Are you thinking about a family vacation to Mount Rainier National Park? Keep scrolling for my top kid-friendly things to do at Mt Rainier this summer!
This post about kid-friendly things to do at Mt Rainier this summer was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
In partnership with Visit Rainier
Visit Rainier invited my family to try out one of their kid-friendly Mount Rainier itineraries. Of course, we jumped at the chance!
Even though my husband and I are both born and raised Washingtonians, we haven’t visited Mount Rainier National Park as much as you might expect.
My cousins grew up near Eatonville (in the foothills of Mount Rainier) so we got to do a lot of activities around Mt. Rainier when we visited every summer.
However, we rarely went inside one of the most famous Washington State national parks!
What I love about this Mt. Rainier itinerary is that it covers kid-friendly things to do at Mount Rainier National Park as well as the surrounding area.
Keep scrolling to find out exactly what we did during our Mt. Rainier weekend getaway.
Things to do at Mt Rainier National Park for a PNW Getaway with Kids
Day 1: Dinner, Park, Arrival
Dinner at Pizza Express in Elbe
When we told our kids that we’d be eating dinner in a train car, they were super excited! Technically, we only ordered our dinner inside the train car and then sat outside, but it still won us cool points!
Pizza Express is located right by the Mt. Rainier Railroad & Logging Museum and the Hobo Inn. There are a bunch of colorful train cars parked along the road in Elbe.
They offer pizza by the slice, whole pizzas, bread sticks, and even salad. Our family of four split a pizza, breadsticks, and a Greek salad. The food was fresh and came out quickly.
There’s plenty of outdoor seating (with lots of cute photo ops) or you can take your pizza to go. You can even order ahead of time.
Ashford County Park
Since it was such a nice evening, we decided to hit up the Ashford County Park on our way to the cabin.
They have a really extensive playground with areas for younger kids and older kids. Plus, lots of areas to run around and get some wiggles out.
The play equipment is really cool and had some pieces we haven’t seen before at other playgrounds.
We’ll probably hit up this park next time we drive to Mount Rainier National Park because it’s so convenient and kept our kids really occupied.
Arrival at Stone Creek Lodge
We arrived at Stone Creek Lodge around 7:30 p.m. Usually, this is when our kids go to bed (they are early risers).
One of the owners, Bob, came out to greet us and walked us over to our cabin. There, he gave us a thorough run-down of everything we needed to know for the ultimate stay.
We really appreciated that he gave us the option of meeting us either inside the cabin or outside, depending on our comfort level.
We were blown away by Stone Creek Lodge and I even wrote an entire post about it that you can read HERE
Then, he invited us to join their bonfire. It looked way too fun to pass up!
Even though we had a long day, I’m so glad we chose to join the bonfire!
We packed along stuff to roast marshmallows, which was a highlight of the trip for my boys.
But, it was really awesome to get to chat with the owners (Bob and Joe) as well as a few other guests.
The bonfire is situated in the middle of the property and it provides a cool sense of community. People shared about fun things they did during the day and it’s a great space to get ideas for future adventures.
We even saw a few deer walk past us while we relaxed by the fire.
Day 2: Sculpture Park, Boating, Mount Rainier National Park
Breakfast in Cabin
Since we knew our cabin had a kitchenette, we packed along some easy breakfast items. That allowed us to sleep in a bit longer and just enjoy cabin life.
Our cabin had a mini fridge/freezer, cook top, coffee machine and microwave. Plus, there was a 4-person table and chairs, so it was easy to eat in the cabin.
There was also a cute porch with chairs outside, so we had the option of enjoying coffee and breakfast while taking in the sights, as well.
Coffee at Whittaker’s
I’m a coffee snob and will only drink “fancy coffee” so we stopped by Whittaker’s on our way to our first stop of the day.
We’d been there before on our last trip to Mount Rainier National Park so we knew the coffee was good.
Then, we headed over to the store they had on-site because my husband forgot to bring an extra memory card for his camera.
We always joke that we haven’t met a gift shop we didn’t like. That is still true! We were able to find some fun Sasquatch merchandise for the kids.
Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park
I love roadside attractions and I totally think this sculpture park counts as one. The Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park (aka Ex-Nihilo Park) was created by artist Dan Klennert and it operates on donations.
This is where you can find all sorts of artwork made from recycled pieces of iron.
One of the main attractions is the life-size giraffe right out front. My kids loved seeing all the old trucks and the praying mantis.
And be sure to head to the backyard, as well.
The entire park is definitely worth a quick stop, even if it’s just to take a few photos.
Boating at Henley’s Silver Lake Resort
When we were done looking at the art, we hopped back in the car and headed to Henley’s Silver Lake Resort. They offer cabins, RV spots, and tent camping and they also rent boats.
We originally wanted to rent one of their paddle boats, but they didn’t have one available. So, we rented a boat with an electric motor instead. It was a blast!
After getting the kids fitted for life vests and getting a safety overview, we climbed into the boat and started cruising around the lake.
The kids took turns helping my husband steer the boat, which was a lot of fun for them.
On a clear day, there’s an epic view of Mount Rainier from the water. The clouds rolled in right as we arrived at Henley’s Silver Lake Resort, so we were a little bummed about that.
