Hi Friends! This past summer we went on a fun and non-stressful family vacation. Can non-stressful and family go hand in hand?? Yes, it did for us when we went to Portland with kids. We did something that everyone liked and it ended up being one of our best (and cheapest) vacations!
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Flights for a family of five is never cheap. We have just recently started flying more (because I’m not a fan, but I’m trying to get over it!), so we now have credit cards that give us travel points. We travel on Southwest a lot because it’s cheaper, and we can use our points for our credit card and the SW frequent flyer program.
We always like to split up our vacations a little and stay in two different places. We flew into Portland from Sacramento, rented a car, and drove to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Oregon. It ended up being the perfect days for us, because it was raining those first two days. The drive was less than an hour and a half from the airport.
If you haven’t heard of the Great Wolf Lodge before, it is a huge hotel with a water park inside! Perfect for kiddos! There are a few around the west coast and this was our first time at one. The price of the water park is included in the hotel fee so it ends up being a great deal.
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about the Great Wolf Lodge at TripAdvisor.
I booked early and they were having a 50% promotion so we got a great deal. We didn’t do any upgrades or pay for any of the scavenger hunts or anything else they were trying to sell when we got there.
The boys and my hubby went to the water park the first night we got in. Then we all spent the next day at the park. There were 3-4 water slides, toddler play area, big tide pool, swimming pool with obstacle course across it and an inside/outside hot tub. And lots of food!
This hotel is very geared towards young kids with activities happening all afternoon too. There were hula hoop contests, magic shows, little plays, PJ night and story, etc. My kids were a little too old for all of these extras.
I wish this place was around when my kids were younger. It’s a perfect destination vacation where the kids can play, and then go upstairs and take their nap, and come back down and play again. I think eight and under would really love the place. My 12-year-old liked it for a few hours and then was done. My 7 seven-year old had the most fun! My daughter read a book…
There is also a huge obstacle/zip lining course outside that you can pay extra for. My hubby and boys tried it and my youngest didn’t last long. He liked the zip lining part but not the walking on ropes high off the ground part. My kiddos are pretty cautious though. There were kids his age having a great time on it!
We stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for two nights. We checked out and drove to the visitor center at Mt. St. Helens. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The visitor center was fun and informative. We watched a short movie on the history of the volcano and listened to a park ranger also give an engaging talk.
The center itself had a lot of pictures and some interactive activities. I could have stayed a lot longer but the kids go through things fast! There was a short hike off the back side of the center which was beautiful.
We did not drive the extra hour to the rim. Our boys get car sick and so we decided against the windy road.
After Mt. St. Helens we drove to our VRBO in Lake Oswego, OR. Lake Oswego is a very cute and quaint town with some very nice houses! We rented a cute two bedroom cottage a few blocks from the downtown strip. You can read all about the house on VRBO here.
We loved walking around the neighborhood in the evenings to look at all the unique houses. They didn’t have fences around them and the grass was so green! Much different from what we are used too! One of my favorite houses in the neighborhood!
The cottage had a large backyard so we ate dinner outside and the kids loved running around.
We had family and friends in Portland who showed us some sites. For my book lover, we of course, had to visit Powell Book Store. You can read her review here on why Powell’s is heaven on earth!
After visiting the bookstore, we walked around downtown a bit on the waterfront and had lunch. We went by VooDoo Donuts, but the line was too long so we didn’t stop to try. Maybe next time!
One night, we went downtown to go bowling and play video games which the kids really enjoyed.
We also went OMSI, which my youngest loved the most. It is an interactive kids museum and there was plenty there to keep kids engaged and learning too! We spend quite a few hours there before my big kids were done!
Another day we drove up to Multnomah Falls, which was gorgeous, of course! Because of the fires the year before, the top bridge was blocked off but it was still beautiful to see.
We then ventured up to Hood River. It was such a cute little town! We had lunch and did some window shopping. It has such a beautiful backdrop, I could have stayed there all day!
We drove to the river and watched the wind surfers and let my little guy play in the water. There was also a nice park by the cove that all my kids played at. Even my big kids played! Doesn’t happen to often, so I had to take tons of pics!
I have to say, there was very little complaining on this family vacation! We all had a great time and it is beyond gorgeous there. All my friends that have lived up there, keep reminding me that it is only like that for two months of the year and the rest of the time it rains. I am not a fan of rain or I would be packing my bags to move there!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day and let me know if you have any questions!