Last updated on December 27th, 2018 at 05:13 pm
Pacific Northwest Family Vacation Ideas
School’s out and there’s really no better place to spend the summer than the Pacific Northwest.
I’m a Seattle girl, born and raised, and I love Northwest summer adventures. With our green trees, glistening lakes, babbling brooks, snow-capped mountains, and rocky beaches, there are countless Pacific Northwest family vacation ideas.
So, to narrow it down, I asked my blogger friends for their top Pacific Northwest family vacation. Here’s what we came up with in no particular order: May contain affiliate links.
1. Semiahmoo Resort & Spa
Marcie from Marcie in Mommyland:
“One of our favorite family getaways is Semiahmoo Resort & Spa up in Blaine, WA. It’s right by the Peace Arch border crossing.
You can actually see Canada from the resort, which is pretty cool and makes it one of our favorite Seattle weekend getaways!
We love Semiahmoo Resort because you can truly just hang out at the Resort. They have restaurants on site. You don’t even have to go outside to get to them, which makes it perfect for a winter getaway.
The kids love their outdoor fire pit where they can make s’mores. It’s right on the beach, which is pretty incredible. They like throwing rocks into the water (over and over again.) And Semiahmoo has an onsite movie theater!
If your family is active, you can try pickleball, basketball, tennis, go swimming in their indoor/outdoor pool, enjoy lawn games, or head out on the water.
On Saturdays, they offer a 2 hour drop off program where kids can play and parents can relax elsewhere. I’d suggest taking advantage of their spa services!”
Read my full post about Semiahmoo Resort & Spa here.
Sothea from Mah Family Five:
“What’s not to love about Suncadia??
We are huge fans of Destination Hotels, specifically Suncadia as it’s right in our own backyard in the city of Roslyn, Washington.
It is located only 80 miles from Seattle, which makes it such an effortless destination.
This short journey up through the pass is so full of Pacific Northwest beauty. If you choose to stop, which our family often has done over the years, there are multiple hikes and waterfalls to visit along the way.
Suncadia remains our family go to staycation resort for the last 5 years and has become a tradition for us to visit at least once a season.
In the Fall, we pack clothes for layering and a light jacket for those brisk evenings. We will often bring our bikes and will ride for hours around their massive 6,000 acre community.
The kids appreciate the heated indoor pool, which is located in the fitness center. The outdoor pool is closed in the fall until Memorial Day for the summer. But, the 2 water slides easily make up for this loss.
We just adore their trails in all seasons and will take our traditional family photo at the Cle Elum River, right behind the main lodge.
As winter approaches in Suncadia, it transforms into a winter wonderland with an abundance of snow, twinkling white lights, ice skating, nearby sleigh rides, and snow tubing down their own operated hill.
And if that’s not enough, The Summit at Snoqualmie is only 30 minutes away. And lets not forget to explore the iconic town of Roslyn.
We absolutely love their evening s’more gatherings around the fire pits at the main lodge. And yes, they do this in the winter too! It’s the best way to end the evening gathered as a family (often in our pj’s) after a day of fun.
But our most favorite time to be there is Spring and Summer. That Eastern Washington sun allows for all day adventures outside which includes swimming and relaxing by their amazing pools.
Suncadia has so much to offer for the entire family. It is a place where we can be together as a family while being active outdoors, unplug and relax.
We have stayed in a variety of their accommodations and have found them all to be excellent. I can’t say enough about this place except to go and check it out yourselves.
Suncadia recently added a new addition to the property called Nelsons Farm, which includes a pool with a lazy river. We can’t wait to head out there this summer to experience this ourselves.
We often leave Suncadia with our hearts full, memories created and happy faces eager to do it all over again!”
Thanks to Sothea from Mah Family Five for sharing! Follow her on Instagram.
Chloe, from Creatively Clo:
“Escape to a Bavarian Getaway right in the beautiful town of Leavenworth, with scenery to die for and architecture from southern Germany.
One simple drive through this area and you’d be forgiven for thinking you had inadvertently entered a portal and exited into the Swiss Alps in Europe.