However, we thoroughly enjoyed our time on the boat.
Lunch at Cruiser’s Cafe
All that boating made us work up an appetite. Thankfully, we were really close to Eatonville, so we headed there to grab lunch.
Cruiser’s Cafe got good reviews, so we decided to eat there. They have a lot of diner-style food like burgers, sandwiches, and fried items. Plus, they have homemade milkshakes.
Because we spent a lot of time outside and the kids were still warming up, we ordered our food to go and ate it in the car.
I’m glad we did it that way because we were able to hit the road as soon as my husband was done eating.
Mount Rainier National Park
The big attraction of the afternoon was exploring Mount Rainier National Park. There are seriously so many things to do there, so we narrowed it down to just a few stops.
Trail of the Shadows
In an effort to stretch our legs a bit, we parked at the National Park Inn and walked across the street to the Trail of the Shadows.
This is a short loop trail that is super kid friendly. Plus, there are things to look at along the way like a natural spring, a log cabin, little bridges to walk across, etc.
My kids don’t normally enjoy hiking but they LOVED this one! It was really easy to pull over and let other groups pass us and it was just the right length for little kids.
National Park Inn Gift Shop
Since we were already parked at the National Park Inn, we figured we’d check out their gift shop. The kids really wanted to find Sasquatch souvenirs and we thought it was worth a shot.
This is a really cute store with a lot of Mount Rainier souvenirs like t-shirts, stickers, water bottles, etc.
My kids saw some wooden eagle ornaments they couldn’t live without so we bought them for our Christmas tree.
Next up, we headed to Christine Falls. I love that this is one you can see driving on the road or you can park to take photos.
We parked in the little parking lot and walked over to take selfies with the waterfall.
There’s also a little trail where you can walk down to get another scenic view of the waterfall. We’ve done that in the past but there was still snow on the ground when we went in May, so we skipped it this time.
This is another popular Mount Rainier waterfall. It has a huge parking lot and you can’t miss it when driving through Mount Rainier National Park. It’s an easy hike to do with kids.
You can take photos on the bridge or walk down the trail to see a gorgeous view of the waterfall. Since there was snow on the trail, we didn’t want to risk it. We have done the trail in the early fall and it was totally worth it.
As crazy as it sounds, there was 11 feet of snow at Paradise at the end of May. We saw tons of people snowboarding near the visitors center and lots of families having snowball fights.
Our kids begged us to get out and play in the snow.
Since the snow was starting to melt, it was pretty slippery up there. I’d definitely recommend bringing walking sticks or something if you’re worried about falling.
During the warmer months, there are some really cool trails to walk and the scenery is really beautiful. And I highly recommend checking out the visitors center to learn more about Mount Rainier National Park.
Dinner at Copper Creek Inn
After all that exploring, our family was pretty wiped out. So, we headed back to the cabin for a little R&R.
We debated whether or not to eat at Copper Creek Inn or take the food to go and comfort won out in the end.
My husband headed to Copper Creek Inn and ordered us a tasty dinner, their famous blackberry pie, and even cinnamon rolls for the morning.
We enjoyed dinner at the table in our cabin and it was nice and cozy. Plus, that gave us plenty of time to head to the bonfire.
My husband is awesome and he took the boys over to the bonfire so I could enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. He brought over ingredients to make s’mores and the kids were in heaven.
One of the great things about Stone Creek Lodge is that the bonfire is really close to the cabins, but far enough away that it doesn’t bother guests staying in their cabins.
My kids were able to walk back to the cabin by themselves to use the bathroom, wash marshmallows off their hands, and get a quick snuggle before heading back out. That made them feel super grown up!
Day 3: Departure
Lazy Morning at Stone Creek Lodge
Because we loved the cabin so much and my husband grabbed us breakfast stuff the night before, we were able to soak in every last moment of cabin life.
We stayed almost until it was time to check out at 11 a.m.
It was really nice to enjoy the serenity of our mountain getaway spot and take some time to relax. We tend to have a tight itinerary when we travel so this was pure luxury.
Ice Bumper Cars in Spanaway
As we drove back home, we took a slight detour to Spanaway so we could ride their ice bumper cars.
I haven’t done bumper cars since I was a kid, but my kids have been begging to do them for the past couple of years. When we heard about these ice bumper cars, it seemed like the perfect way to end the trip!
We watched a short safety video and then climbed into our own bumper cars. Kids ages 6 and up can sit by themselves and younger kids can sit with a parent.
My 4-year-old sat in my lap and he managed all the controls completely on his own and it was a blast! Definitely, a fun way to end our trip to Mount Rainier National Park!
Wondering Which Mount Rainier National Park Hikes are Kid-Friendly?
The Skyline Trail is a moderate 5.3-mile hike that offers stunning views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding area.
While it is not specifically designed for children, older kids who are used to hiking may be able to handle the trail. However, it can be challenging for younger children.
The Wonderland Trail is a strenuous 93-mile loop trail that circles Mount Rainier. It is not recommended for children due to the length and difficulty of the trail.
