• Florence

    Oregon Dunes (Florence) with Kids

    The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area — the largest coastal sand dunes in North America – makes you feel exactly like Luke Skywalker. Well, maybe you won’t look or sound like him, but after 10 minutes here, you’ll empathize with Luke’s long walk over those huge, majestic dunes on Tatooine. Naturally, kids LOVE this place. As if  dropped right into a giant’s sandbox, you’ll find giant 500-foot-tall (152 m.) peaked mounds and “tree islands,” where trees cluster together, surrounded by sand. The Oregon Dunes NRA Visitors Center offers hiking tips through the dunes, info on the area’s natural history and summertime programs on the plants and animals of the dunes. No tusken…

  • Walla Walla Balloon Stampede

    30 Things to Do with Kids in Walla Walla

    Walla Walla, a cute little Washington State college town, offers wonderful family activities and an escape from big-city stress. This week, we talk with Walla Walla resident Ben to discover more about this Eastern Washington burg. Why do you like Walla Walla? Ben: We love Walla Walla because it really is a beautiful town with lush parks and a vibrant downtown.  We enjoy a full four seasons here, from a hot summer to clear, crisp fall days, often snowy winters and our gorgeous spring (when the dogwood trees bloom in April it’s particularly nice!). We have a strongly diversified local economy; while many national retailers have come and gone, our locally-owned…

  • Kid-friendly Trip Ideas

    15 Haunted Spots in BC, Oregon and Washington

    What’s that strange noise in the hotel? Hopefully it’s a ghost, not a blown-out water heater. Here are 15 goofy, ghastly spots in Cascadia to delight your easily-spooked big kids. At right, the Davenport Hotel’s lobby. Can you spot a spectre? (I can’t, either!) Washington Haunted Spots Mt. Baker Theatre, Bellingham Judy didn’t want to leave, but she was evicted from her home to make way for the 1917 theater. So she’s supposedly returned, year after year, to haunt the theatre, showing up as gusts of cold air and the sound of old-timey skirts. Read more about Mt. Baker Theatre’s ghost stories. Roche Harbor Resort, San Juan Island The cemetery…

  • Mt Hood at Night
    Mt. Hood

    Peak Escape: Timberline Lodge, Oregon with kids

    Sleeping in your overstuffed bed at Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s 11,239-foot Mount Hood, you may feel like you’re the only mama on the mountain. Yes, despite your children snoring in their beds. Knotty doug fir paneling wraps you up in a cabin-like interior  — and whether rain or snow falls, it’s cozy and silent inside. We recently visited Timberline Lodge for an overnight stay, and I can’t recommend it enough. The lodge offers ski lifts right outside the door  and 1930s-era history inside the somber stone walls. Built as part of a WPA project to put the unemployed back to work, the lodge’s timber frame still stands solid at 5,960 feet (right…

  • Crater Lake,  John Day Fossil Beds,  Mount Rainier,  San Juan Islands

    7 Don’t-Miss Oregon & Washington National Parks for Kids

    Desert sands, old-growth forests, mountain glaciers, spooky caves, dino bones and pig wars. There, I’ve summed up the National Parks for you — but your kids need to see these sights for themselves. Here are seven don’t-miss National Parks in Washington and Oregon, in honor of National Park Week. Can you visit all the parks by the time your offspring turn 18? John Day Fossil Beds (Oregon). Can you imagine dry Eastern Oregon covered with rainforest? It was in prehistoric times. Three separate land areas – or “units” as the NPS calls them – make up the John Day Fossil Beds, a window into the past. Dino bones are still…