Create. Play. Travel. Creative Family Ideas and Pacific Northwest Family Lifestyle

Creative Family Ideas in the Pacific Northwest

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8 Budget-Friendly Pacific NW Family Travel Destinations

This summer we took a trip down the West Coast with our young family. We choose budget-friendly destinations that would be interesting and feasible for young kids to enjoy. We enjoyed forest hikes and picnic lunches, walked along fern-lined canyons and deserted beaches, and visited several gorgeous vineyards. Here are some of our favorite stops in Washington and Oregon that were fun, inexpensive, and memorable for us to visit with kids.

Ape Cave family hike in Washington - Mommy Scene

Ape Cave Hike

We had a lot of fun exploring the Ape Cave in Washington State and the Mount St. Helens lava tubes. You can choose from upper and lower passage hikes in Ape Cave, each with its own natural features. We made it as far as the big rock pile along the Ape Cave upper passage hike and our kids enjoyed wearing headlamps and walking through the cave’s pitch dark caverns. This underground hike is ideal for families with older kids because there are many places where you have to climb, scramble over piles of rock, or crawl along narrow cave passages. Bring flashlights and wear protective footwear.

Washington Mount St. Helens tree trunk lava tubes - Mommy Scene

Tree Trunk Lava Tubes

The Mount St. Helens lava tubes are found along the Trail of Two Forests and surrounded by boardwalks which create an easy walking path alongside huge tubes in the ground. These lava tubes were formed by tree trunks that were buried in lava from a past Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption and later rotted away, leaving tunnels under the rock. You can even climb down one lava tube and crawl underground a fair way to the exit; a fun adventure if you aren’t claustrophobic!

See our full Lava Tube & Ape Cave Family Adventure here »

RV Camping in the Oregon woods - Mommy Scene

Forested Camping Sites

Camping at picturesque forested camp sites with amenities is a great way to save money while traveling with kids. I would have a hard time tent camping in the woods with young children but we can totally swing a few nights stay at a forested park in our RV motor home. We bought the RV to make traveling with kids that much easier, so we can explore rivers and mountains and the kids can still sleep in their own beds at night. Even if we didn’t have an RV, a pretty camp site with bathrooms and shower access makes camping with kids a whole lot easier. You can also pick up a generously sized family tent (some even come with separate rooms) so kids can have their own space to nap during the day and everyone sleeps safe and snug during the night. We found many pretty and forested camping sites all the way down the West Coast.

It’s super easy to find camping locations using RV Trip Wizard!

Related Post: Best RV Trip Planning Resources »

RV Camping in the Oregon woods family travel - Mommy Scene

RV Trip to Emerson Vineyard family vacation - Mommy Scene

Family Owned Vineyards

During our trip planning we stumbled across a hospitality network called Harvest Hosts, a group of people who offer free overnight trailer parking at their vineyards for travelers. We visited two separate Harvest Host vineyards, each with beautiful grounds and walking paths for us to explore. Our favorite overnight vineyard stay was at Emerson Vineyards where we enjoyed a long family walk through the vineyard and watched a session of Goat Yoga. The kids had fun riding around on some push carts inside the spacious wine processing center while we sipped delicious Emerson wine and snacked on pistachios. Emerson Vineyards is a family owned business and the owners were very friendly; we enjoyed chatting with them about the ins and outs of grape harvesting and wine production.

Family walk through Emerson Vineyards, Oregon - Mommy Scene

We had the opportunity to try each of the Emerson Vineyards wines. My favorite is the Emerson Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley red wine featuring aromas of chocolate, cherry raspberry and lychee. Overall I love sweet red wines; I’m sipping some now as I write this!

Emerson Vineyards wine tasting in Oregon - Harvest Host RV Family Trip - Mommy Scene

The Enchanted Forest Storybook Attractions

We passed through Salem Oregon and stopped at The Enchanted Forest. Our kids loved the vintage storybook lane filled with animatronic storybook characters within fairy tale-inspired scenes. The whimsical attractions have hardly changed since my husband visited The Enchanted Forest as a child 20+ years ago. Our favorite attractions included the cave walk through of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs working in their treasure mine, the cleverly designed Crooked House and the Old Shoe slide (which the kids slid down on mats at least 8 times).

Related Post: Family Adventures with Joovy »

Enchanted Forest village in Oregon - Mommy Scene

Sliding down the Enchanted Forest shoe slide on the provided mats is super fun!

Enchanted Forest in Oregon boot slide - Mommy Scene

Crater Lake in Oregon

Our West Coast travels brought us to Crater Lake just in time for the Forth of July. We drove around the huge crystal-clear lake that is inside the crater of a volcano and stopped at several overlooks. The kids always like exploring new places and they were amazed to find snow around the lake in July! Crater Lake is a memorable and gorgeous place to visit and you can stop at many of the information booths to learn more about the creation and conservation of this volcanic landmark.

Crater Lake family travel destination in Oregon - Mommy Scene

Diamond Lake Resort

We also found a local Forth of July celebration at Diamond Lake Resort. It wasn’t too overcrowded and the live music and spectacular fireworks display from a barge in the lake was the perfect way to spend the holiday with our family!

Diamond Lake forth of July fireworks - Mommy Scene

The Diamond Lake Resort offers a variety of lakeside accommodations; vintage cabins, cabins for multiple guests, Jacuzzi suites and a gorgeous 5 bedroom retreat cabin. This picturesque small town lake setting offers easy access to Diamond Lake for swimming and boating beneath a majestic view of Mount Bailey.

Diamond Lake and Mount Bailey in Oregon - Mommy Scene

Rogue River Gorge Hike

We went on several kid-friendly hikes that were flat enough to take a stroller too! This easy hike took us alongside the Rogue River and spectacular river gorge with subterranean lava tubes and underground rapids. We camped right next to this trail which was easy for young kids, with plenty of railings along the trail and lots of scenic photo opps.

Rogue Gorge family hike in Oregon - Mommy Scene

Oregon Rogue Gorge family hike - Mommy Scene

Oregon Rogue Gorge and lava tube rapids - Mommy Scene

Water rushes down Rogue Gorge in Oregon and creates rapids as it flows over rocks and through several underground lava tubes.

Rogue Gorge and lava tube rapids - Oregon family trip - Mommy Scene

Next on our itinerary is California, where we hope to explore the rocky coastal beaches, visit some tide pools, and have lunch at our favorite fast food stop, In-N-Out!

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4 years ago

These all look awesome! How fun!

4 years ago

Love this so much ! SO helpful

wen budro
wen budro
4 years ago

That was very cool. Beautiful scenery and fun activities for the kids on a budget sounds awesome. Except for climbing into a lava tube……that’s my claustrophobia speaking. LOL

4 years ago

Beautiful! Looks like an amazing trip. I’m aching to travel again! And now I’m also thirsty for a nice glass of wine 😉

4 years ago

Love Crater Lake and Diamond Lake! Super tips!!

The Wordy Mom
The Wordy Mom
4 years ago

This really looks like an amazing vacation. So wonderful to see your kids immersed in such natural beauty.

4 years ago

This looks awesome. Great pics!

4 years ago

These would be amazing places to visit! The tree trunk lava tubes seem so neat! Also, the enchanted forest storybook attracting look so exciting – I bet the kids would love it!