10 cool places to visit on Oregon family vacations

If you’re looking for fun things to do on Oregon family vacations, you’ll have options for entertainment across the entire state. From exploring Portland’s quirky culture and camping in Mount Hood National Forest to exploring kid-friendly museums in Ashland, there are plenty of family attractions in Oregon. Learn about some of the beautiful, wild, and interesting places you can visit on an Oregon family vacation with kids.

1. Visit the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Portland

There are so many cool things to do with kids in Oregon’s largest city, Portland. For kid-friendly museums, you can check out the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with interactive exhibits and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center for vintage train rides. You’ll find animal exhibits and play spaces at the Oregon Zoo and a nostalgic skating rink and kiddie rides at Oaks Amusement Park. Beautiful outdoor spaces range from the International Rose Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. Kids especially enjoy taking the Portland Aerial Tram for scenic views over the city skyline.

2. Go mountain biking in Bend

Bend offers unique outdoor adventures for family vacations in Oregon, thanks to its combination of mountains, hills, valleys, and an extinct volcano. Mountain biking is popular in this area, with Bend housing some of the best mountain biking trails in the state. The High Desert Museum is popular with kids and features Old West-style cultural and natural history exhibits. You can hike the extinct volcano at Pilot Butte or tour a mile-long lava tube at Lava River Cave. In winter months, you’ll find alpine sports at Bachelor Ski and Sports for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tubing.

3. Catch a Shakespeare performance in Ashland

Ashland is a great spot to visit to appreciate art and culture with kids in Oregon. In Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, you can catch diverse productions throughout the year across 3 stages. You can check out contemporary art collections at the Schneider Museum of Art or head to Ashland Creek for scenic hiking trails along the water. Kids love the immersive exhibits at the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, which offers a collection of learning-through-play-style showcases. In the summer months, kids can cool off on the splash pad at Garfield Park.

4. Hike to waterfalls in Hood River

The beauty across Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area draws many to Hood River for Oregon family vacations. Some of the family-friendly hiking trails through Columbia River Gorge overlook massive rock formations, scenic forests, and cascading waterfalls. You can visit the Mount Hood Railroad to learn about railway history and go on an excursion through the mountains on a heritage train. At Rotary Park, you’ll find a great skate park for skateboarding and biking. Adults can enjoy Hood River’s many wineries, offering tastings and tours throughout the year.

5. Go camping in Mount Hood National Forest

Family fun in Oregon can be found within the expansive Mount Hood National Forest. The centerpiece of the park is Mount Hood, a dormant volcano topped with glacier peaks, ski slopes and trails, and sparkling alpine lakes. Camping within Mount Hood National Forest is a popular family activity that provides opportunities for scenic hiking trails to Multnomah Falls, Trillium Lake, Oneonta Gorge, and the Bridge of the Gods. In winter, alpine sports and activities can be enjoyed across multiple locations in the Mount Hood National Forest, ranging from snow tubing and snowshoeing treks to cross-country and downhill skiing.

6. Visit the Oregon State Capitol in Salem

There are lots of unique family attractions in Oregon’s capital city of Salem. If you have younger kids, you’ll definitely want to check out the Gilbert House Children’s Museum with its colorful, hands-on exhibits for kids across 3 historic houses. For outdoor activities, you can explore themed gardens at The Oregon Garden and run around playgrounds at Bush’s Pasture Park. Historic sites you can visit in Salem include the Oregon State Capitol complex, Deepwood Museum and Gardens, and the Willamette Heritage Center. Be sure to ride Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, an indoor ride hand-carved by local artisans.

7. Explore low-tide pools at Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is a beautiful place to visit with kids on the Oregon coast. At low tide, you can walk out to Haystack Rock, a natural sea stack just offshore, to explore low-tide pools and marine life. Seasonally, you’ll see tufted puffins around Haystack Rock, their home base. You’ll be able to take some great family photos and enjoy scenic hiking trails along the area’s bucolic beaches, from Hug Point State Recreation Site to Tillamook Head and Ecola State Park.

8. Take a scenic drive through Crater Lake National Park

Within Crater Lake National Park, you’ll find incredible rock formations, volcanic islands, and gorgeous panoramic views of the countryside. Head down Rim Drive for a scenic drive around Crater Lake, where you’ll be able to see some of the most popular viewing points and scenic overlooks in the area. Scenic hiking trails wind throughout the park, providing breathtaking views over the volcanic islands in Crater Lake, unique rock formations like Phantom Ship, and cascading waterfalls.

9. Splash and play in the water in Seaside

Seaside offers a great mix of relaxation and quiet beauty with entertainment and family fun in Oregon. Seaside Beach is a beautiful place to visit with kids year-round, especially in the evening as the sun sets over the water. You can visit Seaside Aquarium for marine life exhibits and a kid-friendly touch tank and enjoy go-karts and miniature golf at Captain Kid Amusement Park.

10. Visit sea lions in Newport

Newport is known for coastal beauty, historic locations, and diverse local wildlife. Family attractions in Newport, Oregon, range from marine life exhibits at the Oregon Coast Aquarium to strolling down the shore at Nye Beach and touring the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Kid-favorite activities in Newport include watching the playful antics of sea lions on the Newport Sea Lion Docks and checking out quirky exhibits in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.