Family Vacations in the Pacific Northwest

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Pacific Northwest – Family Vacation Guide

The Pacific Northwest in home to some of the most lush forests and landscapes in the country, from Oregon to Washington to Alaska. Rocky shorelines, crystal lakes, mountains filled with wildlife… don’t miss a visit to this special part of the country.

Why Go

  • Wildlife

    Wildlife can be found at every turn, from sea to land. Breaching whales, seals, streams filled with trout, bears and more are common sightings.

  • Outdoor Adventure

    Got outdoor-loving kids? This is the place for them with hiking, kayaking, biking and fishing top of mind for most visitors.

  • National Parks

    The Pacific Northwest is home to large National Parks such as Crater Lake, Olympic, Denali and Glacier Bay national parks.

Where to Go and Stay in the Pacific Northwest


If there’s any destination that answers the call of the wild within a kid, it’s Alaska. At more than twice the size of Texas, Alaska’s landscape ranges from wild rocky coastline to dramatic green mountains to endless flat tundra to dry sand dunes. Home to bears, caribou, moose, bald eagles, musk oxen, whales, seals, sea otters and so many more species of animals and marine life, the abundance of the natural world and its many inhabitants is essentially what brings every traveler to Alaska. No matter their age, kids can’t help but be drawn in by the majesty of Alaska’s landscapes, the cute and (not so) cuddly wildlife and the cool natural science of it all.

Take Me to Alaska

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You could spend a lifetime exploring the Beaver state and still not see it all. From the trendy, bustling city of Portland, to the snowy mountains and the dramatic coastline, Oregon offers endless variety. For families looking to see it all, a road trip might be in order!

Take Me to Oregon

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One of the hippest destinations for hipsters, Millennials and any other genre you can define, Seattle is also a happening place for families. More than its bustling city, Washington offers an array of fun, much of which follows along its rugged Pacific Coastline and mountains. Visit the San Juan Islands for charming and quiet getaways, or avoid the tourists and enjoy the smaller scale Spokane, and hike and explore Mount Rainer’s lower trails: Washington is perfect for kids!

Take Me to Washington

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What to Do and See with Kids in the Pacific Northwest

  • Hoyt Arboretum, Oregon

    The beautiful arboretum in Washington Park in Portland has several easy loop trails to choose from for hiking in Oregon. You’ll see some amazing trees as well as one that has been struck by lightning.

  • Portland Children’s Museum, Oregon

    Let kids run wild with water works, a veterinarian office, grocery store, recycled art room, clay play, and a big stage they can perform on to their heart’s content!

  • Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

    There are few things in this world more magnificent and mesmerizing than the blue ice of a glacier. Most families reach at least one glacier during their time in Alaska, whether they’re cruising past the face of one on a multi-day or day-long cruise or hiking a trail to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau.

  • Space Needle, Washington

    The iconic Space Needle is a must for families to visit. Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, you can ride a monorail to around the city.

  • Science Factory, Eugene, Oregon

    Learn about science with hands-on exhibits and see the stars at the planetarium.

  • Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

    Explore the Columbia River Gorge and the hundreds of waterfalls throughout Oregon. Kids will love visiting Multnomah Falls and walking across the bridge where they can feel the spray from the 620 foot waterfall!

  • Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska

    Introducing kids to Alaska Native culture is a perfect way to share U.S. history and open their minds. The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage is the perfect place to learn about Alaska Native history and contemporary culture through exhibits, artist demonstrations, movies and performances.

  • National Parks

    Take your pick: Olympic National Park or Rainer National Park in Washington, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, or Denali National Park in Alaska – there’s more than enough land to explore in all three states.

Getting Around with Kids in the Pacific Northwest

With its expansive wilderness beckoning to be explored, you’ll want to rent a car to see as much of it as you can. Consider a road trip along the coast between Vancouver, Canada, to the California border to enjoy pristine views. Even if visiting a city like Seattle, you may still want a car to explore outside. If cruising in the waters off of Alaska, tour groups will get you to interior and land-based activities.

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