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It may be hard to believe, but summer is just right around the corner and Oregon’s gorgeous beaches are about to become hot spots for family fun. While a quick day trip to the beach is possible, why not make a weekend of it. An overnight trip to the beach doesn’t require booking expensive hotel rooms. Camping next to the ocean is not only possible…it’s epic! We’ve rounded up the best coastal campsites near Portland, from north to south. These spots are chock full of beaches, hikes, freshwater lakes and sand dunes, and are all worthy locations to pitch your tents anytime. Read on to find out more.

Fort Stevens

Located near Astoria, Oregon, this huge campground is one of the best family friendly spots around. The campsite is chock full of activities for history lovers, nature buffs, or recreation-seekers, not to mention being right near the beach. You can tour a real military installation and hear it’s history, swim in the ocean or nearby freshwater lakes, check out an actual shipwreck, or ride nine miles of paved trails (and hike 6 other miles). You’ll need to stay all week! Campsite options include hookup sites, campsites, cabins and yurts! There’s something available for every family. Pricing varies according to site type and location. Booking in advance is highly recommended.

Distance from Portland: about 2 hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Nehalem Bay State Park

Just outside of Tillamook, located on a 4-mile sand spit between the Pacific Ocean and Nehalem Bay, this campground has a whopping 265 tent sites, situated in a grove of shore pine. Stroll over the dunes to the beach for a day of playing in the surf or hunting for agates, shells, and sometimes glass floats. Other activities include crabbing, clamming, or kayaking on the calm bay. Because of the nearby Neahkanie Mountain and the way the winds blow, Nehalem Bay and the town of Manzanita get thirty-five to forty more days of sun per year than other parts of the coast. Booking in advance is highly recommended. 

Distance from Portland: 1 hour 45 min
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Cape Lookout State Park

With over 170 tent sites, 38 full hook ups and deluxe yurt and cabin rentals, this locations is a dream beach camping site option. Sprawled between the sandy dunes and dense forest, this campsite has something for everyone. The beach is easily walkable from all sites, making a whole day on the sand easy and fun. For those that want more of a challenge, tackle the nearby Cape Lookout Hike that takes you to a spit of land that’s one of the best places for whale watching in the state. The 5 mile round trip hike is relatively easy and family-friendly, just be aware that there are some steep ledges. Shorter nature walks are around, as well.

Distance from Portland: 1 hour 45 minutes
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Devil’s Lake Campground

This campsite is located in the middle of Lincoln City, at the mouth of the D River making it the perfect base camp for exploring Lincoln City’s offerings as well as the city’s beaches. Along with providing easy access to the beach towns’ amenities, this campsite is the perfect spot for finding summertime fun. Kayaking on the lake is one of the most popular activities here, with the chance to view wildlife like herons, loons, or elk. And don’t worry– the beach is a mere 10 minute walk away, so you’re kids can still get sand in all the wrong places.

Distance from Portland: about 2 hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Alternative:

South Beach State Park for better beach access, and kayaking trips up the nearby Beaver Creek estuary.

Distance from Portland: 2 1/2 hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Beverly Beach State Park

One of the state’s biggest and most beautiful campground, this site is nestled in a forest between some of the most dramatic sights on the Oregon Coast, Yaquina Head and Otter Rock/Devil’s Punchbowl. The campground is full service, with a visitor center selling firewood and souvenirs, a playground, and all the amenities. Sites are tucked back in the shelter of the coastal forest, and a short walk along Spencer Creek takes you under Highway 101 and directly onto 5 miles of beautiful beach. If you’re still in need of more to do, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is nearby, too! 

Note: Yurts require reservations.

Distance from Portland: 2 ½ hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

This epic coastal camping spot is located near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Small and charming, your family can check out the lighthouse and and take in the gorgeous views. When you’ve gotten your fill of lighthouse adventures, head to the nearby Lake Marie and enjoy fishing, swimming and boating. You can camp in a tent, RV, yurt or a cabin!

Distance from Portland 3½ hours
Online: stateparks.oregon.gov

Jessie M. Honeyman State Park

The second largest campground on the coast with 350 sites, these sites are for dune hunters and lake riders. Tucked in the dunes three miles south of the city of Florence and two miles from the ocean, make sure to bring your sandboards for some wild rides, or launch your canoe onto the freshwater lakes to explore. This place gets busy in the summer and trekking across the dunes to the beach is discouraged, but with plenty of trails to hike and lakes to swim in, you’ll never be bored.

Distance from Portland: 3 ½ hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Alternative:

If you’ve got your heart set on the Pacific, try the quieter Carl G Washburne State Park for spacious sites in old-growth forest. Trails lead to the beach, nature viewpoints, and Heceta Head lighthouse. You must reserve all of these sights.

Distance from Portland: 3 hours 10 minutes
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Eel Creek Campground

Located within a non-motorized section of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, this quiet campground has secluded sites and a peaceful vibe. Explore the nearby trails and the scenic dunes as you hike to the beach, or head out to nearby Eel Lake, or Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.

Distance from Portland: 3 ½ hours
Online: fs.usda.gov/

Champoeg Park

Spending your days and nights playing and sleeping alongside the Willamette River is dreamy and Champing Park makes the perfect base camp for your outdoor adventurers. This park was the site of Oregon’s first provisional government formed in 1843. It features a visitor center, Newell House, and the Pioneer Mothers Log Cabin museum to explore the Oregon pioneer life. There’s even a four-mile bike trail your young bikers will love! The campsite features showers and flush toilets.