Sourdough Ridge Trail
The Sourdough Ridge Trail is a moderate 2.8-mile hike that offers views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding area. It is considered kid-friendly, but parents should still monitor their children as there are some steep sections.
Sunrise Rim Trail
The Sunrise Rim Trail is a moderate 5.3-mile hike that offers panoramic views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding area. It is considered kid-friendly, but parents should be aware of the elevation gain and some steep sections.
Alta Vista Trail
The Alta Vista Trail is a moderate 1.7-mile hike that offers views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding area. It is considered kid-friendly, but parents should still monitor their children as there are some steep sections.
Burroughs Mountain Trail
The Burroughs Mountain Trail is a moderate to strenuous 6.8-mile hike that offers stunning views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding area. It is not recommended for younger children due to the length and difficulty of the trail.
Pinnacle Peak Trail
The Pinnacle Peak Trail is a moderate 3.4-mile hike that offers views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding area. It is considered kid-friendly, but parents should still monitor their children as there are some steep sections.
Some of the hikes in Mount Rainier National Park, such as the Sourdough Ridge Trail, Sunrise Rim Trail, Alta Vista Trail, and Pinnacle Peak Trail, are considered kid-friendly.
However, longer and more strenuous trails like the Wonderland Trail and Burroughs Mountain Trail are not recommended for children. Parents should always monitor their children and choose hikes that are appropriate for their abilities.
More Things to do at Mount Rainier (if you have time)
There are so many things to do in Mount Rainier National Park for families in addition to what we did over the weekend.
We love to visit Myrtle Falls, explore the Sunrise visitor center, and warm up inside Paradise Inn. Our kids like grabbing a Mount Rainier National Park map and helping us figure out where to go next.
Some of our favorite things to do near Mount Rainier National Park include Pioneer Farm, Northwest Trek, and the Mt. Rainier Railroad & Logging Museum.
Mount Rainier National Park FAQs
How far is Mount Rainier National Park from Seattle?
Mount Rainier National Park is about 80 miles South of Seattle. It takes about 2 hours to get there, depending on traffic. It’s about 140 miles from Portland, Oregon.
Where is the best place to stay at Mount Rainier with kids?
There are tons of places to stay at Mount Rainier for families. We really liked Stone Creek Lodge, which is just steps away from the park entrance.
There’s also the National Park Inn that is in Longmire, if you want to be inside the park. Plus, there are several campgrounds for tent and RV camping.
When is the best time to visit Mt Rainier National Park?
Personally, I think it’s best to visit Mt. Rainier National Park in summer because there are tons of walking trails, scenic viewpoints, wildflower meadows, etc. The weather is drier and you won’t worry about road conditions.
What should you not miss at Mt. Rainier National Park?
A few must-see sights and experiences at Mount Rainier National Park include Paradise, Sunrise nature trail, Grove of the Patriarchs, Myrtle Falls, Nisqually Vista Trail, Jackson visitor center, and ranger-led programs.
Is a day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park worth it?
If you plan to visit Mount Rainier National Park for just one day, I suggest focusing on one or two areas of the park, such as Paradise or Sunrise, and plan your itinerary accordingly.
You can still take in some of the park’s must-see sights, such as the waterfalls, groves of old-growth trees, and scenic drives. It’s easy to day trip to Mt. Rainier from Seattle.
Is visiting Mt Rainier or Olympic National Park better?
If you’re interested in hiking and mountaineering, Mount Rainier National Park may be the better choice. However, if you prefer coastal landscapes, rainforests, and beaches, Olympic National Park may be more appealing.
What are the prettiest waterfalls in Mt Rainier National Park?
There are many beautiful waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park, but some of the prettiest include Myrtle Falls, Narada Falls, Silver Falls, Spray Falls, and Comet Falls.
What activities can people do at Mount Rainier National Park?
There are many activities that people can do at Mount Rainier National Park, including camping, hiking trails, walking across a suspension bridge, seeing Silver Falls, checking out spectacular views, eating a meal at Paradise Inn, and so much more.
What would happen if Mt. Rainier erupted?
A potential eruption of Mount Rainier could have significant impacts on surrounding areas including lahars, ashfall, property damage, economic impact, and release of volcanic gases that could affect air quality.
However, the likelihood of a catastrophic eruption in the near future is low, and the United States Geological Survey monitors the volcano closely to provide early warning of any potential hazards.
Where can you find the best views of Mt Rainier?
There are many great places to find views of Mount Rainier, but some of the best include Paradise, Sunrise, Nisqually Vista Point, Ohanapecosh, and Mowich Lake.
What are the best Mt Rainier day hikes?
Some of the most popular day hikes include the Skyline Trail, Burroughs Mountain Trail, Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, Myrtle Falls Trail, Narada Falls Trail, and Silver Falls Trail.
Mount Rainier National Park Things To Do Wrap Up
Mount Rainier is one of my favorite Pacific Northwest weekend getaways. There are tons of kid-friendly Mt Rainier things to do, places to eat, hiking trails, and cozy cabins.
If you don’t want to spend the entire weekend, you can totally do a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park. You can hit a few attractions in the park and the surrounding areas.