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!
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In partnership with Visit Rainier
Last weekend, 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 the National Park.
What I love about this Mt. Rainier itinerary is that it covers kid friendly things to do at Mount Rainier as well as the surrounding area.
Keep scrolling to find out exactly what we did during our Mt. Rainier weekend getaway.
Mount Rainier National Park FAQs
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.
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.
Personally, I think it’s best to visit Mt. Rainier in summer because there are tons of walking trails, scenic viewpoints, wildflowers, etc. The weather is drier and you won’t worry about road conditions.
Things to do at Mt Rainier 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, bread sticks, 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 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 with 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 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 preying 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’s 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 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.
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 fall and it’s 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.
Dinner at Copper Creek Inn
After all that exploring, our family was pretty wiped. 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 marshmallow 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!
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, and cozy cabins.
If you don’t want to spend the entire weekend, you can totally day trip to Mount Rainier. You can hit a few attractions in the park and the surrounding areas.
More Things to do at Mount Rainier (if you have time)
There are so many things to do in Mount Rainier for families in addition to what we did over the weekend.
Some of our favorite Mt Rainier activities include: Pioneer Farm, Northwest Trek, and the Mt. Rainier Railroad & Logging Museum.