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Great Getaways: 17 Kid-Friendly Lodges

The Pacific Northwest is full of great family vacation spots

Published on: April 23, 2014

From woodsy and rustic to utterly deluxe, the Pacific Northwest’s historic lodges will transform your family vacation into an unforgettable adventure. These lodges and ranches make a perfect starting point to explore some of the region’s most amazing landscapes, from hiking mountain trails to beach strolls. (Note: Lodging prices can vary week to week and by season; please check with the lodge for the latest price.)


1. Lake Crescent Lodge

416 Lake Crescent Road, Port Angeles, Olympic Peninsula • 888-896-3818

Lake Crescent Cabins
Lake Crescent | ARAMARK Parks and Destinations

Families come to glacier-carved Lake Crescent to see its famed crystal clear waters ringed with fragrant conifers. They stay for an enchanting waterfall hike and a night at the historic lake-side lodge. Built in 1916 as a fishing resort, Lake Crescent Lodge retains a relaxed, campy vibe. All of the main lodge’s cozy rooms and cute detached Roosevelt Cabins boast stunning lake views. Hike in the surrounding temperate rain forest of giant fir and hemlock trees (the trail to the 90-foot Marymere Falls departs right from the lodge), and then relax over dinner in the waterfront dining room. End your evening in a lake-side deck chair and watch the sun set behind Olympic peaks. Rainy days are perfect for family board games beside the lobby’s stone fireplace.

2. Lake Quinault Lodge

345 S. Shore Road, Quinault, Olympic Peninsula • 888-896-3818

Lake Quinault Lodge
Lake Quinault | ARAMARK Parks and Destinations

The gorgeous craftsman-style main lodge, built in 1926, is steeped in history. Main lodge rooms, some with fantastic lake views, have period charms, such as antique furnishings and claw-foot tubs. You’ll find some spacious suites suitable for families in the more modern detached buildings. There’s nothing particularly posh about the place, but kids won’t care; they’ll be too busy hiking in the surrounding rain forest or paddling a canoe on the lake. After dinner in the lodge restaurant, warm up with hot chocolate and a game of Scrabble by the enormous crackling fireplace in the front lobby.

3. Kalaloch Lodge

157151 U.S. Route 101, Forks, Olympic Peninsula • 866-662-9928

Kalaloch lodge

Location, location, location! Perched on a bluff along the wild, pristine Olympic National Park coastline, Kalaloch Lodge comprises a main inn and two rows of rustic cabins with woodstoves and kitchenettes. Comb the rocky beach below for treasures, or watch the horizon for passing whales. The lodge restaurant serves Northwest fare at premium prices, or you can save money by cooking meals in your cabin.

4. Alderbrook Resort and Spa

7101 Washington State Route 106, Union, Hood Canal • 360-898-2200

Alderbrook resort
Alderbrook Lodge photo by David Burn

Alderbrook Resort and Spa sits on the south shore of Hood Canal, a long, glacier-carved fjord that runs parallel to Puget Sound and is backdropped by dramatic Olympic peaks. For generations, families have come to these shores to shuck oysters, paddle the brackish water, roast marshmallows and relax away sunny summer days. That hasn’t changed, but the once- weathered gray inn they stayed in has been completely transformed into a grand lodge with swanky amenities, such as an on-site spa and a high-end restaurant that specializes in seasonal Northwest cuisine. Kids will love fishing from the dock, cruising around in a kayak or pedal boat or just kicking a soccer ball on the expansive green lawn.

5. Lakedale Resort

4313 Roche Harbor Road, San Juan Island • 800-617-2267

Step into the spacious log-beamed lobby of Lakedale Resort and feel the stress melt away — you’re officially on island time. Clustered around three spring-fed lakes about four miles from the San Juan Island ferry dock, Lakedale offers traditional lodge rooms and two-bedroom cabins, or canvas platform tents as a glamping option. Kids will be blissfully immersed in the great outdoors while swimming, fishing and canoeing on one of the three lakes. It’s like summer camp, but far less rustic.