Distance from Portland: Approximately 30 minutes
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Wright’s Campground

Located near the famous Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, wright’s is a family-owned and family oriented campground. I mean, who wouldn’t want to camp out where The Goonies movie was filmed? This campground only allows tents and has 22 camping sites. The campground offers a comfortable outdoor experience as they provide showers, water and a laundry site! Everything a family could dream of. 

Distance from Portland.  Approximately 1.5 from Portland
Online: wrightsforcamping.com

—Annette Benedetti

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Portland is gearing up for some serious summer fun. To set the mood, it’s queueing up some iconic events and festivals. From the beloved Rose City Fair to farm festivities to Stars on Ice, your crew will have a hard time decided what to do. For all the Portland-y details, continue reading below.

CityFair

Considered the “hub” of the annual Portland Rose Festival, CityFair fills Waterfront Park with carnival rides, concerts, food and fireworks for multiple weekends during the festival. Event Details.

Harry Potter And the Order of the Phoenix Concert

Get ready to join Dumbledore’s Army™. When Professor Umbridge™ takes over Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, what else can Harry do to resist her terrible rule? Find out in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™ in Concert. Event Details.

Holi Spring Festival at Topaz Farm

DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid and Topaz Farm present HOLI Spring Festival, a celebration of color on Sauvie Island. Leading the celebration will be DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid, who will host a Bollywood and Bhangra dance party in the grass. Expect to get messy as Holi is celebrated by throwing bright-colored powder on each other. Wearing white or old clothes is recommended. No outside colors are allowed. This event is Portland’s first to feature only-organic powder, direct from India, made from flowers, seeds and vegetables. Each paid entrance includes a packet of colors (while supplies last) and a portion of the festival proceeds will benefit farmers in India. Event Details.

Multnomah County Fair

The Multnomah County Fair will take place May 28-30, 2022 at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon.   The fair features three full days of family fun including competitive exhibits, musical and stage performances, a car show, pioneer village, as well as small animal activities. In addition, to all the fair activities, visitors can also enjoy the awesome amusement rides at Oaks Amusement Park plus all the delicious fair foods that you can imagine. Event Details.

Celebrate Our Stories: AANHPI Heritage

Celebrate AANHPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander) Heritage Month at Lan Su! Joining forces with more than 20 Portland’d AANHPI organizations, performers, and artists, you explore the history, traditions, and arts that make up the cultural tapestry of AANHPI. Event Details.

Stars on Ice

Stars on Ice wants to put you front and center to see the best of the U.S. Figure Skating team straight from the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, China! The 2022 Stars on Ice tour will showcase the top medal contenders including reigning World and U.S. National Champion Nathan Chen, U.S. Champions Alysa Liu, Jason Brown, Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock & Evan Bates, World Medalist Vincent Zhou, plus Olympic Medalist Mirai Nagasu and more! Event Details.

The 7th Vanport Mosaic Festival

Vanport, the largest WWII federal housing project in the United States and once Oregon’s second-largest city, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. With performances, film screenings, exhibitions, tours, and conversations, the Vanport Mosaic Festival commemorates the city’s founding through an activist, community-minded lens. Event Details.

Hoyte Arboretum

Take a stroll in nature, not too far from the city center! The Hoyt Arboretum, founded in 1928, has served as the perfect weekend getaway for nearly a hundred years. Whether you and the family are taking the beloved dog for a stroll, or planning a picnic, or simply out to enjoy nice weather, the Hoyt Arboretum is the right play to go. Event Details.

Portland Kids Weekend Events: May 20-22

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Spring has been slow to warm up, but regardless of the temperature outside, there are tons of artsy indoor and outdoor family activities and events in Portland. From drag queen bingo to historical hikes and festivals, there’s a little something to keep everyone in your family entertained. Read on to find out more.

Celebrate Our Stories: AANHPI Heritage

Celebrate AANHPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander) Heritage Month at Lan Su! Joining forces with more than 20 Portland’d AANHPI organizations, performers, and artists, you explore the history, traditions, and arts that make up the cultural tapestry of AANHPI. Event Details.

Mt Tabor Art Walk

36 artists will be showing their work at 21 locations throughout the Mt Tabor neighborhood of Portland, OR. Take your family to see a wide variety of amazing, high-quality artwork for sale in a small area; you can walk from place to place! Bring your family and friends and don’t miss it. Event Details.

Roller Rally

Roller Rally is our annual fundraiser that supports the Junior Roller Derby program by way of gear, scholarships, travel costs and more. The event is an epic day of fair-style games (think: tee-shirt making, face painting, dunk tank, corn hole, ring toss and tons of other fun)! Admission is free, with tickets for sale to participate in games and activities. Event Details.

Hoyt to Pittock Mansion Kids Hike

Take your family on this hour and a half to two-hour hike to the Mansion and back to Hoyt Arboretum. It’s a wonderful way to get out in nature while enjoying the best that Portland has to offer. Event Details.

All Ages Drag Bingo With Poison Waters

Hotel Vance is pleased to announce a fun all ages drag queen bingo event! A perfect way to start your weekend off right with the kids, a date, or just yourself! Prizes will include staycation packages at Hotel Vance, gift cards, and a few other surprises Event Details.

The 7th Vanport Mosaic Festival

Vanport, the largest WWII federal housing project in the United States and once Oregon’s second-largest city, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. With performances, film screenings, exhibitions, tours, and conversations, the Vanport Mosaic Festival commemorates the city’s founding through an activist, community-minded lens. Event Details.

The World of Leonardo Da Vinci

Now, for the first time ever in the Pacific Northwest, two original Leonardo da Vinci folios from the 500-year-old Codex Atlanticus along with over three dozen reconstructions of Leonardo’s extraordinary machines are brought together for The World of Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at OMSI. Event Details.

