4 Best Family Road Trip Vacations in Oregon

4 Best Family Road Trip Vacations in OregonOREGON - Oregon is a Pacific Northwest paradise filled with diverse landscapes, charming towns, and a wealth of family-friendly attractions. With its stunning coastline, majestic mountains, and lush forests, a driving vacation through Oregon is an unforgettable experience. Here's your ultimate guide to planning the best Oregon road trip for your whole family.

4 Best Family Road Trip Vacations in Oregon
4 Best Family Road Trip Vacations in Oregon

Oregon Road Trips: Family-Friendly Adventures in the Beaver State

Coastal Adventures: The Oregon Coast Highway

  • Route: US Highway 101, spanning the entire Oregon Coast.
  • Highlights: Cannon Beach (Haystack Rock), Seaside (classic boardwalk), Newport (Oregon Coast Aquarium), Florence (sea lion caves), Bandon (face rock).
  • Kid-Friendly Activities: Beachcombing, tide pool exploration, kite flying, aquarium visits, dune buggy rides, sea lion watching.

Begin your coastal exploration in Astoria, a historic port town where "The Goonies" was filmed. Stretch your legs in Cannon Beach and hunt for puffins near Haystack Rock, then enjoy old-fashioned boardwalk fun in Seaside. In Newport, marvel at sea creatures in the world-class Oregon Coast Aquarium. Further south, explore the otherworldly sea lion caves near Florence and ride dune buggies in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Wrap up your coastal adventure with a stroll among the picturesque sea stacks of Bandon.

Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood

  • Route: Historic Columbia River Highway (Route 30) and I-84, with a detour to Mt. Hood.
  • Highlights: Multnomah Falls, Hood River (windsurfing capital), Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood Scenic Loop.
  • Kid-Friendly Activities: Waterfall hikes, windsurfing lessons, scenic train rides, lodge exploration.

The Columbia River Gorge is a natural wonder boasting over 90 waterfalls. Stop at the iconic Multnomah Falls for breathtaking views. Take a detour to the charming town of Hood River, known for windsurfing and kiteboarding, where older kids can try fun water sports. Continue to the majestic Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and enjoy panoramic views. Embark on the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop with stops for nature trails and a potential visit to the Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum.

Willamette Valley: Wine Country and Waterfalls

  • Route: Interstate 5 Corridor through Eugene, Corvallis, and Salem, with side trips to Silver Falls State Park.
  • Highlights: Eugene (University of Oregon), Corvallis (Oregon State University), Silver Falls State Park, Oregon Garden.
  • Kid-Friendly Activities: Campus exploration, Children's museums, waterfall hikes, garden walks.

For a mix of urban fun and nature, explore the Willamette Valley. In Eugene, visit the vibrant campus of the University of Oregon or the kid-friendly Science Factory Children's Museum & Exploration Dome. In Corvallis, tour Oregon State University and learn about beavers! Detour east to Silver Falls State Park to immerse yourselves in the lush beauty of ten stunning waterfalls, including the famous South Falls, where you can walk behind the cascade. End your trip at the Oregon Garden, a delightful spot for a relaxing stroll among colorful displays.

Bend and Central Oregon: High Desert Delights

  • Route: Highway 97 through Bend, with detours to Smith Rock State Park and Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
  • Highlights: Bend (Old Mill District), Smith Rock State Park (rock climbing), Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Sunriver (resort town).
  • Kid-Friendly Activities: River rafting, rock climbing lessons, exploring lava caves, resort activities.

Discover the high desert oasis of Bend, an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Stroll along the river in the Old Mill District, then marvel at the towering rock formations at Smith Rock State Park. Explore the otherworldly landscapes of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, where you can delve into lava tubes and hike to the top of a cinder cone. For a family-friendly resort experience, head to Sunriver for activities like swimming, horseback riding, and biking.

Tips for a Successful Oregon Family Road Trip

  • Pack for all seasons: Oregon weather can be unpredictable, so bring layers, rain gear, and sunscreen.
  • Consider a mix of lodging: Combine hotels with campgrounds or vacation rentals for a variety of experiences.
  • Build in spontaneity: Leave room for unexpected roadside attractions, picnic spots, and spontaneous detours.
  • Involve the kids: Let your kids help with the planning and choose activities that interest them.
  • Embrace the journey: The drive itself is part of the adventure in Oregon! Enjoy the views, play road trip games, and savor the quality family time.

Oregon's diverse beauty and wealth of family-friendly attractions make it the perfect destination for a memorable road trip. Start planning your adventure today!