Possibly one of the most objectively beautiful places in the world and the ninth-biggest state in the USA, Oregon has a lot to shout about – especially if you’re looking for things to do with the kids.
The film nerds amongst us know it as a favoured filming spot for iconic Stephen King remakes like ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘The Shining’. Don’t worry; this trip will be a lot more enjoyable than a 5-month stay at the Overlook Hotel (although only with our help). That being said, like Stand By Me, there will be a lot of walking!
Oregon is perfect for active family vacations due to its national parks, hiking trails and stunning scenery. But, as we said, there’s a lot to see. Here’s our guide on the best things to do in Oregon with kids.
- What is the weather like in Oregon?
- Where should you stay in Oregon?
- The 9 best things to Do in Oregon with Kids
- So, what are you waiting for?
What is the weather like in Oregon?
Across the year, weather in Oregon tends to vary. The summers are long with high temperatures and rain. The winters are freezing, snowy, and windy. It is partly cloudy all year round! Over the course of the year, the temperature typically ranges from 14°F to 83°F and is rarely below -8°F or above 90°F.
With this in mind and the list of attractions available in the state, we recommend visiting Oregon in the early summer or fall to make the most of the amazing outdoor activities.
Where should you stay in Oregon?
There’s a massive selection of accommodations to explore in the state, depending on the type of holiday you’re planning with the family.
Whether you want to wake up to a vibrant city skyline or a scenic river trail, this hospitable state has it all.
Radisson Hotel Portland Airport
The Radisson Hotel is a comfortable, affordable option in the middle of one of the top cities in the state. It’s a perfect option for travellers flying in at Portland Airport, too.
Alongside being close to the airport, it’s also close to a visitor center! This is just next to the airport.
In this family-friendly hotel, there’s a gym, super fast wifi and kids stay free!
Eagle Rock Lodge
Prefer to stay out in the sticks? We’ve got you covered. A 40-minute drive East of Eugene, this lodge mixes luxury with that famous Oregon countryside.
Waking up to mountain views, Eagle rock lodge has over 4 acres of landscaped gardens, on-site fishing and complimentary breakfasts to die for. Be sure to try out some of their famous homemade granola, too!
The 9 best things to Do in Oregon with Kids
1. Crater Lake National Park
This amazing lake is a record holder! At 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America.
The park is famous for its incredible blue-colored lake, stunning views and unique hiking trails. You can explore some of Oregon’s famous terrain and (depending on the weather) swim in parts of Crater Lake. This one is perfect for family photo opportunities, be ready to show those pearly whites!
This park is an entire holiday destination in itself, with avid explorers often choosing to stay in the nearby cabins for weeks at a time. There are plenty of shops and services nearby for people looking to escape busy towns and cities.
Top tip: Bring some good shoes! Although there are easier trails in the area, the best views of the national park are found when you tackle some of the more rugged terrain.
2. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
This museum has mastered the art of making learning fun!
In a truly immersive experience, guests can explore a number of topics within science, staying entertained and learning at the same time. Personal favourites of visitors are the submarine tour and the space museum section, where people can learn more about planets, meteor showers and moons.
There’s something for the whole family here; the attentive staff lead interactive sessions for younger children, offering a hands-on approach to learning. This museum will make your kids love science with their variety of labs around physics, chemistry and biology. For even younger children, try out the “science playground” sessions.
With all of its mesmerising activities, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of the most interesting and exciting things to do in Oregon with your kids.
3. Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a real gem of the state, with people coming far and wide to experience its near-spiritual setting by this amazing river! This one is ideal for a cost-effective day out; why not bring a picnic and make a day of it?
Spending a day strolling across the river, visitors can expect to see several waterfalls, the famous scenic railroad and plenty of wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot the river otters pottering around, eating and foraging.
Top tip: If you have time, visit Bonneville Fish Hatchery. This beautiful ground lets visitors get up close and personal with the wildlife of the surrounding area. Bring some quarters with you if you plan to visit here so that you can feed rainbow trout!
4. Gilbert House Children’s Museum
Gilbert House is a private museum, perfect for families with younger kids. The museum is dedicated to providing innovative and stimulating educational experiences carefully put together to spark children’s natural curiosity.
With a load of rooms covering different themes like engineering, visual effects and craft, this one is much more suited to families with smaller children as appose to teenagers.
Top tip: bring some spare clothes, as some of the activities here can be a bit messy!
5. Oregon Zoo
A trip to the zoo, one of the most classic family-friendly attractions. Close to the centre of Portland, the Zoo’s ethos is all about connecting the community to wildlife in order to make a better future for everyone.