LAST STOP on MARKET STREET

CJ and his Nana journey through familiar territory: their own neighborhood. CJ would rather be anywhere else, but from their seats on the Number 5 bus, Nana helps CJ realize that looks can be deceiving, everyone has a story to share, and that beauty can be found anywhere…if you know how to look for it. A blend of hip-hop, Motown, gospel, and rap, this musical will have you off your seat and on your feet all the way to the last stop! Event Details.

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From the weird to the wonderful local families looking for adventure are bound to find it in Portland (and nearby). So, when it comes time to planning your family vacation, you may just decide you want to a staycation, especially after you discover what the local Airbnbs have to offer. From treehouses to hobbit holes, whether you are planning a staycation or bringing your loved ones to the area for a visit, you are going to want to book one of these hot spots. Read on for our top Portland Airbnb picks.

 

Eagle's Nest Treehouse—Portland

Only a 10 minute drive from Downtown Portland, this Airbnb is the stuff dreams are made of. Let the kid in you come and play along with your own kids in this real treehouse held up by four separate trees! Play and sleep 18 feet up in the air and then zip line down to the ground. Or, take a giant soak in the "hot tub," with no chemicals so you don't have to rinse off getting in. A magical stroll through the woods leads to the suspension bridge up in the air. And, there's even a large hammock to relax in. 

Sleeps: 6

Online: Airbnb

Magic Barn—Portland

For a truly magical Portland experience, the Magic Barn (circa 1936) was a former sculpture studio. It was restored with old growth barn wood, and upcycled furnishings. It now has a kitchen, claw foot bath, baby amenities, and a jaw dropping sculpture garden with giant whimsical pieces. Centrally located in one of Portland's most desirable areas--3 blocks to SE Hawthorne and Division's charming restaurant and boutique district--there's plenty to do within walking distance. A stay in this artistic space space is sure to ignite the imaginations of both young and old. If you have a large party, you can also book the attached magical house.

For the kids:

Upon request, a portable crib, baby bath, and high chair are available. The sculpture garden is a space of wonders for kiddos to enjoy.

Online: AirBNB.com

photo: AirBnB

Hobbit Hole on Hawthorne—Portland

Cozy up in this work of art that is designed to make you and the kids feel like you are part of the Hobbit's epic adventures. From the furniture to the walls and ceilings this handcrafted, sustainable abode is inspired by the Lord of the Rings and is guaranteed to infuse your vacation with magic. It's made from reclaimed clay, tree roots, and you will discover reclaimed materials throughout the entire space. Don't worry, you won't go completely without a real-world experience. The space includes a kitchenette, central heating, an a lovely bathroom with all the toiletries. 

For the Kids

Staying in a Hobbit house will thrill any child, but it's extra neat that the owners included a high chair, Pack n' Play, children's toys and books, outlet covers and children's dinnerware. There's also a beautiful little yard for youngsters to enjoy.

Sleeps: 4

Online:
 airbnb.com/rooms/10752148

photo: AirBnB

Wine Country TreeHouse & Herbal Farm—Newberg

Just 40 minutes from Portland, this treehouse escape was built by the master tree builder Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's TreeHouse Master. Get ready to enjoy stunning hillside views and access to over 300 area wineries. Eat in with the onsite kitchen available for making home-cooked meals, or head to the nearby town of Dear Haven (just 30 miles away) for a meal and to peruse local shops. Breakfast is provided, so you can take every morning as slow as you like.

And while this is an ideal destination for adults, there's plenty to keep the kids entertained.

For the Kids
Located on a small farm with no televisions onsite to take away from the charm, there's lots of room for youngsters to explore. This site offers a truly unplugged experience for families looking to bond in nature. Note: This location is not appropriate for children 2 and under.

Sleeps: 5

Online: airbnb.com/rooms/20232443

photo: AirBnB

Beautiful, Magical Treahouse—Mt. Hood

For a real mountain experience rent this luxury treehouse. This magical abode is suspended between three large fir trees on 20 acres of property at the base of Mt. Hood. It boasts four beds, so everyone has a enough space and comes with a composting toilet, mini-fridge, and microwave for a true glamping experience. There is a swirling, spiral staircase that inspires wonder as you ascend to your family suite where you will find about 200 square feet of space with a sleeping loft. The kids won't want to leave once they are settled in. And with a beautiful seating area below the treehouse, mom and dad might not want to either.

For the Kids
There is a one acre pond with kayaks and a nearby zipline for plenty of adventure and busy little (and big) bodies. For the quieter set there is a beautiful garden and a row boat to float around in. Onsite hiking, disc golf, horseshoes, basket ball and a pendulum swing ensure everyone has something to do.

Sleeps: 4

Online: airbnb.com/rooms/8372268

photo: AirBnB

Hamilton House—Portland

Don't worry about packing anything but the clothes you intend to wear. This house is your temporary home and it's dedication to kid-friendliness goes above and beyond. With three bedrooms and six beds you can bring the whole crew and some of the kids' friends along as well. You'll save money staying in to eat because the gorgeous gourmet kitchen makes cooking feel a whole lot more fun than when you are at home! The two bathrooms come fully stocked so don't worry about bringing shampoo or soap, just show up and relax. The house has three smart televisions, an array of DVDs and VHS movies as well as cable for some evening entertainment. And there is plenty of yard space for little legs that need room to run. 

For the Kids
It's the little things that make a whole lot of difference when you are traveling with your kiddos. We love the fun bunk bed set up along with kiddie extras like the Pack n' Play, changing table, stroller and safety locks on drawers with dangerous items. There's also a range of games and toys to keep even the youngest entertained so mom and dad can relax.