The best time to go may be the December holidays, as the town is routinely snow filled and covered in great lights. Plus, there are several holiday themed events to see, like the lighting of the tree in the town square, and a local children’s choir singing Christmas carols.
Note: The holiday lights stay up through Valentine’s Day!
Leavenworth is a very easy drive, even for kids as it is only a little over 2 hours from Seattle. The town has several great shops fit for anyone interested in exploring them, and several beautiful places to walk through on on both a snowy or sunny day.
The restaurants also run the gamut of styles, and a genuine German style food and drinks is never far from reach.
One of the highlights is the waterfront park, with a few miles of flat trails that are easy to hike even in snowy weather. The scenery is gorgeous and the various bridges that frequent the path are neat to look at, as well.
When visiting the town of Leavenworth, the Sleeping Lady resort in Leavenworth is a perfect place to relax after a day in the snow, both indoors and out! The indoor accommodations are exquisite, and not just the place to sleep!
The resort is split over multiple buildings, and while that can be a little annoying if you want to go from one place to another in the snow, it does make you that much warmer when you make it indoors and you get a look at the beautiful scenery.
The resort has many different cabin types, such as the canine room for pet owners, double-decker bunks for larger families, and a standalone cabin for special occasions.
There is a wonderful pool for kids and hot tub for mom and dad. There is also a extensive library and game room for children and a large buffet dining area.”
Thanks to Chloe, from Creatively Clo, for this recommendation. Read her full post about a Bavarian Weekend in Leavenworth.
4. San Juan Island
Marcie from Marcie in Mommyland:
“For weekend getaways in Washington State, the San Juan Islands are truly a PNW treasure. Families can take a seaplane from Seattle or drive and take the ferry from Anacortes.
The ferry ride to from Anacortes to Friday Harbor (San Juan Island) takes about one hour.
We like to stay at the Earthbox Inn & Spa right in Friday Harbor. They have an indoor pool, which is a big hit for our kids. Plus, it’s easy to walk to cafes, restaurants, the ferry terminal, and more.
San Juan Island is pretty small and you can easily drive anywhere in a short amount of time.
The San Juan Islands Sculpture Park is fun for kids to run around. Plus, it’s right near Roche Harbor Resort, which has cute little shops and restaurants. And we enjoy stopping by Kevin Roth’s roadside attraction featuring his giant metal artwork.
One of our favorite things to do is go on a whale watching boat trip. Last time, we used San Juan Excursions and did a Whale Watching Tour.
They had lots of snacks for sale and coloring sheets for the kids. I’d recommend bringing lunch on board. We saw tons of wildlife and enjoyed the amazing scenery!”
Read my full post about San Juan Island here.
5. Kalaloch and Ruby Beach
Rob, from 2TravelDads:
“When it comes to escaping to nature, the Seattle area has tons of choices, but our favorite for a great beach is a weekend in Kalaloch on the Pacific Coast. It’s a 3-4 hour drive from Seattle.
Whether you plan to stay at the lodge or want to have a camping trip, it’s a great spot. A part of Olympic National Park, Kalaloch is a pristine, protected area and with Ruby Beach (also part of ONP) nearby, there’s never a dull moment.
Kalaloch is also home to the tree cave… which you just have to visit to understand how cool it is.
The beaches are great for kids with far reaches of sand for running and kite flying, there are tide pools at Ruby Beach, and the Quinault Rainforest is a short drive away.
Due to the remote location, there aren’t many restaurants, so planning a nice dinner at the Lake Quinault Lodge or bringing appropriate camping supplies and meals is recommended.
We love to visit Kalaloch on summer weekends to get away from the crowds other natural areas closer to the city tend to draw. It’s the perfect summer or fall weekend getaway. Oooh, bonus!
Visit Quinault Rainforest nearby in the fall for epic fall colors and easy, beautiful hiking!”
Thanks to Rob, from 2TravelDads, for this inside scoop! Read his full post about a Weekend at Kalaloch.
