. We’ve experienced many of these gems of the Pacific Northwest with our own family!
(above) Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods, California
Explore the Olympic Peninsula in Washington
The Olympic Peninsula in Washington is a 3,600-square-mile stretch of beautiful coastline, majestic mountains and massive glaciers. Visitors to the Olympic Peninsula can choose from a variety of outdoor activities. Hike through the misty forests and soak in naturally heated pools. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort offers three mineral hot spring soaking pools and one freshwater pool.
Bogachiel State Park
The Olympic Peninsula is a prime location for camping and backpacking trips. Bogachiel State Park is a thickly forested 123-acre park on the banks of the Bogachiel River. Choose from 42 campsites nestled among rainforest growth and trees draped with moss.
Olympic Peninsula Beach Destinations
A hike to La Push is a great way to enjoy the coastal views of Olympic National Park. La Push is located just outside the Quileute Indian Reservation. Or you can plan a destination camping trip to Shi Shi Beach. Your family will enjoy beautiful hikes through the rainforest and walks along the beach. Overnight users will need a wilderness camping permit to experience this popular Pacific Northwest camping destination.
Epic Hiking & River Camping
Are you panning a backpacking trip? The Bailey Range Way Trail in Port Angeles, Washington is a bucket-list activity for experienced hikers. It’s known for endless panoramic views and epic backpacking trails along elevations of 4,000 to 6,000 feet. At lower elevation, the Lyre River Campground offers a peaceful spot to take in the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula.
photo credit: thedyrt.com
Must-See Olympic Peninsula Points of Interest
Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park is a glacially-carved lake not far from Marymere Falls. Families can enjoy the natural beauty by going on a day hike, playing in the lake and staying at a lakefront cabin. Lake Crescent ‘s clear, emerald colored waters are nearly 60 feet deep, perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing.
The hike to Marymere Falls in Olympic National Park is short but ends with a rewarding view of the magnificent waterfall that drops close to 90 feet into the pool below. The trail is eight-tenths of a mile long and surrounded by beautiful lush greenery that is characteristic of the Olympic National Forest area.
A stop by Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim is a fragrant outdoor experience. The Washington farm is home to magnificent fields of 15,000 lavender plants and more than 50 varieties. The fields are surrounded by lush gardens and ponds. You can visit the gift shop to purchase a variety of lavender products, or enjoy a novel treat of lavender ice cream or a lavender mocha coffee drink.
Take a Trip to Downtown Seattle
Downtown Seattle is another great destination for a memorable family weekend. You can browse local artistry and buy fresh flowers at Pikes Place Market. We stopped by the Original Starbucks coffee shop and took a photo by the famous Gum Wall. Downtown Seattle is known for its coffee, variety of cuisine and “foodie” holes in the wall. See our Seattle Trip highlights here »
The Space Needle
The Space Needle provides the perfect backdrop for a Seattle family vacation photo. Younger kids will enjoy stopping by the Seattle Artists At Play playground and exploring the Seattle Children’s Museum located in the Seattle Center.
Museum of Pop Culture
Older kids will enjoy visiting the Museum of Pop Culture, featuring props and costumes from iconic movies and an in-depth look into the world of fashion design. Explore the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit and discover what inspired this genre’s most magnificent creations. See the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat from The Wizard of Oz, weaponry from The Lord of the Rings and the battle headdress and staff used by the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Seattle Museum of Flight
The Seattle Museum of Flight is an excellent way to engage with the history of aviation and see historic airplane models up close. Kids can sit in fighter jet cockpits and wander through the spacious airplane exhibits. We appreciated learning details about the weaponry and gritty experiences of World War I and World War II. The exhibit provided an up-close view of the wars through many historical photographs. A family could easily spend an entire day walking around the Seattle Museum of Flight. You can also get lunch at the cafe and watch one of the IMAX presentations. The Museum of Flight is a great Pacific Northwest family trip destination. See our Seattle Museum of Flight highlights here!