Sleeps: 10

Online: airbnb.com/rooms/16572315

The Woodlands Cabin—Sandy, OR

The Woodlands House sits on five acres of wooded property. It is a beautiful 3 bedroom home (plus kids room) with two outdoor decks surrounded by beautiful trees. It's perfect for getaways or a trip to the mountains, as it's a 25 min drive from Mount hood skiing, 15 minutes from hikes and only 45 min from PDX.

The large deck off the main level that overlooks a trickling stream, is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch deer come to the water for a drink. The deck also features a large 6 person hot tub, that is perfect to soak your bones after a day of skiing or hiking.

Sleeps: 7
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/21783133

Waterfront Cabin—Washougal, WA

This secluded, riverfront cabin sits on a full wooded acre with private access to the Washougal River. Prepare dinner in the well-appointed kitchen and then lounge by the wood stove. This home is located just 40 miles northeast of Portland and only 12 miles from downtown Washougal. The surrounding forest is filled with native northwestern plants and old-growth trees, some of which are more than 300 years old. A wide variety of outdoor activities are possible here, yet the setting itself is secluded and free from the noise and distractions of everyday life.

Sleeps: 7
Cost: $187/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/28839315

—Annette Benedetti

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This weekend is all about moms. Whether the special mom in your life loves to go to the theater, indulge in delectable bites or cruise around Portland’s waterways, there’s something fun and exciting to do with her (or dad…while you give dear mom a break)! Gather the kids and get ready to celebrate. We’ve got all of the best family events and outings rounded up for you below.

 

Miss Delta Mother’s Day Brunch

Enjoy a little southern comfort food from this cool joint. Brunch and dinner include beloved dishes like biscuits and gravy, a southern stack featuring a buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak, catfish, meatloaf…and don’t forget a side of fried pickles. There’s even a kid’s menu for young ones who like to keep it simple. They’ll appreciate the grilled cheese and cheese burger. Event Details.

Twelfth Night

For the first time, the YPs at OCT take on the challenge of classical Shakespeare in a 90-minute adaptation of one of his most famous comedies! Don’t miss this romantic and raucous tale of twins separated, mistaken identities, and complicated love triangles… all performed by only six actors! Event Details.

Community Art Day

CREATE Community is bringing people together to connect and create at Community Art Day! Community Art Day is a free public event. Collaborative, solo and kid project spaces! Learn a new skill and create something for yourself and / or your sweetie in Teela Golden’s Heartfelt(ing) workshop! Event Details.

Last Stop on Market Street

CJ and his Nana journey through familiar territory: their own neighborhood. CJ would rather be anywhere else, but from their seats on the Number 5 bus, Nana helps CJ realize that looks can be deceiving, everyone has a story to share, and that beauty can be found anywhere…if you know how to look for it. Event Details.

Hollywood Farmer’s Market

Year-round on Saturdays, the Hollywood Farmers Markets hosts as many as 50 vendors, bringing you the best of the region’s agricultural bounty! In addition to all the great foods, you can come to HFM and enjoy a series of events and activities throughout the season. Event Details.

PSU Farmers Market

The campus of Portland State University on the South Park Blocks provides a picturesque backdrop for Portland Farmers Market’s year-round flagship market. Farmers and artisan food producers fill 140 stall spaces with the bounty of our region. Event Details.

Portland Spirit Mother’s Day Cruise

Sweep mom off her feet this Mother’s Day with a brunch or dinner cruise. Enjoy delicious food on board, take in the beautiful views and make memories that mom will treasure forever. Choose from Brunch or Dinner Cruises on the Portland Spirit or Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. Make it a day she will never forget. The brunch cruise includes a 2-hour cruise, our delicious Northwest brunch, dessert, champagne, orange juice, sparkling cider, coffee, hot tea, narration on outer decks, live piano and service gratuity. Dinner Includes a 2.5-hour cruise with dazzling river views of the skyline, fresh baked bread, salad, choice of entrée selected on board, house dessert, private candlelit table and live piano. Event Details.

Kids Skate

The weekend starts with family fun at a special session just for kids 10 and younger and their families to experience our Roller Rink at their own pace! Session admission includes a 15-minute group lesson taught by our USA Roller Sports certified instructors concentrating on getting new skaters rolling and comfortable on their skates.

Mother’s Day Activities She’ll Love

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Your Pacific Northwest-y mom deserves to be celebrated proper on Mother’s Day. Fortunately Portland has an abundance of ways to make Mother’s Day special. From delectable brunches to gorgeous hikes and scenic spots to nibble and play, we’ve rounded up all the best things to do with mom on her special day. Read on to discover what we came up with for you.

Mother’s Day Events

Miss Delta
Enjoy a little southern comfort food from this cool joint. Brunch and dinner include beloved dishes like biscuits and gravy, a southern stack featuring a buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak, catfish, meatloaf…and don’t forget a side of fried pickles. There’s even a kid’s menu for young ones who like to keep it simple. They’ll appreciate the grilled cheese and cheese burger.

3950 N Mississippi Ave
Online: Event Details

Portland Spirit Mother’s Day Cruise

Sweep mom off her feet this Mother’s Day with a brunch or dinner cruise. Enjoy delicious food on board, take in the beautiful views and make memories that mom will treasure forever.
Choose from Brunch or Dinner Cruises on the Portland Spirit or Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. Make it a day she will never forget. The brunch cruise includes a 2-hour cruise, our delicious Northwest brunch, dessert, champagne, orange juice, sparkling cider, coffee, hot tea, narration on outer decks, live piano and service gratuity. Dinner Includes a 2.5-hour cruise with dazzling river views of the skyline, fresh baked bread, salad, choice of entrée selected on board, house dessert, private candlelit table and live piano.