6. Mount Rainier National Park
Maegan, from Sounds Fun Mom:
“Mt. Rainier is about 2 hours from Seattle. It is a perfect park to explore with kids. There are easy hikes, family friendly campgrounds, and friendly rangers eager to help your kids learn more about this beautiful place.
Plus, you’ll get some breathtaking photo ops.
Our family loves to hike, and Mt. Rainier has hikes for everyone. Now that our boys are teenagers we love do to slightly longer outings, but you can see spectacular mountain views, waterfalls, and more with a short stroll.
Rangers can help you choose a suitable trail for your family. Be sure to also have your kids do the Junior Ranger program if you have time. It’s free, and your kids will love becoming Junior Rangers. I still remember my son’s excitement when he earned his.
- Be sure to go early, especially on a weekend, as parking can be a challenge.
- If you plan on doing any hiking you’ll want to bring along the Ten Essentials.
- Gas up before you enter the park as there are no gas stations in the park. We also bring our own food. There are some concessions available, but they’re limited and pricey.
- Always check road conditions (and closures/openings) before you head up.
- Beginning June 1st the single vehicle fee to enter the park is 30.00. An annual pass is 55.00.
If you have just one day to visit, you’ll likely want to head to Paradise, but Sunrise is also a great destination for families. No matter which route you take you’ll likely leave planning your next adventure at this special spot.
Pro tip: If it’s a sunny day you’ll blend right in with long time Seattle residents by saying, “The mountain is out.”
Thanks to Maegan from Sounds Fun Mom for these tips! Read her full post about the kid-friendly guide to Mt. Rainier.
7. Winthrop, WA
Marcie, from Marcie in Mommyland:
“If you are looking for a Wild West themed town, Winthrop is the best in the Northwest! What I like about Winthrop is that they do the “western” thing in a really cool way.
While there’s a nod to pioneer life, real people live and work here. So, that means boutique shops with items you actually want to buy and restaurants with farm-fresh food.
We like to stay at Hotel Rio Vista. It has the most amazing riverfront view from the balcony! It’s located right at the edge of “downtown” Winthrop, so you can walk everywhere.
Plus, the rooms have a mini fridge and microwave, making it perfect for storing and heating up leftovers.
My 4 year old got to spend a morning riding on a horse at Thunderfoot Riding, LLC in nearby Twisp. There were no seat belts, it was the real deal!
His instructor taught him how to ride his horse safely and with authority.
It was a great way for my son to learn patience, good listening skills, and how to follow instructions. Plus, he couldn’t stop smiling!
One of our family’s favorite adventures was participating in the Cowboy Dinner through Sun Mountain Lodge. Families with young children get to ride in a horse drawn covered wagon down to an outdoor camping spot. Older kids can ride horses down to camp.
Families can enjoy delicious food, horseback riding, live music, and a campfire with s’mores! The views going down and coming up are spectacular!”
Read my full post about Winthrop here.
8. Spokane, WA
Astrid, from The Wandering Daughter:
“Spokane is the second largest city in Washington state, and offers plenty of unique activities for families. There are over eighty parks within the city, including the popular Riverfront Park, with its iconic clocktower.
The city has several kid-friendly museums to visit, such as the Mobius Science Center and its affiliate, the Mobius Children’s Museum.
The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture also offers family-oriented exhibits, including a historic mansion called the Campbell House, where kids can learn all about what life was like in the early days of the city.
Several city-wide events throughout the year draw visitors from all over the United States, and sometimes the world.
The first event to kick off the year is Bloomsday, an annual family-friendly 12k run on the first Sunday of May.
The race winds through the streets of Spokane and brings in over 50,000 participants each year, kids and grown-ups alike. We love participating in it each year as a family because it truly feels like a community-wide event.
Other notable family-friendly events include Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and Pigout in the Park, which features over 50 local restaurants and over 70 local bands and musical acts.
With so many types of city-wide events, Spokane truly has something for everyone.
We enjoy visiting Spokane every year because there’s always something new to discover each time we come, whether it’s a new restaurant, a new store, or a new kid-friendly activity.
We love the family-friendly feel of Spokane, and the small town vibe is a refreshing break from the fast-pace lifestyle of Seattle.”
