Throughout the school year when Eric teaches, we typically spend every weekend taking turns working and playing with the girls. So this summer, when Eric’s job is much less demanding, I wanted to make a point of spending more quality time together as a family. When we got a rare weekday off together earlier this summer, we searched for a family friendly hike on Mt. Hood and headed up the mountain to Twin Lakes. Boy, was I glad we did!
The hike was perfect. It was challenging enough to make me feel like I got a bit of a workout and had a breathtakingly gorgeous payoff at the end. The girls loved the hike—especially since they got to swim in a pristine lake on Mt. Hood. (What’s not to love?)
I’d recommend this family friendly hike on Mt. Hood in a heartbeat. Here’s all you need to know!
Having a bunch of blogger friends is the best. They’re like a combination of the hive mind, Yelp, google and a travel agent, except with really awesome photo skills. When I need recommendations on where to eat or what to do in Portland, Oregon, I ask my Portland bloggers buds first; ditto where to stay at the coast, or what to cook for an upcoming BBQ. So when I wanted to collect a bunch of must-do family and kids activities in Portland, I knew who to ask.
I posed this question in a handful of Portland bloggers groups I belong to:
When friends and their family visit Portland from out of town, where do you send them?
Lucky for me (and you!) they sent a bunch of responses. Read on for insider tips, recommendations and curated travel plans for the best Portland family-friendly spots and kids activities!
While visiting the Central Oregon Coast, I never plan activities ahead of time—I figure we’ll stay on the beach nearly every waking moment, since the coast is my (and my family’s) happy place. But on our most recent trip to Newport, OR, I found myself looking for a family friendly outing that didn’t involve throwing sand or chasing toddlers who were splashing in the freezing Pacific. My dad and I ended up going to Yaquina Head Lighthouse with the kids—an incredibly scenic stop just a few minutes north of Newport, OR.
We are getting a handful of summery days in the forecast—my weather app is looking positively perfect—and all this sunshine is making the blooming rhododendrons outside look even more gorgeous! When I was looking for fun springtime family activities in Portland while my mother-in-law was in town recently, I found the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. We made plans to go.
I woke up that morning not feeling well. The girls hadn’t slept much and were fighting over a pair of Anna and Elsa figurines. “Are you sure you still want to go?” Eric asked me as I brushed my teeth. “WE’RE GOING,” I said. And I’m so glad we did!
I’m one of those strange hybrid creatures you read about in Buzzfeed articles: the introverted extrovert, or extroverted introvert, or whatever label we’re using these days for someone who likes to be social but tends to become totally exhausted when my calendar isn’t empty. I can also get extremely socially anxious—every so often, I feel like I’m floating outside my body and am sure that everyone can see what a phony I am as I make sure to laugh in the right places and stand in a way that I don’t look as awkward as I feel. (Overshare!) But this weekend I got over all that when I made myself just say yes—to a full three days’ worth of unforgettable experiences.
We travel to Eugene as a family every few months—my parents live there, so we drive the two hours from Portland often to visit the grandparents. When we brainstorm family friendly activities in Eugene, Oregon, we always come back to hiking Dorris Ranch, a great hike for kids and families.
Dorris Ranch is a 250-acre park in Eugene, Oregon, that is an operating hazelnut orchard. You can stick to the path, wander among the rows of hazelnut trees, eat a picnic along the Willamette River or hop on the multi-use Middle Fork Path, which runs to Clearwater Park and connects to the 8-mile-loop Mill Race Path.
The scenery is gorgeous any time of year, and this Eugene kid-friendly hike is easy for babies in strollers, toddlers and big kids ready to race ahead.
I have logged a lot of miles hiking with little kids. My daughters have trekked all over the Pacific Northwest—sometimes on their own two feet, sometimes riding in a carrier. And as a mom who has weathered toddler meltdowns and reluctant preschoolers and little kids who just don’t want to hike anymore, I’ve learned a few tips along all those trails.
Yes, hiking with little kids can be challenging, and you won’t get to go at your pre-children pace. But hiking with little kids is also rewarding and super fun!
Learn from my many trips to plan a fun hike for the whole family—and avoid those mid-trail tantrums.