Online: Event Details

Mother’s Day Brunch at Abbey Farm

Treat your mom to a delicious Mother’s Day Brunch. Join Abbey Road Farm, for a gourmet, multi-course brunch with Chef Will Preisch. The ticket price includes a meal, a welcome glass of bubbles, coffee, tea, juice and a special surprise for Mom. Additional wine is available for purchase.

Online: Event Details.

photo iStock

Mother’s Day Hikes

Get mom out in nature with one of this beautiful spring hikes.

Wapato Greenway, Sauvie Island
One of Portland’s favorite playgrounds is Sauvie’s Island, full of berry picking and beach-going in summer and pumpkin patches in fall. Early spring might be too soon for berries, but you’ll find a great hike at Wapato Greenway, which features a wetland lake, meadows, grassland, and oak trees. Kids will love hunting for snakes (harmless garter varieties!), frogs, ducks, and more on the trails. The loop around the pond is 2.2 miles total and is great for kids.

18846 N.W. Sauvie Island Road
Portland, OR
Online: oregonhikers.org

Powell Butte
Hike around a giant extinct volcano at this park in the city limits! Powell Butte is a beautiful place for a hike, with wooded paths, meadows, and perfect views of surrounding peaks on clear days. Starting at the small visitor center kiosk it’s an easy trek to the top on the paved path. There you’ll find a viewing platform pointing out the nine different mountains encircling you, including Mount Jefferson, Adams, St. Helens, and even Rainier. From there, you can follow the hiking trails around the back of the park into the forests or turn around and wind through the grassy meadows instead. The summit is a 0.7 mile hike, and the whole loop is about 2.9 miles. Spring sees wildflowers galore on the hills, and with them comes the buzz of bees and flutter of butterflies.

16160 Powell Blvd.
Portland, OR
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Hoyt Arboretum Trails
Try to count how many different trees you can find in Hoyt Arboretum, we dare you! With 2300 species and over 12 miles of trails, it’s quite the challenge. Whether you can count that high or not, you’ll find plenty of easy hikes on the hills near the Oregon Zoo and Children’s Museum. There’s something for every time of year– in spring, find the 0.3 mile Magnolia Trail between Wildwood and Oak Trails for a great view of the flowering trees. There’s also cherry blossoms, dogwood flowers, and Japanese snow-bells. Don’t forget to look down for early trilliums!

Start your visit in the parking lot (it’s a pay lot, avoid the hunt and cost by taking the Max or even biking), then head to the trails. The visitor’s center is closed while Shelter in Place rules are enacted.

4000 SW Fairview Blvd.
Portland, OR
Online: hoytarboretum.org

Find more hikes here.

Mother’s Day Picnic

Take mom out for a picnic breakfast, lunch or dinner. Portland has an abundance of gorgeous green spaces perfect for celebrating mom. Try one of these.

Forest Park
One of the largest urban forests in the U.S., Forest Park has over 5,200 acres for you picnic in. Mom and the little ones can stretch their legs. Head up the hill on Firelane #13. It’s a bit of a trek (~2 miles), but worth it to enjoy a beautiful vista of the Willamette River from your own private, hilltop picnic table. If you have older kids who think they are over “the picnic thing”, challenge them to eat their lunch among the ghosts in the spooky Witch’s Castle. Or, take your wicker basket up to the Pittock Mansion and go on a trek back in time. Built in 1914, it sits on a rise with an incredible view of the city. You can spread your blanket on their broad lawn anytime. Free admission, and kid friendly!

Where: NW 29th Ave. & Upshur St. to Newberry Rd.
Online: forestparkconservancy.org, pittockmansion.org

Washington Park
Portland is a wealthy city when it comes to parks, so there are plenty to choose from for your al fresco dining pleasure. Parks and Rec even has a handy park finder tool on their website. But, no matter how many little boxes you check, you won’t find a park with more options than Washington Park; even when it comes to picnic spots! Tucked between Hwy 26 and West Burnside, Washington Park offers enough interesting picnic spots to keep you “eating out” all summer. If your kids want to get close to wild animals, check out the Oregon Zoo. Settle down in the shade at Hoyt Arboretum for a peaceful meal, while your kids frolic amongst the Dawn Redwoods. Or, go ahead and smell the roses at the International Rose Test Garden.

Where: 4001 Southwest Canyon Rd..
Online: explorewashingtonpark.org.

Rocky Butte Park
This local treasure is considered a bit of a hidden gem and offers beautiful views of the city. Located along Interstate 205, Rocky butte can be scaled by car on a road winds its way about a mile uphill. Joseph Wood Hill Park is located at the very top. This park, is a perfect place to perch and enjoy bites while taking in the sites but getting to it is half the fun as the ride offers beautiful views and a trip through a historic tunnel that will thrill the younger set.

Once you arrive at the top, the park is made up of 2.38 acres of flat park area that is home to rock walls and beautiful historic lamp posts. The western side of the park provides views to downtown Portland, and  on a clear day you can see St. Johns Bridge and the West Hills. On the Northwest side, you and your little picnickers can see Portland International Airport and enjoy the air show as the planes take off and land right in front of you. And to the East, you can see the stunning Cascade Mountain Range.

This sweet spot gives you the option of a different dining experience every time you visit. Try to visit on a clear day for best views, because there is plenty to view as far as the eye can see, while you eat.

Where: NE Rocky Butte Rd
Online: portlandoregon.gov.

For more picnic spots that are perfect for Mother’s Day, check out this roundup.

