I recently took a vacation filled with family adventures in Oregon. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to share them with you!
Every summer we go on a vacation with my husband’s family for a week. Last year, unfortunately, my in-laws had to miss out due to COVID. See last year’s, A Maine COVIDcation.
This year we made up for lost time and spent 12 days together in Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast, Portland, and Sunriver. We somehow managed to avoid the worst of the heat wave with our travel pattern. This was particularly important because it turns out that not many places in Oregon have very effective air conditioning, if any.
It was hard, but I narrowed down the list to our five favorite family adventures in Oregon. For more details and pictures, see the Instagram stories I posted while there!
Fly a Kite on the Coast
Our first stop in Oregon was Rockaway Beach, on the coast of Oregon. Boy, was I ready for a few days at the beach after the insanity of getting ready for the trip. Southwest canceled our flights the day before, due to weather, and I had to scramble in the midst of work and packing to rebook our flights. (Thank you to United for getting us there!) The lovely United flight attendants (who stopped to compliment my All Day Alba outfit!) told me that it was too hot for certain planes to land at the airport.
Oregon beaches are stunning but not particularly warm. And they have incredible wind! The house we rented was on the beach, and the owners were generous enough to leave sand toys and an awesome shark kite. The kids could have stayed there and played in the sand and flown the kite all day. I learned that my fear of heights extends to kite flying! My kids were braver and better kite pilots than me. Go figure. Now James is asking for a kite. Does anyone have any good suggestions?
Of course there were lots of other cool beaches and towns to explore on the coast. This photo was taken on a particularly cold and rainy day at Cannon Beach. You have to see it to believe it. I have never been on such a cool beach before. Do yourself a favor and group it with breakfast at Yolk in Manzanita and a hike to Short Sand Beach (suggestion from a client!). Thank you to my mother-in-law for loaning me her awesome Patagonia jacket!
Hike to a Waterfall
We did two hikes to waterfalls while in Oregon. Both were much more difficult than anticipated and made me sorry that I had not pulled the trigger on hiking boots before I left. Unfortunately, I had to go hiking to figure out what I really needed! (These are what I want now.)
One of the big waterfall hikes we did was Multnomah Falls at the Columbia River Gorge, which we did as a day trip from Portland. The other was the Tamanawas Trail at Mt. Hood National Park. They are both highly recommended family adventures in Oregon, but also ones that require some planning and preparation if you are city slickers like us. The Mt. Hood Hike (see picture above) was the most beautiful hike I have ever been on. And the one for which I was not really prepared for with supplies and wardrobe. Call me first if you are going on this one!
Where do I start?! The local shopping in Oregon is fabulous. In fact, I think you are going to get a jewelry only local Oregon designer post soon. The pictures above and below are from the Demimonde boutique in Portland’s Alberta Arts District. I chatted with the lovely owner, Rachael, about making it through COVID and the current state of retail and shopping. I also bought some very cool wall crystals for the RLS office!
Another favorite Portland store that was near our Airbnb is Betsy and Iya, where I bought a belt. They have an incredible selection of reasonably priced, well-designed jewelry. I bought Kyle a very cool pair of earrings there, too. The two of us have been making an effort to buy as much of our clothing secondhand as possible. I had incredible luck at the curated consignment store, Modo Boutique, also in Portland’s Alberta Arts District. If you go there, you must also check out the children’s boutique, Grasshopper, and the women’s boutique, Tumbleweed.
Choose Your Own Adventure: Portland’s Voodoo Donuts or a Gluten-Free Bakery Tour
The above donuts are from Voodoo Donuts—the best donuts EVER—according to every person who tried them. This, unfortunately, was a highlight for the rest of my fellow travelers, due to my newly diagnosed gluten intolerance. Fortunately, Portland seems to be home to more gluten-free bakeries per capita than pretty much anywhere. I only got to one, but it was amazing! I believe there is a picture of my donuts from Gluten Free Gem bakery in the Instagram stories from our trip. Maybe this year’s Mommy Sabbatical is my own trip back to Portland for a gluten-free food tour?
One of the highlights of my trip to Oregon was getting to reconnect with a high school friend who now lives in Portland. We met for chickpea ice cream at Little Chickpea in Portland’s Pearl District (another awesome place to shop!). I passed it at night when they were closed and told Mr. Real Life Style I had to go back! Oh yeah, did I mention that I am also now lactose-intolerant? Sigh… Little Chickpea does not ship nationwide yet but I will be one of the first to order when they start. In case you are wondering, I had Rum Raisin, one of my favorite flavors and not something that is offered in the usual non-dairy options. Hey, it had protein and fiber too!
Whitewater rafting was by far the family adventure in Oregon the most out of my comfort zone. We used Sun Country Tours in Sunriver, Oregon. Our guide was very patient with us! I’ve always avoided whitewater rafting because I am afraid of falling out of the boat. However, I now understand that not all rapids are Class 5, like in the movies. We did Class 2 and 3 rapids with swim breaks in between. As you can see, the kids loved it! I’m looking forward to booking more local family day trips with a whitewater rafting focus in the future.
What are your favorite family adventures in Oregon? Which of these are you looking forward to trying with your own family? Let me know in the comments below!
Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.
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