From flying kites on the beach along the Pacific Ocean to exploring old bunkers at historical forts, the opportunities are endless for a family vacation in Washington State. Take a ferry to one of the numerous islands, check out kid-friendly museums, or ride a gondola over the Spokane River.

In Seattle, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly activities. Bike and picnic at Gasworks Park or head to the waterfront to browse Pike Place Market and watch the famous “flying fish.” Whether you want adventure, education, or just fun in general, here are some of the best spots for family vacations in Washington.

Fun Family Vacations in Washington State

Long Beach Peninsula

If you’re feeling like a family getaway by the beach, head to the Long Beach Peninsula. At 28 miles long, there’s plenty of room for kids (and adults) to run around and get out some energy. Many hotels and vacation rentals are right next to the beach, so you don’t have to walk far to visit the Pacific Ocean.

Flying kites is a favorite pastime, especially in spring when the winds kick up. You can bring your own or pick one up at the various kite shops in town. While you’re at it, stop by the World Kite Museum to see a fascinating collection of kites from all over the world and even make your own.

Book a horseback riding trip along the beach if you have older kids. It’ll be one of the best views you’ll ever have while on a horse. Seafood-loving families can even try digging for razor clams during clamming season. Little ones can serve as “spotters” to help identify where to dig.

Also See: Things to do in Long Beach with Kids


Photo Credit: Marissa Pedersen

Washington summers and Chelan tend to go hand in hand, as this is easily one of the most popular places for a family vacation in Washington State. It’s easy to see why. The state’s longest natural lake is 55 miles long, meaning there’s room for everyone to enjoy the natural beauty and relaxing lake activities. While there are numerous hotels, vacation rentals are a great choice for large families.

Once you’re there, rent a boat and head out on the lake for tubing or water skiing. There are also multiple public beaches where the family can lounge in the sun and play in the sand. Walk along the Chelan Riverwalk Park near downtown Chelan, which has a concert series in the summer. For a thrill, visit Slidewaters to zoom down waterslides, relax in the lazy river, or learn to surf at the surf park.


As Washington’s second-largest city, Spokane has plenty of things to do on a kid-friendly vacation in Washington. Walk or bike the paved paths through scenic Riverfront Park downtown. Take a ride on the Looff Carousel or enjoy the Ice Age Floods Playground’s giant splash pad, multiple slides, and climbing structures. Look for an ice cream truck in the summer that hangs around there when you need a refreshing, sweet treat.

For a different viewpoint, buy a ticket for the Numerica Skyride. This 15-minute gondola ride takes you over the Spokane River and offers views of the city and Spokane Falls, the largest urban waterfall in the country.

San Juan Island

Kids will feel like they’re headed to a magical land as they take the ferry from the mainland through the San Juan Islands. While there are multiple islands to choose from, San Juan Island is a great option for families. Book a private cabin at Lakedale Resort, where you’ll wake up to lake views but still be close enough to the main town of Friday Harbor if you want to visit restaurants or shops.

When you’re in Friday Harbor, stop by The Whale Museum, where you’ll learn all about the majestic creatures that frequent Washington’s waters and hear the actual sounds they make. Afterward, stop by Friday Harbor Ice Cream Co. for a scoop of ice cream and then walk around the harbor to admire the boats docked there. There are plenty of beaches to explore as well. At low tide, kids can look for sea anemones, starfish, and other critters in the many tide pools.

Methow Valley

The Methow Valley is a perfect year-round for a family vacation in Washington because there are activities no matter the season. Visit in the summer for fantastic hiking in the valley and nearby North Cascades National Park. Head into the western-themed town of Winthrop and check out all the buildings made to look like they’re straight out of a Wild West movie. You can also visit the Shafer Museum to see artifacts and old buildings from when the town was first developed. Don’t miss Sherie’s Sweet Shoppe, which offers an 18-hole outdoor mini golf course.

In the winter, there are miles of cross-country skiing trails to explore, and many trails are flat for kids. If you don’t have your own equipment, multiple shops in town can rent what you need for the day. Winthrop also has an ice skating rink during the winter months, and you can get hot chocolate afterward at this fun family getaway in Washington.


Don’t underestimate Seattle when planning a Washington family vacation; there are tons of activities to do in the city. Kids of all ages will love exploring Pike Place Market and watching the famous fish throwing. They can then pick out a treat at one of the many food stalls and pose for a picture with Rachel the Piggy Bank, the bronze pig across from the fish market.

If you find yourself in Seattle on a rainy day, head down to the Seattle Aquarium, where kids can get up close and personal with native sea life, touch sea stars in the touch pool, and watch otters swim in the outdoor area.