—Annette Benedetti

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Spring is here and Portland families are ready to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine and blooms. Having fun with your kiddos doesn’t have to break the bank. There are an abundance of activities that are downright affordable for families looking for outings that get them close to nature, offer hands-on education or simply offer a change of scenery. Read on for some of our best ideas.

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Head to a Park
Portland has no shortage of parks, and it’s always a treat to visit your neighborhood green space. But why not shake things up sometimes and visit a park in a different neighborhood? Climb over logs at Westmoreland Park’s nature play space, check out the fountain at Peninsula Park or enjoy the universally-accessible equipment at one of Portland’s all-inclusive playgrounds. Set a family challenge to visit a new Portland park each weekend this summer. You can find all of Portland’s parks at the Portland Parks and Recreation website. Then pack some snacks and head outdoors!.

Get Wild at the Zoo Now that the zoo has reopened, it is time to get reacquainted with with your favorite animal friends! Take advantage of the second Tuesday of each month, when admission to the zoo is only $5. You can visit the zoo’s new education center before scoping out your little one’s favorite animals. From porcupines to pythons and cheetahs to chimpanzees, there’s enough to keep your whole group occupied and exploring for hours. (Note: Discount rates currently discontinued due to COVID)

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
503-226-1561
Online: oregonzoo.org

Science and Submarines at OMSI
From the tiniest tots to the grandparents and every age in-between, there’s something fascinating for everyone at the hands-on interactive exhibits at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Visit the Physics Lab, explore the Science Playground or hop aboard the USS Blueback Submarine. On the first Sunday of every month, admission at OMSI is just $2, and Submarine tours, Planetarium shows and the theater are just $5 per person. (Note: Discount rates currently discontinued due to COVID)

OMSI
1945 SE Water Ave.
503-797-4000
Online: omsi.edu

Browse Some Art
Kids 17 and under are always free at the Portland Art Museum, where families can get inspired in the enormous galleries full of art. Let kids take the lead by chatting about the colors and shapes they see, or which pieces they particularly like. Feeling more adventurous? Check out some of the artwork online together before you go, and then make a scavenger hunt for kids to find the pieces they recognize! For adults, the museum offers free admission every first Thursday from 5 -8 p.m. You can also check out the museum on Friday evenings, when admission is just $5 after 5 p.m. The museum also participates in the Blue Star Museums Program, which offers free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families. (Note: Discount rates currently discontinued due to COVID)

Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave.
503-226-2811
Online: portlandartmuseum.org

Catch a Flick
At McMenamin’s Kennedy School, families can enjoy second-run movies while relaxing on comfy couches and snacking on pizza, burgers and salads from the menu, along with wine, beer and ciders for those over 21. (And don’t forget the popcorn and candy!) Movie tickets are $4/adult, and just $2 for age 11 & under.

McMenamins Kennedy School Theater
5736 NE 33rd Ave.
503-249-3983
Online: mcmenamins.com/kennedy-school/kennedy-school-theater

Head to an Indoor Play Space
At Playdate PDX’s spacious indoor play space, kids can climb through a three level play structure, crawl through tunnels, shoot ball cannons, and play games on an interactive dance floor. On Mondays after 5 p.m., admission is free! You can also get free admission on the last Wednesday of every month with two canned goods per child. Along with the massive play area, Playdate PDX also has a designated toddler area for smaller explorers, as well a full menu for dining. Kids will love mixing and matching items to create the perfect Kids Meal ($7), while parents can enjoy paninis, salads, wraps, beer and wine. (Note: Discount rates currently discontinued due to COVID)

Playdate PDX
1434 NW 17th Ave.
503-227-7529
Online: playdatepdx.com

Annette Benedetti

Sled or Tube at White River Sno-Park

Pick a spot, any spot, on this unregulated hill between Mt Hood Meadows and Timberline, about a half mile uphill from the parking lot. It’s free and offers a variety of terrain, but be sure to choose a spot well away from the river, and watch for exposed rocks when snow is low. With beautiful views of Mt. Hood, it’s also a popular destination for snowshoeing. Get there early on snowy weekends to grab a parking spot.

Free, Sno Park Pass required. 
Oregon Highway 35 approximately 4 miles north of US Highway 26.
Online: fs.usda.gov/

Horse Around
Ever noticed the tiny toy horses tethered to metal rings on Portland streets? Welcome to the Portland Horse Project! While these rings were once used to hold real horses and horse-drawn vehicles as far back as the 1900s, they now are adorned with toy equines of all shapes and sizes. Your little sidekicks will love exploring the city for a glimpse of a horse, or adding one of their own to an empty ring. (Plus, it’s a great way to recycle some of those old horse toys!) You can upload your own horse photos on Facebook and tag them on Instagram with #PortlandHorseProject. 

All Aboard!
If you’ve got little train lovers, be sure to make a stop at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Railroad enthusiasts can check out historic trains and browse the latest exhibit. Admission is always free, although donations are accepted and appreciated. The center is open Thursday- Sunday from 1-5 p.m. 

Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Ave.
503-233-1156
Online: orhf.org

Learn Fire Safety (Currently Closed)
At the Historic Belmont Firehouse, families can explore hands-on exhibits, stories and history while learning fire and safety education. Kids will love checking out the fire pole and the emergency response simulator, as well as all of the firefighting tools and equipment. Every Wednesday is Open House, and families are welcome to come and visit free from 9 a.m.- 3p.m. The firehouse also offers Safety Saturdays on the 2nd Saturday of each month. Visits and tours at other times must be scheduled in advance.