Thanks to Astrid from The Wandering Daughter for sharing! Read her full post about Spokane.
9. Poulsbo, WA
Tabitha, of Love Tabitha
Watch the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Rent a kayak, or visit the free SEA Discovery Center which has a touch tank and more. And don’t forget your dogs, they are a very pet friendly town.
My family LOVES visiting downtown Poulsbo; the Scandinavian theme, the simplicity of the town.
Only a short drive away, pack food or order take out from one of the restaurants in town and enjoy it at the park overlooking the bay/marina, find free parking right in the middle of town and just walk to everything.
I love that my whole family can come, no one has a problem with you bringing your dog to sit on the patio of the restaurant and there’s plenty for children to do.
We can’t visit Poulsbo without stopping into Sluy’s Bakery, my favorite is the butterflake rolls YUM!”
Thanks to Tabitha, of Love Tabitha, for this hidden gem!
10. Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA
Lindsay, from Carpe Diem Our Way:
“Great Wolf Lodge is about 80 miles south of Seattle and it takes about an hour and a half to drive there.
If you have not heard of Great Wolf Lodge, it is an indoor water park with locations around the United States and Canada. Pretty much a kids dream, it has a huge water park (where the water is warm all year round), endless activities and lots of places to eat.
One of the popular things to do is Magi Quest, as well as the outdoor ropes course and visiting the arcade. They even have mini-golf and a dance party!
It is so much more than just a water park. It is 24 hour entertainment!
There are onsite restaurants or you can bring your own food into the resort. WiFi is free and all of the rooms have a small fridge.
There is a Starbucks in the lobby, but it has a lot of weary eyed parents in the morning, so consider bringing extra coffee for the in-room machine.
If you want space, splurge for the Wolf Den which gives the kids bunk beds and their own space and a table to eat at. You can see our full review here and a full list of tips for your Great Wolf Lodge visit here.”
Thanks to Lindsay, from Carpe Diem Our Way, for these tips!
11. Portland, OR
Marcie, from Marcie in Mommyland:
“You can’t talk about Pacific Northwest weekend getaways without including Portland.
One of our favorite places for a weekend getaway in the summer/fall is Portland, Oregon. It’s about a 3 hour drive south of Seattle (when traffic is normal.) It’s a foodie town with lots of food trucks and quirky events.
Portland awesome for families because there lots of kid-friendly activities like the Oregon Zoo and OMSI. Plus, there are tons of parks, family-friendly restaurants, and cool independent stores.
We like to stay at the Inn at Northup Station because it’s right outside a streetcar stop. It makes it easy to hop on to head to Powell’s Used Books or grab dinner without dealing with parking.
Plus, their lobby has lots of Starburst and Salt Water Taffy and lots of board games.”
Read my full post about Portland, OR here.
12. Tacoma, WA
Terumi of An Emerald City Life:
“We love Tacoma for a Seattle getaway because it’s only about an hour drive away but when we stay overnight there it still feels like a vacation.
We recently stayed at the Silver Cloud Inn, the only waterfront hotel in the area, and loved exploring the beaches and little cafes around Point Ruston.
The Point Defiance Zoo here is a must-visit with kids and my family is very excited for the expansion on the Pacific Seas Aquarium that is opening this summer. They also love watching the glassblowers create sculptures at the Museum of Glass.
If you think you’ll do a bit of sightseeing in the city there is a Tacoma Museum pass that can help save you some money on area attractions as well.
The Chihuly Glass Bridge is free to visit and is one of the coolest public art works we’ve ever seen.”
Thanks Terumi of An Emerald City Life for these ideas! Read her full post about Tacoma, WA.
Valerie, from Wanderlust Wookies:
“Looking for a location rich in natural beauty, culture, and history?
While there are many wonderful places within Washington State which fit this bill, there is one special location uniquely beautiful and sacred ~ Neah Bay, on the Northwestern tip of Washington State, flanking the mighty Pacific Ocean.
Although a solid 4 hour drive West from Seattle (includes a ferry ride!), the journey itself is beautiful, and the rewards on arrival are plentiful.
