Best Family Day Trip Itinerary
The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon full of enchantment, wonder, and adventure. This river gorge is home to the mighty Columbia River, grand vistas, waterfalls tucked away inside canyons or plummeting off basalt cliffs towering hundreds of feet overhead, and lush, deep evergreen forests idyllic of the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River Gorge is packed full of many family-friendly activities and outdoor adventures, including whitewater rafting on the White Salmon River, all within reach of Portland in just one day. River Drifters offers morning and afternoon half-day trips on the White Salmon River, leaving plenty of time to explore other parts of the Columbia River Gorge either before or after rafting.
Photo: Photo Visor
For bike-riding families, load up the bikes on the car rack and head to the Mark O Hatfield West Trailhead in Hood River, Oregon to access one portion of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The trail is a paved, non-motorized vehicle path perfect for bike riding. It travels through sunlight fir and deciduous tree forests, winds along basalt rock walls, and offers breathtaking viewpoints only seen by those who have arrived under human power. This section of the path leads from Hood River to the Mosier Twin Tunnels, totally an easy 10-mile out-and-back ride.
Photo: Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail | TrailLink
Families can also travel east from Portland through the Columbia River Gorge on Highway 14 in Washington State to Beacon Rock State Park. Beacon Rock State Park is along the shores of the Columbia River and hosts a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including a daring hike up the 850-foot tall Beacon Rock, the largest monolith on earth.
Another activity the whole family is sure to enjoy includes touring the many farm stands and u-pick orchards of the Hood River Valley on the Hood River Fruit loop. The Fruit Loop is a 35-mile scenic country drive that takes you past over 25 fruit stands, eateries, and farms with the opportunity to taste locally grown produce, sample hand-crafted beers or ciders, and fill your buckets with u-pick berries, cherries, peaches, and more.
Photo: Bob Pool | Thrillist
Check in at the River Drifters Outpost in Husum, Washington for your rafting reservation on the White Salmon River to ensure you have the best family day trip from Portland! Whitewater rafting on the White Salmon River is appropriate for most children ages 10 and up. River Drifters provides all the necessary rafting equipment for your trip including wetsuits and splash jackets, as well as experienced and skilled whitewater guides. With continuous class III-IV whitewater, the White Salmon River offers one of the most beautiful and adventurous river day trips in the West. The crystal-clear blue water of the river flows from the glaciers of Mt. Adams and runs through a basalt canyon covered with vibrant green vegetation. Whitewater rafting on the White Salmon is truly a thrill with non-stop adrenaline-pumping rapids and is sure to make for a fun, memorable and perhaps best family trip day trip from Portland!
Photo: White Salmon River | River Drifters
After a full day of whitewater rafting and outdoor recreation, kiddos are bound to be hungry, so stop by and enjoy a fresh, delicious meal or filling pizza at one of these local favorites, Solstice Wood Fire Pizza in Hood River, Oregon, and Everybody’s Brewery, in White Salmon, Washington. Treats are also well desired and taste sweeter after a full and gratifying day in the outdoors, so swing by Mike’s Ice Cream in Hood River or Eastwind Drive-In in Cascade Locks for ice cream before heading home.
Photo: Solstice Wood Fire Pizza | Hood River, OR
Ready to book your best family day trip from Portland Oregon? We’d love for you and your family to be our guests!