Historic Belmont Firehouse
900 SE 35th Ave.
503-823-3741
Online: friendsofportlandfire.org/belmont-learning-center

Brush up on History
For history buffs, the Oregon Historical Society awaits you. Located downtown and always free for Multnomah County residents (with proof of residency), the museum houses a variety of exhibits designed to bring Oregon's history to life. The permanent History Hub exhibit, with content that spans K-12 with a focus on 4th-8th graders, delves into the topic of diversity, with hands-on activities and displays.

Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave.
503-222-1741
Online: ohs.org

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Take a Hike!
Pack up some snacks and water, slick on the sunscreen and head out for a glorious hike on one of the many trails around Portland! Younger kids might enjoy adventuring around Hoyt Arboretum, which has a variety of walks and trails, including a 1-mile paved path that is suitable for strollers. Tryon Creek State Natural Area has plenty of nature trails, and activity sheets that families can print online and take with them to enhance the experience. Kids will also love trying the scavenger hunt as they explore the flora and fauna of the Leach Botantical Garden. (Print the scavenger hunt from the Garden’s website, access it on your phone or pick up a laminated copy in the gift shop when you arrive.)

For kids who can do more serious hiking, Latourell Falls has a 2.4 mile loop, gorgeous waterfall views and is often less crowded than Multnomah Falls. For fascinating city walks, pick up a copy of Laura O. Foster's The Portland Stairs Book at Powell’s or the library, and do a self-guided tour of Portland’s most interesting urban hikes, including hidden staircases that you never even knew existed.

Make a Splash
Grab your suits and take a dip for a Family Swim, Open Swim or Parent/Preschool Swim at one of the local pools through Portland Parks and Rec. Admission varies slightly by location, but is generally less than $6/person, with kids 2 & under swimming for free. Swim times also vary with each location, so check each pool’s schedule through the Portland Parks and Recreation website for the most current information.

Portland Parks and Recreation Swim Pools and Lessons
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks/38284

Take a Ladybug Walk
Perfect for the littlest legs! Preschoolers age 2-5 and their parents can explore parks around Portland with Ladybug Nature Walks. Environmental educators guide children and their grown-ups on exciting journeys to find bugs, plants, and other wonders of nature. Walks are $4/child, with no charge for adults. Locations vary, so check the website for the most current schedule.

Ladybug Nature Walks
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks/64625

Big Fun in a Little Bookstore
There’s always something magical happening at Green Bean Books, the sweet bookstore nestled along Alberta. Although technically a store, one glance at the schedule shows plenty of free events and activities that families can join. Stop by for story times, the Middle Reader Book Club, craft times, author book signings, musical Spanish story time and much more. Both kids and adults will love the fun surprises tucked all through the store, along with the outdoor space, which is perfect for sunny days.(Note: All events are currently cancelled due to COVID)

Green Bean Books
1600 NE Alberta St.
503-954-2354
Online: greenbeanbookspdx.com

 

—Annette Benedetti

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Portland Kids Weekend Events: Apr. 22-24

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Portland families love their Pacific Northwest home. From the largest urban forest to an abundance of gorgeous parks, our city is truly a natural oasis filled with many beloved greenspaces that need our nurturing and support. This weekend Portland is hosting tons of Earth Day activities, events and celebrations that give your family an opportunity to get out and have fun while cleaning, planting and restoring protected areas. Read on to find out where your family can make the biggest impact this weekend.

Clean-up in Northwest Portland

Bring the kiddos out to northwest Portland to spend a Saturday morning cleaning up the neighborhood! The Hostel Cafe is acting as the hub for this Earth Day tradition, and they’ll have you covered. SOLVE Oregon will provide the bags, the litter grabbers, the gloves, and the refreshments – all you need to do is show up in your best pair of walking shoes, but you can bring all of your own materials if you’d like! Event Details.

Portland Saturday Market

Spring is here and there is no better time to support our local artisans than now, and what better way is there than by hitting the iconic Portland Saturday Market. Enjoy local music, delectable bites, and shopping goods created by our beloved city’s artists. Event Details.

Autism Walk

Join this family-friendly, Autism-friendly event celebrating Autistic people and the Autism community! Registration fee includes a commemorative event tee-shirt, face painters, photo booth, resource tables, art activities, obstacle court, appearances by costumed characters, and more! The walk is a 1/2 mile loop, accessible to all. All funds raised are to support ASO’s programs in Oregon and SW Washington! Event Details.

Earth Day Community Celebration

This full-day event is sure to get the kids pumped about celebrating our awesome planet. Get to know your neighbors and show up on Earth Day at Washington Highschool to enjoy an afternoon of panel discussions, arts & crafts, and live music! Make sure to bring props, homemade signs, and your best Earth accessories so you can take part in the parade! After that, you can make your way to Clinton Street Records for a little pre-screening bash before settling in at the Clinton Theater to watch Rad Earth. Event Details.

Trail Work: Forest Park

Join Portland families in our city’s beloved Forest Park for the annual trail work party with the Forest Park Conservancy. Attendees will work throughout the morning until noon working on the trails. Sign-up is required in advance. Event Details.

Center for Native Arts & Cultures

Join the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) for a day of activation at the new Center for Native Arts and Cultures (CNAC)! The Open House event at CNAC provides an opportunity to view NACF’s inaugural exhibition, “Where the Waters Come Together,” meet NACF staff, and hear about future plans for the Center of Native Arts. Visitors can participate in various art activations throughout the building as well as witness performances by Indigenous artists. Event Details.

Community Clean-up and Planting Party

One of the best things about Portland is the natural beauty that surrounds us. The smell of roses quite literally floats through the air. On Earth Day, you can join a community clean-up project in your neighborhood! Local families will be walking around and picking up trash as well as sprucing up the planter boxes on the sidewalk, and planting some flowers and bulbs.  Event Details.

