spring break family trips in the pacific northwest
Pacific Northwest Spring Break with Kids

Aquariums to Volcanoes: 25 spring break ideas

So, what are you doing for spring break? A whole week — and me without plans. So I came up with a list of 25 great ways to spend your family time, from half-day museum visits to multi-day resort experiences.

1. Go tidepooling at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Ore, Shi Shi Beach, Wash., or Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew, BC.

2. You’ve done 3D – now go for the 4D experience at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, BC.

3. Spend the night on an active volcano — sleep at the National Park Inn on Mt. Rainier.

4. Skip the petting zoo and go on a farm stay.

5. Park your car — you won’t need it in the pedestrian wonderland of Whistler, BC  — then slip down the slopes at the Tube Park.

6. Identify wildflowers on an Oregon-based Columbia Gorge hike.

7. Expose the kids to art – for free – at a Seattle museum.

8. Look for Pokemon toys at the Asian-Canadian supermall Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC.

9. Go for a family ride in one of the most “bike friendly cities” in the U.S.: Portland, Ore.

10. Visit Spokane’s Riverfront Park, a family-friendly playground with 15 super-cool attractions.

11. Touch Moon meteorites and Martian rocks at OMSI’s Space exhibit, in Portland, Ore.

12. Look for the Ogopogo Monster in Lake Okanagan, BC.

13. Watch glassblowers create liquid art in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop in Tacoma, Wash.

14. Ride the new Rose Carousel at the Butchart Gardens.

15. Visit the sea lion caves in Florence, Oregon.

16. Use coupons for family-friendly fun on Central Vancouver Island, BC.

17. Go whale watching among the San Juan Islands, Wash.

18. Take the kids skiing – for free – on Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor.

19. Chill out at Harrison Hot Springs in Harrison, BC.

20. Dig into the prehistoric past at the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute in Fossil, Ore.

21. Tour the weird and wacky Roadside America stops around Cascadia.

22. Fly a kite or dig for clams in Long Beach, Wash.

23. Ride the Mount Hood Railroad in Mt. Hood, Ore.

24. Let the kids bounce off (someone else’s) walls at Sky High Sports in Bellevue, Wash.

25. Close your eyes, point to a map of BC, Washington and Oregon. Where did your finger land? Drive there. Tell me what you find.

Or do you have a spring break hot spot to share? Tell us all about it…

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.


  • Sarah

    We went to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney on the weekend, as well as the Sidney Museum, which is about the cutest museum ever (plus it had an awesome Lego exhibit – sadly only until Mar 31). Sidney is a great 1/2 day or full day visit.

  • Anna

    Well, I clicked on some links, did some reading, booked some rooms, and we’re doing it ALL. It’s gonna be a fun Spring Break! Thanks, Lora!

  • Leah Adams

    With one child signed up for an all-day sports camp during Spring Break and work demands breathing down my neck, my plans are tied to exploring Seattle half a day at a time with the other child. I think we might kill some time hanging at some of the larger bookstores – University Bookstore, Secret Garden or Elliott Bay Bookstore. I’d love to spend some time walking the streets, looking at city architecture. Are there any docent-led city walks, or printed guides?
    .-= Leah Adams´s last blog ..Hatching Plans =-.

  • Lora (Tripping with Kids)

    Hi Lora,
    Just found your site. We are planning to head up through northern CA and up to OR, WA, and as far high as I can dare dream over the summer. I’m glad to find your site to help me plan out some ideas.