The state of Oregon offers a number of family vacation destinations. There aren't big theme parks or many big-city attractions, but kids that love to be outdoors will go crazy for all that Oregon has to offer. From the Pacific beaches on the west coast to the white-water rapids on the eastern rivers, the entire state has a magical quality that will enchant young kids, teens, and adults.
Most of these locations require a car, so expect to make some lifelong road trip memories in addition to enjoying the natural beauty. After you visit Oregon once, you'll want to keep returning to see what more the Beaver State has hidden away to discover.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area runs along the Oregon Coast, from Florence to Coos Bay. The dunes themselves provide for a range of fun activities, including horseback riding, off-road vehicle treks, camping, and hiking. The Oregon Dunes are part of Siuslaw National Forest, where you can enjoy forest, river, and ocean beach recreation. Other nearby attractions include the Sea Lion Caves, Heceta Head and Umpqua lighthouses, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
There's so much fun to be had in and around Bend, Oregon, you'll find yourself visiting again and again. The city of Bend offers great parks, fun shopping, tasty food, and the excellent High Desert Museum. The region's landscape is unique and gorgeous; you can explore it at Smith Rock State Park, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.
Hood River, Oregon, and the Columbia River Gorge are hot spots for lovers of wind, water, and spectacular scenery. Visitors come from around the world to take advantage of the Gorge's steady wind conditions, ideal for windsurfing, kite sailing, and other extreme water sports. Hood River also draws visitors who want to hike, bike, or drive the hills and bluffs along the Gorge and in nearby Mt. Hood National Forest.
Seaside, Oregon, one of the oldest tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest, is a fun place for families or for the young at heart. While in Seaside you can stroll the Promenade, fly a kite on the beach, feed the seals at the Seaside Aquarium, or learn a bit about Lewis and Clark history. There's a huge sandy beach, lots of opportunities for play, and tasty treats of all kinds.
Located in Oregon's northeast corner and crossing into Idaho, Hell's Canyon is heaven for lovers of outdoor recreation. Families will enjoy whitewater rafting on the Snake River, as well as hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking. You'll experience spectacular and varied scenery from meadows and forests to jagged mountains and alpine lakes. Outfitters and guides provide unique access throughout the Hells Canyon area via jet boats, shuttles, or mule or llama treks.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is chock full of unusual things that kids will find interesting. The area is a hotbed of paleontological research, and you'll have the opportunity to see a variety of fossils at John Day's visitor center, at a laboratory, or in the field. Once the site of an ancient tropical forest, the John Day River basin is also home to colorful and unique rock formations. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is located in sparsely-populated Eastern Oregon. Nearby recreation spots include the Malheur, Ochoco, and Umatilla National Forests.
Newport, on the Oregon Coast, offers a long list of fun things to do for any family. You can head out on a whale-watching cruise, tour a world-class aquarium, fly kites on the beach, check out a historic lighthouse, or enjoy a meal of fresh-caught seafood. Newport provides year-round opportunities for an exhilarating family getaway.