This zoo is home to over 160 different species of animal, 20 of them being endangered; we’d be very surprised if your favourite doesn’t live somewhere in here! Our personal favourites include the cougars, sea lions and flamingos.
Top tip: visit during ZooNights! On these winter evenings, the zoo is transformed into a wonderland, with LED lights across the area to completely reshape the experience.
6. Enchanted Forrest
The Enchanted Forest allows visitors to step into another world of fantasy!
in this majestic forest, the family can navigate around perfectly crafted attractions, go on rides and watch live performances in this unique playscape.
Don’t be fooled by the name; this theme park isn’t just for young kids. There’s something for all of the family here with bumper cars, interactive stories and even a haunted house. You’ll see who in the family is brave enough to split up and look for clues…
Just down the road from the state’s capital, Salem, this is not one to be missed.
7. Oaks Amusement Park
This theme park is one of the oldest in America, dating back to 1905! With a selection of high-impact thrill rollercoasters, classic family rides, and small children’s rides, Oaks amusement park is kitted out with attractions for the whole family.
It’s not all about seeking a thrill, though. The park also stays true to its old-school roots with the inclusion of roller skating, go-karts and miniature golf. If you’re looking for a homely yet exciting day out, this theme park is a great option.
8. Oregon Coast Aquarium
The Oregan Coast Aquarium is one of the top attractions in the state.
Complete with interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits; this seaside aquarium is a great way for the family to observe marine life and learn more about their world.
There are some once-in-a-lifetime interactive exhibits here; visitors can take part in feeding sessions, touch jellyfish and even scuba dive amongst some of the animals!
9. The Oregon Coast
The Oregon coast is one of the most engaging and beautiful parts of the state; there’s no better (free) experience than strolling along a sandy beach with your family, observing sea life and being present to everything around you!
This coast is pretty vast, spanning some 363 miles of rugged shoreline, hiking trails, tide pools and 11 lighthouses! We figured you haven’t got the time to hike the 300+ miles, so here are some of our favourites.
Cannon Beach is one of Oregon’s most popular coastal towns and arguably the state’s most iconic beach. Picturesque, memorable and almost dreamlike, this beach summarises the best of Oregon’s coastline. Haystack Rock stands out as a drawing point for tourists, making for some great photo opportunities!
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
This nineteenth-century lighthouse on a stunning part of the Pacific coast is one of the only built in the area with the light keeper’s quarters in the same building. This is an incredibly scenic area and a great stop for people looking to learn a little bit more about the coastal history of Oregon.
“Small town, big beach”, You might be thinking of The Ramones, well, you’ll have to go to the other side of the country to visit that Rockaway Beach! This beach is a favourite amongst families for its homely, wholesome atmosphere away from your typical beach tourism antics. You can go crab fishing at Kelly’s Brighton Marina, walk along the trails or simply have an ice cream, watching the waves crash in on this friendly seaside town.
The Sealion Caves
Everyone loves sea lions, we won’t hear otherwise! This geographical marvel makes for a fascinating journey as you encounter America’s largest naturally formed basalt rock sea cave. If you take a look at their website, we can guarantee you’ll make time for this attraction.
So, what are you waiting for?
You’re just about ready to start your Oregon vacation, embarking on a trip that you can now agree is perfect for kids and adults alike!
If there’s one last thing we can tell you before you embark, Oregon is a state that rewards curiosity and exploration, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track and explore places you wouldn’t normally!
If you’re planning to move around a little, why don’t you let us help? We have a load of content expertly made to help enhance your vacation in the States.
Frequently Asked Questions about Oregon
How many days do you need in Oregon?
You could easily spend months exploring the country’s ninth-largest state, but if you don’t have that much time, you can cut it down anywhere from a 5 day to a two-week trip.
Ideally, you should plan at least a week to two weeks to truly appreciate its scenery!
What is Oregon most known for?
Oregon is popular because of its diverse landscape and many opportunities for outdoor fun, including scenic bikeways, vast forests, and tranquil lakes. It’s great for family vacations because of this inclusive range of things to do!
What is the cheapest month to visit Oregon?
If you’re flying to Oregon, According to Sky Scanner across the main airports in the state, the cheapest month to fly to Portland is November. The cheapest month to fly to Medford is October, and the cheapest month to fly to North Bend is May.
What part of Oregon is most scenic?
In terms of outdoor beauty, many locals consider Hood National Forest to be the most scenic place.
More about our TFVG Author
Ross lives for the sun, sea and SNOW! Anything involving a snowboard, polarised shades and sheddin steep peaks, he is there.