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Best Northwest Restaurants and Cafes for Family Road Trips

Skip the chains and try one of these awesome eateries on your next road trip

Vicky McDonald

Published on: June 21, 2022


When we go on family road trips, we often plan on packing lots of healthy, delicious snacks and food we can eat in the car. The reality, though, is that after packing up all the kids’ stuff, we usually run out of time (and energy), and resort to one of the many café and restaurant chains dotted along the freeway. 

On the rare occasions that we have ventured off the beaten track, we've found some true gems serving up delicious food and great coffee. But when you’ve got two screaming, hangry kids in the backseat, you can’t just expect to stumble upon some great place to eat — you’ve got to know where you’re going or risk some serious meltdowns. 

So, how do you find these awesome places that serve up family-friendly food, decent coffee and space for the kids to get the wiggles out? The answer: Ask a parent who's been there.

We surveyed a group of our ParentMap readers, and they shared their favorite family places to eat in the PNW, places where they love going year after year.

I recommend you bookmark this one now for your next family road trip. 

If you’re passing through Snohomish 

Snoqualmie Ice Cream Scoop Shop
Parents say: “The best ice cream ever and you can even peek inside and see the ice cream being made." 
What's on the menu: Coffee and ice cream
Find it:  21106 86th Ave. S.E. Snohomish, WA 98296

Snoqualmie Ice cream
Photo Credit: Snoqualmie

The Maltby Café
Parents say: “Ginormous cinnamon rolls and also unique in that the space is a 1930s gymnasium.”
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, entrees, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pies, pastries and coffee
Find it: 8809 Maltby Rd. Snohomish, WA 98296

If you’re heading to Chelan 

Blueberry Hills Farm
Parents say: “Beautiful U-pick farm with an amazing restaurant — get there right when it opens to stake out your place in line (it's that popular and crowded in peak season).”
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, entrees, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pies, pastries and coffee
Find it: 1315 Washington St., Manson, WA 98831

Zeke's Drive-In
Parents say:  “Zeke's Drive-In in Gold Bar off Highway 2 has been a favorite for years on the way to Leavenworth or Chelan.”
What's on the menu: Burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, ice cream and drinks
Find it: 43918 State Route 2, Gold Bar, WA 98251

Parents say: “We go to Stella’s in Cle Elum on every trip to and from Chelan. Cute little ma-and-pa coffee/breakfast/sandwich joint.”
What's on the menu: Soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts and coffee
Find it: 316 W. 1st St., Cle Elum, WA 98922

Cottage Café  
Parents say: “We love stopping off at Cottage Café on the way to Chelan.” 
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, desserts and drinks
Find it: 911 East First St., Cle Elum, WA 98922

Tacos La Roca

Parents say: “This taco truck is amazing. Comida muy autentica or authentic, tasty, Mexican food.”
What's on the menu: Tacos, burritos, tostadas, papusas, salsa and more 
Find it: 1056B E Woodin Ave Chelan, WA 9881

If you’re close to Wenatchee

Pybus Public Market
Parents say: “Don’t miss Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee — lots of places to eat and a cool market.” 
What's on the menu: Cafés, bistros and a food market  with local produce
Find it:  3 N. Worthen, Wenatchee, WA 98801

Anjou Bakery
Parents say: “If you are heading to Wenatchee or Leavenworth on Highway 2, this place is a great stop. Delicious pastries, good coffee and a nice outdoor space.” 
What's on the menu: Coffee, cookies, sandwiches and pastries
Find it: 3898 Old Monitor Rd., Cashmere, WA 98815

If you’re heading to Ocean Shores

Eastside Big Toms
Parents say: “Locally owned [and serving] burgers and ice cream and [has] great Scooby-Doo props at the Oly location.”
What's on the menu: Burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and drinks
Find it: 2023 4th Ave. E., Olympia, WA 98501

Clarks Restaurant
Parents say: “It's a must-stop for us when we drive out to the ocean. They have the best burgers with big, fat fries, 30 flavors of shakes, homemade soft-serve with twist cones.”
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, shakes, coffee 
Find it: 731 U.S. Hwy. 101, Artic, WA 98537

If you’re in Skagit Valley

Snow Goose Produce
Parents say: “Delicious ice cream.”
What's on the menu: Homemade ice cream, organic produce, bread, cheese and wine
Find it: 15170 Fir Island Rd., Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Calico Cupboard Café and Bakery
Parents say: “In La Conner, we love going to the Calico Cupboard for yummy breakfast items!”
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, desserts and drinks
Find it: 720 1st St., La Conner, WA 98257

The Donut House
Photo Credit: The Donut House

The Donut House
Parents say: “The Donut House in Anacortes. There is a drive-through, but if you want time to consider the variety on the menu, you should go inside.”
What's on the menu: Donuts, pastries, coffee and milkshakes 
Find it: 2719 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, WA 98221

If you’re headed to Portland 

Mother’s Bistro & Bar
Parents say: “We love to go to Mother's Bistro when we go to Portland.”
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, desserts and drinks
Find it: 121 S.W. 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

Mallard Ice Cream
Photo Credit: Mallard Ice Cream

If you’re in Bellingham

Mallard Ice Cream
Parents say: “We always stop at Mallard's for ice cream in Bellingham.” 
What's on the menu: Homemade ice cream 
Find it: 1323 Railroad Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225

If you’re going through Bothell

Alexa’s Café & Catering
Parents say: “Alexa’s in Bothell is a delish place to stop and eat breakfast any day of the week. They have very friendly waitstaff, scrumptious food, coloring books and toys to entertain your youngest babes, and they have a nice open and inviting seating area.”
What's on the menu: Breakfast foods, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, desserts and drinks
Find it: 10115 Main St. Bothell, WA

If you’re out near Granite Falls   

Omega Pizza & Pasta Restaurant
Parents say: “THE best pizza and great Greek salads, too! Our family likes to do many of the hikes up to waterfalls out on the Mountain Loop Highway, and after a day of hiking, we stop at Omega Pizza and Pasta in Granite Falls. It is a many-years-long tradition and we still love it.”
What's on the menu: Sandwiches, salads, pizzas, gyros, pasta dishes and drinks
Find it: 102 S. Granite Ave., Granite Falls, WA 98252

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2019, and updated in 2022.

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