13 Best Pacific Northwest Family Vacation Ideas

November 27, 2019

The Pacific Northwest is the perfect place for a family vacation—with plenty of kid-friendly side trips to pursue, and lots of family fun activities.

Where should you go on a family vacay when going through Washington and Oregon?

Here’s a list of our favorite Pacific Northwest family vacation ideas for all ages.

Best Pacific Northwest Family Vacation Ideas

Soap Lake, Washington

family trip soap lake washington

Soap Lake is one of the most unique lakes in the US!

Why?

It has one of the highest mineral counts in the world, which gives it a lot of health benefits. In fact, it’s one of the few natural mud baths found in the world!

Really, who wouldn’t want to experience the natural healing powers of a world-renowned natural mineral lake?

Rub you and the family down in restorative mud and reveal rejuvenated skin with naturally-mineralized water.

In addition, you can stay at the renowned Soap Lake Luxury Spa and Resort, which sits right on the beach of Soap Lake. Book your stay today!

Seattle, Washington

Seattle by Michael Gwyther-Jones licensed by CC BY 2.0

What’s not to like about Seattle? Pike Place market leaves kids in awe at “flying fish,” The Space Needle is a must-see, and The Seattle Children’s Museum draws rave reviews.

If the Seattle area isn’t on the agenda, it may be time to consider adding it to the family getaway.

Portland, Oregon

Portland Or by dog97209 licensed by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Making an overnight road trip stop in Portland will earn you some invaluable “Dad” or “Mom” points with the kids. Portland is cool—both in the literal and figurative sense. The various parks speak to kids, while the microbreweries and brunch spots attract the parents.

Overall, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly vacation idea, Portland is your place.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park – High Divide by Park Ranger licensed by CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park has some epic hiking trails. Three-hours from Seattle, Olympic National Park offers coastlines, rain forests, and wilderness.

You can access the park year-round, but summer is the busiest time. Enjoy the exploration!

San Juan Islands

San Juan Island by Jim Nix licensed by CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Known for whale watching, kayaking, and biking, the San Juan Islands are located between Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria. You’ll need a ferry ride to access the islands, but families of all ages will enjoy the tranquility of this exceptional place.

Let’s face it. Posting pictures of orcas on Instagram will earn the kids some serious summer vacay street cred.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver by Andriy Baranskyy licensed by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If your family is looking venture outside of the United States, Vancouver is a destination worth considering. Clean with a West Coast flavor, Vancouver has just about anything you could ask for in a host city. Fresh seafood, diverse cultures, and a bustling art scene are some of the things Vancouver is best known for.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast in November by Bonnie Moreland

Are you looking for an escape? Look no further than the Oregon coast, sometimes known as the “People’s Coast”. Let the kids run free, get the dog off the leash, and experience a slice of one of the finest parts of the Pacific Northwest.

If you’re looking for a couple of popular stops along the Oregon Coast, Astoria, Cannon Beach, and Coos Bay are among our favorites!

Seaside, Oregon

seaside oregon

Oregon Coast Sunset by Deep Owl licensed by CC BY 2.0

Seaside is a cozy little beach town along the Oregon coast. If your family vacation needs to dial up a dose of relaxation, Seaside is the stretch of sandy beach you’ll want to consider visiting.

Fly a kite, take a break, and enjoy the time with the family.

Cascades

Cascades by Charles Fulton licensed by CC BY 2.0

The Cascade Range contains some of the most impressive mountains in the United States. The Cascades extend from British Columbia through Washington and Oregon down to Northern California.

Mount Rainier marks the highest peak in the Cascades. Mount St Helens was the most recent eruption in the Cascades in 1980. Just catching a glimpse of these mountains, along with Mount Hood and Mount Baker, puts your family right in the heart of the Pacific Southwest.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach by Michelle Bruton licensed by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If your family skipped out on Seaside, then Cannon Beach is your chance at some sandy shore redemption. National Geographic named Cannon Beach one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world. USA Today listed it as one of America’s ten most romantic coastal destinations.

Romance, beauty, and where The Goonies was filmed. What else do you want on a family vacation?

Whale Watching

Orca Whale Breach by Chase Dekker licensed by CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you’ll be traveling during April to September, why not add “whale watching” to your list of Pacific Northwest family vacation ideas? Orca, gray, minke, and humpback whales are just some of the different types of whales commonly spotted in the area.

Lime Kiln Point State Park (aka “Whale Watch Park”) and San Juan Island National Historical Park are the best places to watch whales. Seattle also offers whale watching tours during certain times of the year.

Victoria, Canada

Victoria Harbor by Scott Eckert licensed by CC BY 2.0

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and sits on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. What is there to do in Victoria with kids? Plenty.

The Royal BC Museum displays natural history. The Craigdarroch Castle mansion shows off BC’s Victorian history. There’s also several outdoor gardens throughout the city. For example, the Butchart Gardens boasts a 55-acre floral display.

And as is common in the Pacific Northwest, lots of kid-friendly outdoor activities.

Bend, Oregon

bend oregon

Sunrise at Sparks Lake, Oregon by Bonnie Moreland

If your family is craving a little adventure, Bend may have an answer for you. Dubbed “the outdoor playground of the West,” Bend has activities like horseback riding, kayaking, and more.

Right in Central Oregon, Bend is an off the beaten path adventure. Much like Soap Lake in Washington state.

What are your best Pacific Northwest Family Vacation Ideas?

Whether you’re venturing to Soap Lake, Washington or Bend, Oregon, you’re bound for a good time. Let us know if you have any good vacation ideas to add to the list. And of course, if you’re looking for a place to stay in Soap Lake, we’ve got you covered.