This is the second post in a series of Staycation Day Trips we will be featuring over the next several months. (Go here to catch up on Day Trip #1: Astoria, OR). All day trip destinations will be in Oregon or Washington, less than a 3 hour drive from the greater Portland area. The activities will be fun, frugal, and family-friendly.
Last Saturday, when the sun decided to grace us with its presence, my family and I headed north to Vancouver Lake. I have lived just a short jump over the bridge most of my life, and I had never set foot in this park before. How have I missed this spot?! It had shaded grassy areas for picnics, a huge lake to explore by kayak or canoe, paved trails for walking or biking, and a nice beach with a swimming area. For $3/car, this is a beautiful, inexpensive place to spend a sunny day.
As we drove through Vancouver, I was reminded of all the great things to do on the other side of the river. I will highlight several stops in this post, but I am counting on all of our Washington readers for help!
As you know, I plan any and every outing around food. I’d read a positive review on this Vancouver donut shop, Dot Donuts, two years ago in the newspaper, and we stopped in for dessert breakfast the very next week. It’s just a tiny shop tucked away in a strip mall, but apparently the word has gotten out. Arrive early for the best selection. I’ve read they just close up shop when they sell out.
Donuts don’t usually tempt me, but as soon as I took a look in the gleaming bakery case, I knew I was in trouble: pumpkin spice, apple fritters, peanut butter & chocolate, coconut cream, and cake donuts in every flavor imaginable. We were this close to buying a dozen. I think I would’ve taken a bite out of each one, like eating a box of chocolates. Instead, self-restraint prevailed. Bummer. The three we ordered were delicious, washed down with milk & Stumptown coffee. Mmmm. I’d definitely head their way again.
My parents took us kids on countless road trips during my childhood. It was a cheap way to explore our corner of the world. We would drive across the country, looking for strange and unusual stops. I hope to pass on the same mix of adventure and education to my kids. When you can see the World’s Largest Frying Pan, buy postcards at the Corn Palace, and watch a blacksmith pound horseshoes all in one trip, what more do you really need in life?
If extended road trips won’t fit your schedule or your budget this summer, check out the cool attractions Fort Vancouver has to offer! This summer marks the 150-year commemoration of the Civil War so they have some neat events planned for all age groups. I would also love to go to the Councours d’ Elegance or the 1860’sVintage Baseball in August.
Pearson Air Museum is part of the Fort Vancouver area. It’s a neat place for young and old airplane enthusiasts. Or just people like me, married to an airplane enthusiast. Also, if you have a 13-17 year old who is interested in flight, head to the museum on August 27th. In addition to some extra exhibits, the Young Eagles program will be offering free rides to interested young people. It’s a great program; my nephew was given a flight several years ago, and he still talks about it.
Here are a bunch of other places to check out in Vancouver, further proof that you don’t have to travel far for fun:
Cafe Sip-n-Play : $3.95 for kids 1-5
Esther Short Park : 5 acres in the middle of the city
Vancouver Farmers Market : open through October
Firehouse Glass : public glass blowing demos the 1st Friday of each month from 6-10pm
Julia Bakery : Everything from scratch, organic flours, artisan bread
Liberty Theatre of Camas-Washougal : All shows are only $3.50!
Marshall Community Park : 19-acre park with an amazing play structure
Thai Little Home : $3.50 Happy Hour
Treat : Yum.
Uptown Village : Looks like a cool area with neat event
Leave a comment! What great Vancouver-area restaurants and/or activities did I miss?
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