The World of Leonardo Da Vinci

The World of Leonardo da Vinci is an innovative exhibition dedicated to one of the most influential thinkers of the Renaissance. Visitors will explore reproductions of da Vinci’s many engineering marvels and artistic masterpieces, ranging from boats to flying machines to musical instruments.

For the first time ever in the Pacific Northwest, two original da Vinci folios from the 500-year-old Codex Atlanticus will be on display thanks to an arrangement with the renowned Biblioteca Ambrosiana of Milan, Italy. Visitors will have the opportunity to see these authentic documents up close as well as consult all pages of da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus and Codex on Flight in digital format. Event Details.

 

 

6 Nearby National Parks Portland Kids Love

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There are few better ways to create family memories than with road trips to National Parks. Portlanders don’t have to go far to find gorgeous parks featuring breathtaking hikes, adventures in nature, and hands-on educational opportunities. Pack up the family vehicle and fire up the GPS. Read on for a little help planning your next family adventure to a beloved National Park near Portland

Annette Benedetti

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Explore the prehistoric past at these fossil beds 40 million years in the making. John Day Fossil Beds is also home to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center which is a working lab. Don’t miss the Painted Hills area where you can grab gorgeous pics of your babes on a one-of-a-kind back drop. It makes for a dream family road trip this time of year.

Nearby Airbnb: This spacious modern two bedroom home, is located just a few miles from the stunning Painted Hills. The house is spacious and open with modern amenities and relaxing outdoor spaces where the kids can run and play. It's your home away from home.

Crater Lake National Park 

Crater Lake National Park is home to the deepest lake in the United States. The water-filled caldera is a stunning blue and the scenic Rim Drive is a "must do" activity for all visiting families. This 33-mile tour winds around Crater Lake and has plenty of pullouts along the way for photo ops and restless legs. There are plenty of trails to explore for those in the family who love to hike. And your kids will want to explore Wizard Island

Nearby Airbnb: This spacious chalet in the woods is near hiking/biking trails and waterfalls There is a community pool and tennis courts nearby. The kiddos will enjoy playing amongst the trees on the wrap-around deck while taking in the sights and sounds of nature. In the evening, your crew can get cozy by the fireplace on cool evenings.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

It's hard to miss the massive fort the 366-acre park it sits on when zooming down Hwy14. Located on the North bank of the Columbia River the park is home to rich Pacific Northwest history. Great for multiple day trips full of fun you and your family can explore four different aspects of history: Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Barracks, Pearson Air Museum, and The McLoughlin House. Connected by trails and spacious grounds, this spot offers an abundance of opportunities for little adventurers to play, discover and learn.

Nearby Airbnb: This vintage two bedroom Mediterranean Townhouse was built in 1923 and features a Mission style interior. Your young book worms will enjoy reading in the cozy inglenook. Cook in the newly remodeled kitchen or have a BBQ in the back in our bamboo garden. 

by Annette Benedetti

Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park on Washington's scenic west coast,  is approximately 3.5 hours from Portland by car making it a reasonable trek for families with young ones. Unsurprisingly, with immediate access to both the coastline and the nearby Hoh Rainforest, it is packed with adventures for people both young and old. Weather you and your little explorers enjoy animal spotting, treks on trails through trees or playing in the sand and exploring sea life, there are plenty of activities to fill a weekend or week-long travel itinerary with. Here are some of our favorite things to do.

Airbnb Nearby: This rustic cabin come with all the amenities a family could need. It's private location give kiddos plenty of room to run and play. The full kitchenette is well appointed. It's a great basecamp for your National Parke adventures.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

This gorgeous, educational and fun historical park encompasses sites along the Columbia River and the Pacific Coast and gives your family an opportunity to explore the timeless rainforests and majestic coastal vistas. You will also have the chance to step into the Fort Clatsop replica at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, and get a real sense of what the Corps of Discovery experienced more than 200 years ago and discover the rich heritage of the native people. 

Airbnb Nearby: This giant 4 bedroom 2 bathroom house warmly decorated private retreat is surrounded by trees and has ample space around it for privacy. Your family will enjoy gorgeous views of the Columbia River and lighted freightliners that dock in the bay. When the kids get wiggly, the river walk trail is close by and meanders into town. You will love the wildlife and a the variety of birdsongs that can be heard around the property. 

Annette Benedetti

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park is only a two to three hour drive North of Portland and offers a multitude of awesome outdoor activities and adventures that the whole clan will love. From hiking to, viewing and feeding wildlife with NW Trek, to scenic  gondola and tram rides through the wilderness, this mountain experience will bring your nature-loving crew back again and again. 

Airbnb nearby: This cozy cabin is gorgeous and offers families and authentic mountain cabin experience. Your crew will love the wood burning stove and large sunny decks. It's located between the Cowlitz River and Coal Creek so you can fall asleep to the natural sounds of babbling water. Bonus: it's dog friendly!

Ft. Vancouver National Park

It's hard to miss the massive fort the 366-acre park it sits on when zooming down Hwy14. Located on the North bank of the Columbia River the park is home to rich Pacific Northwest history. Great for multiple day trips full of fun you and your family can explore four different aspects of history: Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Barracks, Pearson Air Museum, and The McLoughlin House. Connected by trails and spacious grounds, this spot offers an abundance of opportunities for little adventurers to play, discover and learn.

Nearby Airbnb: This vintage two bedroom Mediterranean Townhouse was built in 1923 and features a Mission style interior. Your young book worms will enjoy reading in the cozy inglenook. Cook in the newly remodeled kitchen or have a BBQ in the back in our bamboo garden. 

 

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