There is no better time of year to hit the road and find adventure with the family than in Spring. This Memorial Day weekend gives you an extended break, from school and work that gives you the opportunity to get an epic road trip in. Weather you are looking to explore the beach, high desert or mountains we’ve got some awesome destinations lined up for you below. Scroll down to find out more.
photo: by Annette Benedetti
78.1 miles from downtown Portland
Portland is a long way away from the beaches of California, but you can get a little taste of the boardwalk experience in Seaside! Your clan will enjoy playing and relaxing on the massive expanse of sandy beaches that run along the ocean. In addition to amazing beaches, Seaside is home to The Funland Entertainment Center (201 Broadway St.), which is the largest arcade on the North Oregon Coast and has been around since 1931. There your little gamers will entertain themselves for hours with skee-ball, bumper cars, mini golf and so much more. Then head to the Seaside Carousel Mall where you and your kids will find a beautiful replica of a classic carousel that can take the whole tribe for a musical ride ( (300 Broadway St.).While you’re at it, make sure you hit Schweitert’s Cone & Candy (406 Broadway St.) for saltwater taffy and chocolate-dipped treats, including bacon-topped Twinkies. Then, head west 1 block, north 3 blocks and 1 block west again to go feed the seals and let the little ones touch a starfish at Seaside Aquarium (200 N. Promenade).
92.3 miles from downtown Portland
Located between Astoria and Seaside on the Oregon coast, Fort Stevens offers your family a unique adventure. In between hours of the best beach combing around on beautiful beaches your crew will find excitement and wonder exploring a historic shipwreck and a military fort.
Once you’ve gotten a good history lesson in, grab your bikes and take them for a spin on the nine miles of paved bicycle paths or don your hiking boots and hit the six miles of trails that take you through a wide variety of habitats including spruce forests, wetlands and dunes. While the water is probably still a bit cold, nearby Coffenbury Lake has two swimming areas, a picnic area, restrooms and boat ramp if you want to spend a day on the water.
If you are up for pitching your tent, Fort Stevens has a campground with six tent sited or try glamping in one of the 15 yurts that are offered. If camping isn’t your style, there are also 11 deluxe cabins to spend the night in. Five of the 11 are pet friendly, so your furry family members can join you!
181 miles from downtown Portland
Beaches may be fun, but the High Desert holds its own when it come to family fun and the best outdoor activities? If your family loves the fresh air then you just can’t go wrong with a weekend in Sun River. Visit Sunriver Resort to reserve a room at the Sunriver Lodge Village, a Sun River Lodge or one of their vacation homes or condos. You’ll want to bring your bikes — there are over 35 miles of paved paths that will keep little legs busy all day long. If water play is more appealing to your crew, you can rent canoes or kayaks, ride ponies, play at the park playground, and hike to Benham Falls. The top attraction is the resort’s Cove Aquatic Center. The Cove Aquatic Center offers visitors year-round swimming. The center features an indoor and outdoor pool, jetted spas, private outdoor cabanas, an indoor and outdoor waterslide, a gently flowing eddy, a nature walk and discovery area, lakeside trails, and a special lawn where you can soak up the sun.
137 miles from downtown Portland
If a beautiful mountain escape is like what your are looking for, Mt. Rainier is the perfect destination. With a National park that boasts over 130 trails for your and your family to enjoy, there is more to explore than your family can possibly fit in in a weekend. Having a hard time choosing what to do? Go on a wildflower hike or make your way to majestic waterfalls for and afternoon of awe.
To add some adventure to your trip, get up close and persona with the wild life at NW Trek. They offer Keeper tours that bring you eye to eye with the local animal residents.
Rainier is well worth a weekend trip. Consider renting a rustic cabin for your getaway. Three Bears Lodge offers eight cabins just outside the year-round Paradise entrance to the national park in Ashford. The cabins accommodate groups of all sizes. Some of the cabins even come with highchairs, boosters, toys, cribs and anything else you could imagine you might need. All of the cabins have fully equipped kitchens that have the supplies for a complimentary waffle breakfast. If you choose this lodging option, the only thing you need to bring with you is food.
Families flock to Bend from all over the country for its unmatched outdoor recreation and adventures. You’ll have to wait until late Spring May 1st) but 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. Your little monkeys may not be ready to climb like a pro, but book a day with the guides at Chockstone Climbing Guides and they will be well on their way. All of the required gear is provided and you will feel safe in the hands of these climbing experts.
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.
When in Bend, do like the locals and hit the breweries. Stop by the iconic Deschutes Brewery for some true Central Oregon flair. You will enjoy a selection of award-winning craft beer and hand-crafted ales. And if you are craving a good burger, they won’t disappoint. 10 Barrel is another local brewery that offers up fantastic brews along with outdoor fire pits and plenty of room for kids to be kids.
What would Memorial Day Weekend be without a little Ocean air? This historic town sits where the forest meets the sea, and your family meets a good time! Started by Scandinavians, fur traders, Lewis and Clark, and named for John Jacob Astor, the city boasts a mix of all those influences perfectly. Admire the lovely Victorian houses on the hilltops, stop by Finn Ware for some Scandinavian-inspired goods (like salty licorice!), or check out Lewis and Clark’s 1805 winter camp at Fort Clatsop.
In town, don’t miss a walk along the pier and a stop at Frite and Scoop ice cream available for curbside pickup. Then head to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, especially if you’re little ones are fans of boats. This small museum does a really great job at offering interesting and dynamic exhibits, and you can even step aboard a real floating lighthouse ship! You’ll look at the river outside differently once you learn how dangerous it actually is to the ships sailing it.
Stay at the Cannery Pier Hotel, built on the site of an old cannery, 600 feet over the water. You’ll get views of the real working boats that ply the waters, and you can rent bikes to explore even more.
Across the river in Washington, take a day to explore Cape Disappointment, which is much better than it sounds (someone had a bad day there!). Clamber over rocks to scan the waters for whales, who tend to migrate in March. The numerous hiking options include a great lighthouse, and you can warm up inside the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which marks the end of the group’s epic journey to the Pacific.
For a stay on the Washington side of the river, check out the Sou’wester Lodge in Seaview. A beloved hipster hodgepodge of vintage airstream trailers, cabins, and a guesthouse, the campus offers a sauna and spa services, live music on weekends, fire pits for roasting, an honor-system store with local goods, and bikes to borrow to search out the beach just down the road.