Discover Tide Pool Treasures on the Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast has many great hiking trails and paved paths that are easily enjoyed by families of all ages. We’ve gone to the Oregon Coast on several trips and we’ve seen new things each time! If you thought the aquarium was cool, you will be delighted to explore natural tide pools up close. We discovered some colorful sea urchins and small crabs. If you’re lucky, you may spot a star fish hanging out in one of the shallow pools.
Thor’s Well & Heceta Head Lighthouse
Other coastal highlights near Florence, Oregon include Thors Well and Heceta Head Lighthouse. Thors Well is a natural rock formation that looks like a hole in the rock. At high tide, it appears to drain water from the ocean, creating massive sprays of water. You can go on a tour of Heceta Head Lighthouse that’s situated on a picturesque cliff by the sea. Visitors can see the light beams of the lighthouse tower up close, illuminated with the prism effect of the first order Fresnel lens.
Ride the Sand Dunes in Florence, Oregon
Off-road adventures await at the Oregon Coast Sand Dunes! We spent a few days during Spring Break camping by the dunes. A short ride across the sandy landscape took us straight to the beach. The warm spring weather was perfect for exploring the beach side bluffs and walking along the soft white sand. Big pieces of drift wood along the beach provided perfect places to rest and stare out at the ocean horizon.
The sand dunes were expansive and perfect for traversing in an off-road vehicle, RZR or ATV. We took our Polaris RZR 800, which is outfitted with seat belt harnesses for our kiddos, and set off across the dunes. It’s important to get your bearings of the terrain so you can easily find your way back to your campground. Overall, we had a memorable time and the kids enjoyed some easy off-roading.
Explore the Outdoors in Beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is a hidden gem in the Pacific Northwest with lots of lakes, great family hiking trails and many relaxing camping destinations. CDA Idaho is a popular place to go on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. Highlights include Tub’s Hill hiking trails that overlook Lake Coeur d’Alene, sandy lakeside beaches and meandering bike paths.
The Coeur d’Alene area has lots of parks with playgrounds, swing sets and splash pads for kids. The weekly Farmer’s Market and occasional art festivals allow visitors to enjoy the local culture of simple Pacific Northwest living. And of course, local coffee shops offer rich brews and specialized coffee drinks such as Java’s Mexican chocolate and cinnamon flavored “Bowl of Soul”.
Find Adventure along Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a scenic mountain road that spans 50 miles through the Rocky Mountains in Montana. This scenic route through Glacier National Park takes travelers near impressive glaciers, beautiful valleys, cascading waterfalls and towering mountains. Along the way you may even spot wildlife such as elk, bears and coyotes.
Discover Breathtaking Views along Highway 101
If you’re headed to California on a road trip, the Pacific Coast Highway is a memorable route to take. The scenic destinations along US Highway 101 are also great spots for day trips. We recommend stopping at the beach, hiking along Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods and exploring Redwood National Park.
Fern Canyon is an adventurous travel destination and enjoyable even for families with young kids. We took our three young children on this memorable canyon hike. Beautiful fern-lined walls and dramatic canyon views are abundant around every turn. The streams are shallow and easy to navigate but it’s helpful to wear water shoes. Fallen trees and winding trails offer plenty of diverse hiking paths to explore. Our kids thought this hiking experience was a blast! We completed our hike down Fern Canyon and back in about 2 hours. We even saw some elk along the way!
The California Redwoods
Redwood National Park has many trails that are easy to hike and explore. Along the walking paths you can crawl through hollow trees and climb over boulders. Most of the trees are impressively big, but some of the older redwoods are absolutely huge! It is very cool to see the amazing scale of the California Redwoods in person, especially for kids.
So there you have it! Whether you travel to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana or California, you are sure to discover adventures along the way. Which Pacific Northwest family destination will you explore first?
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, DIY projects, photography, homeschooling my kids, traveling, and serving people. I’ve previously worked as a graphic designer, web designer, journalist and barista. I started Create. Play. Travel. to share some of our creative projects and family adventures. I hope you enjoy the highlights of our creative family life!