In any season, Neah Bay is magic.With easy, well-maintained trails, the hikes are great for trekkers of all ages and abilities. Our family loves the rugged coastline and the forests full of ferns and mushrooms!
Upon arrival, make sure you stop at the Museum to pick up a Recreation Permit. This $10 permit will give you access to the Makah lands and it’s available activities.
While there, enjoy the Museum as a way to provide a great foundation for your weekend adventure ~ there are also different festivals throughout the year to celebrate Makah culture.
A great place to stay is at the Hobuck Beach Resort, where you can either rent cabins (dog-friendly cabins available), hook up an RV, or pitch a tent.
The property sits right next to a wide sandy beach, a perfectly lovely spot to play and splash in the waves!
The two most popular hikes in the area are at Cape Flattery (0.75 walk to a coastal outlook point) and Shi Shi Beach (2 miles hike down to a secluded beach).
Shi Shi Beach is also a great spot for overnight backpackers, but be sure you consult a tide table before pitching that tent and store your food in bear canisters!”
Thanks to Valerie, from Wanderlust Wookies for this idea! Read her full post about Neah Bay + Makah lands.
Marcie, from Marcie in Mommyland:
“One of the trendiest family getaways in Washington State is Seabrook. It’s a development on Pacific Beach right on the Washington Coast. It’s made up of adorable rental cottages with even more adorable names.
Seabrook is still growing, but right now there’s several restaurants and shops. My kids love getting ice cream cones! And we love the option of grabbing pizza for dinner!
Seabrook is a great spot if you are vacationing with friends or extended family. You can rent one large home to share, or rent several cottages near each other.
There are several outdoor fire pits, playgrounds, and a farm with children’s activities.
But, the biggest draw is the beach itself! There’s a cool trail to the beach from Seabrook through the woods where you’ll pass by lots of tiny gnome houses! Kids are encouraged to create their own to add to the forest!
Once you get to the beach, kids can spend hours flying kites, playing in the sand, collecting shells, etc.”
Read my full post about Seabrook here.
15. Grayland & Westport WA
Bree, from Rain and Pine:
Thanks to Bree, from Rain and Pine, for this suggestion. Read her full post about Grayland & Wesport.
16. Oregon Coast
Lyndsey, from Boy Moms Unite:
“One of our favorite weekend getaways is the Oregon Coast! You can get there in less than 4 hours from Seattle, and it’s a must-do if you want to experience everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
We have three little boys so we like to rent a cottage via VRBO.com close to the beach with separate bedrooms, full kitchens & laundry facilities for those sandy towels.
It’s easy to find rental properties within walking distance of shops, diners & the beach; you can’t go wrong with Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita or any of the nearby oceanfront towns.
Our boys love playing on the beach (bring sweatshirts, it’s cold!), digging in the sand, flying kites or building bonfires. You can drive right onto the sand in Oregon!
There are lots of fun shops close to the beach — it seems like every town has a saltwater taffy shop across from the sand.
Don’t miss the famous tide pools at Cannon Beach (make sure to check the tide schedules first) or scenic Tillamook to tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory — they’re building a brand new visitors center that opens this summer, where you can get all the cheese & ice cream samples you want!
You can also visit the picturesque town of Astoria and ride the seaside trolley, climb the steps of the Astoria Column, or find the famous house from The Goonies movie. 🙂
The Oregon Coast is a perfect weekend getaway destination — just far enough to feel like you’re getting away from it all, but close enough to Seattle that you don’t need a whole day to get there. I hope you love it as much as we do!”
Thanks Lyndsey, from Boy Moms Unite for rounding out our list!
Even More Pacific Northwest Family Vacation Getaways
Downtown Victoria, BC Romantic Weekend Getaway from Seattle
Squamish Attractions for Families Visiting Vancouver, BC
Braving Capilano Suspension Bridge with a Toddler
Pacific Northwest Girls Weekend in Astoria, Oregon
How to Explore the Oregon Zoo in Portland with Preschoolers
Take a Seattle Argosy Cruise to Kid-Friendly Tillicum Village