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A Family Guide to Summer Vacation

Published: July 31, 2022

 

Time to plan the best family vacation ever! Discover new hiking trails, hidden waterfalls, serene camping spots, and find out what's around the next bend in the road. This summer, slow down and take it all in — the birds singing, the bugs crawling and the flowers blooming. Or speed up and charge the white water rapids, cruise the massively steep sand slope, and strap in for the twirling carnival ride. The Eugene, Cascades & Coast region is alive with opportunities to make summer vacation memories and enjoy family time to the fullest.

Road Trips!

Pack up the car and go exploring. Pick a theme for the journey — it could be natural wonders or historic landmarks or even roadside eateries. Turn the volume up on your favorite family playlists and make sure you've checked Trip Check and the Adventure Checklist before departing — best to always be prepared for the unexpected or for spontaneous side trips.

Highway 242 McKenzie Pass view by Melanie Griffin

Long Bike Rides

Pedal the Row River Trail on Oregon's official Scenic Covered Bridge Bikeway. Pack a picnic and ride around the lake, through woods and meadows and covered bridges. Cycle the Fern Ridge path to wildlife preserves or cruise the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System between Eugene and Springfield. Mountain bikers can check out the Thurston Hills area in Springfield.

You can rent bicycles at several bikes shops around Eugene and in neighboring towns. There are even electric bikes for longer rides! Oregon law requires children to wear helmets. Please note that to participate in the PeaceHealth bike share program (those big blue bicycles around town), you must be 18 years or older.

Cycling in Eugene by Michael Kevin Daly

Float Down the River

Beat the summer heat by paddling down one of the region's amazing rivers with an experienced river guide. Spot animals along the banks or try out fishing. Local outfitters can help you find the right permits and get you geared up! Or cruise the Willamette River by jet boat tour. All children must wear lifejackets on the docks and in the boats. 

Stay in a riverfront cabin for gorgeous views and extended adventures. 

Whitewater Rafting the North Fork Willamette by Melanie Griffin

Horseback Riding

C&M Stables offers amazing trail rides. Saddle up and enjoy the coastal scenery by horseback. A variety of options exist for kids depending on ages from corral rides around the enclosed arena to out on the dunes trail. Nothing feels more like summer then the combination of salty coast air, the clip clop of horse hooves and the warm smell of leather in the sunshine.

Get your hands in the dirt

Introduce your children to life on the farm. They can pet and help feed the animals; explore the gardens, orchards or fields; and help harvest vegetables for dinner. Farm Stays are a popular family experience, whether it's grooming the horses at a dude ranch or simply staying on-site at the farm and watching the farmers till their fields. Each farm operates differently, so ask what level of participation is available when booking your stay. Your best bets for finding a local farm that will let you roll up your sleeves and get to work are in Cottage Grove, Creswell, Veneta and Junction City. You may even choose to stay at a vineyard B&B and visit all the nearby u-picks to create your own farm experience.

Farms are open for business, so stock up on all the blueberries, blackberries and strawberries you can eat and preserve. Somethings never change— sticky hands, the hot summer sun and the satisfaction of buckets or baskets of sweet, delicious goodness. Along with berries and cherries; peaches, apples, squash and more will ripen as summer progresses.

Blackberries by Colin Morton

Dune Buggies

Roar up and over the shifting, sandy mountains in the coastal dunes just outside Florence. Dune buggy tours across the coastal sand dunes are available through several companies. At Sandland Adventures they even have go karts and mini-golf for a full tilt family fun experience.

Two off road vehicles full of adventurous people on the Oregon Dunes.

Enjoy the Beaches

Summer vacation is all about the seashore — and the Oregon Coast offers its own magnificent version of the beach experience. Enjoyable for the coastline's dramatic beauty of cliffs, waves and wind-whipped coastal forests beside miles of pristine sandy beaches, gigantic dunes and coastal lakes. On sunny days find calm inlets for splashing and exploring tide pools and on gray days find cozy restaurant seats with water views for storm watching.

Cleawox Play by Emily Forsha
Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.