On beautiful sunny days, grab your bikes and ride over to Gasworks Park. You’ll want to bring a picnic and a blanket so you can sit on top of the hill and watch the seaplanes fly out of Lake Union.

Also See: 10+ Indoor Activities in Seattle for Families


Photo Credit: Marissa Pedersen

There’s no need to book a pricey flight if you want to experience the charm of Europe. Instead, head to Leavenworth. Only two hours from Seattle, this Bavarian-themed town is set in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains and is a blast for kids. Visit the Nutcracker Museum to see thousands of different nutcrackers from around the world, or dance to live music in the summer.

The whole family can join in on playing mini golf, or kids can practice their biking skills at the bike pump park at Enchantment Park. Make “Frozen” come to life by visiting the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, where you can feed real reindeer and see other farm animals. Of course, no visit to Leavenworth would be complete without filling up a bag of gooey taffy from The Taffy Shop.

Columbia River Gorge

In southwest Washington, the Columbia River Gorge offers some of the best scenery in the state. Start in Vancouver, Washington, and head east along Route 14 to see lush green rolling hills and views of Oregon across the river. If your kids are into space, make sure to stop by the Goldendale Observatory to look out of their huge telescope and learn more about the skies.

Skamania Lodge is a great base for a family vacation in Washington. The extensive resort boasts a main lodge as well as “tree houses,” which are elevated above the ground and feature large balconies perfect for groups. When you’re ready for some adventure, sign up for a zipline tour through the property, hit the disc golf or 9-hole golf course, or check out one of the many nearby hiking trails and scenic overlooks. In nearby Carson, fuel up on pizza at kid-friendly Backwoods Brewing Company.

Also See: Family Friendly Gorge to Coast Road Trip

Port Townsend

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend seems like one of those idyllic towns from a movie set. The city sits right on the water, so you’ll have a view from almost anywhere you are on your kid-friendly vacation in Washington. If you happen to be there on a rainy day, check out the old-school Rose Theatre from 1907. There are plenty of shops for kids, such as Abracadabra, where you can get creative gifts, and Whistle Stop Toys.

The nearby Fort Worden Historical State Park is a huge draw. Kids can explore this old military base and see the old bunkers. There’s also a museum with clothing and military supplies. You can stay overnight there either by camping or reserving a spot in one of the former officer’s homes.


While Bellingham is often considered a college town, it’s also begun catering to many young families. The Fairhaven neighborhood has multiple bookstores to explore, and you can stop at Acme Valley Ice Cream to grab an ice cream cone afterward.

For some of the best views in the city, you’ll want to walk around Boulevard Park, which overlooks Boundary Bay and has a large boardwalk. This is also an ideal place for kids to grab their scooters and explore while the parents grab coffee at Woods Coffee at the park. In downtown, head to the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, home to one of the largest Tesla Coils in the country, the MegaZapper. On weekends, the museum hosts a MegaZapper show for adults and kids over age 5.

Also See: Kid-Friendly Museums in Washington


The Wenatchee Valley is known as the Apple Capital of the World, so you’ll want to head here in the fall to visit one of the many apple orchards that let you pick your own fruit. If you visit during the winter, head up to Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort to ski down the slopes and enjoy a warm meal in the lodge.

If your family wants to work on your rock climbing skills, spend a morning at Riverfront Rock Gym climbing and bouldering. The area is also known for its numerous breweries, and Wenatchee Valley Brewing Co. is as kid-friendly as it comes with an outdoor area full of toys.

About 20 minutes outside of town on the Columbia River, the Rocky Reach Discovery Center is fun for all ages. Kids can captain a virtual steamboat, take a virtual flight, crank a turbine, and explore more hands-on exhibits.

Mount Rainier

Photo Credit: Marissa Pedersen

Mount Rainier is a Washington icon for a reason. There are dozens of easy hikes, whether you’re off exploring waterfalls or looking at glaciers up close. Sunrise Nature Trail is a great option in the Sunrise area, while the 3-mile roundtrip Silver Falls Loop near Ohanapecosh is a great kid-friendly waterfall adventure.

There are also many family-friendly activities just outside the park, such as the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, where kids can ride a real train while having views of the mountain in the background. Camping is a fun option while you’re here for your family vacation in Washington, but spots fill up quickly, so you’ll need to reserve your campsite months in advance.

Also See: Guide to Visiting Mount Rainier

About the Author

Marissa Pedersen is a travel writer from Seattle who loves exploring the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about road trips, national parks, hikes, and weekend getaways. Her work can be seen on Postcards to Seattle.