6. Paradise Inn

98368 Paradise-Longmire Road, Mount Rainier National Park • 855-755-2275

Paradise Mt Rainier Lodge
Paradise Lodge | Eric Foltz Photography / iStock

You’ll know you’ve reached Paradise when you get out of your car and say, “This really does look like paradise!” Built in 1916 of silver fir and recently renovated, the 121-room Paradise Inn hosts guests in summer months only and offers an unrivaled experience on “the mountain.” Set in the shadow of an active volcano clad in snow and ice, the picturesque lodge is surrounded by vibrant meadows of blooming wildflowers. Several trails (some paved and flat enough for a stroller) depart from the lodge parking area and lead you through flower fields crossed by babbling streams and dotted with foraging marmots. Lodge room sizes vary and can accommodate two to six people. Enjoy evenings in the lodge restaurant or the huge communal lobby where your kids can show off those music lessons on the antique piano.

7. North Cascades Institute

810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, North Cascades National Park • 206-526-2565

North Cascades Institute by Laura Swimmer
North Cascades Institute | Photo: Laura Swimmer

One of the most educational places for families to stay in the Northwest, North Cascades Institute combines rustic mountain eco-lodging with nature programming in the heart of North Cascades National Park on stunning Diablo Lake. Geared toward families with young children, the Institute offers flexible Basecamp and Family Weekend options and charges a per-person fee that includes overnight lodging; delicious, healthy meals; and guided outdoor adventures tailored to your family’s interests, from canoeing to hiking. Accommodations are basic but comfortable; each room has four twin beds (two sets of bunk beds) with bathrooms down the hall.

8. Sleeping Lady Resort

7375 Icicle Road, Leavenworth • 800.574.2123​​​​​​​

Bavarian-themed Leavenworth’s surrounding mountain peaks are among the most beautiful in the Pacific Northwest, with miles of hiking trails through fragrant ponderosa pine forest. Sleeping Lady, on the banks of Icicle Creek, takes full advantage of the surrounding natural beauty with rustic-yet-deluxe architectural touches such as high vaulted ceilings, huge picture windows that frame the pines, and alcove daybeds. Come hungry: The resort’s Kingfisher Restaurant features delicious and sustainable Northwest cuisine served buffet style. After a day of hiking, dip in the on-site rock hot pool and sauna. Children 4 and under stay and dine free.

9. Flying Horseshoe Ranch

3190 Red Bridge Road, Cle Elum • 509-674-2366

Flying Horseshoe Ranch Lodge

Yee-haw! Get ready for wholesome summer fun on a budget. Flying Horseshoe Ranch in the Teanaway Valley welcomes families for a Western-style vacation complete with guided horseback rides, nature hikes and campfire cooking. Child-size riding boots are available, and the instructors are used to working with kids who have no prior riding experience. Once a children’s summer camp, the ranch accommodations are fun and rustic; choose from canvas platform tents, tepees, and simple sleeping cabins with shared bathhouses and a shared cooking house for preparing your own meals.

10. Sun Mountain Lodge

604 Patterson Lake Road, Winthrop, Methow Valley • 800.572.0493​​​​​​​

Sun Mountain Lodge, a deluxe getaway with rustic touches, is the Methow Valley’s premier resort, set on a ridge with panoramic views and recreation trails that depart right from the lodge (world-class cross-country skiing in the winter, hiking in other seasons). Rooms range from very nice to marvelous and so do the rates; the lodge also rents 13 cabins on Patterson Lake. Amenities are a big draw here, from heated pools in the summer and hot tubs to a game room and horseback riding. The lodge’s restaurant serves Northwest cuisine with a view to match; the Wolf Creek Bar & Grill offers pub food and welcomes kids.

11. Skamania Lodge

1131 Skamania Lodge Road, Stevenson • 509-427-7700

Scenery and nature are on tap at Skamania Lodge, set on 175 forested acres that overlook the flood-scoured Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington. With 250 rooms (including some suites), this lodge should be high on your list for last-minute travel: You’ll often find vacancy, even in the high season. Built in the tradition of classic park lodges, Skamania boasts a grand communal lobby that centers on a massive stone fireplace, great for relaxing with books or board games. Kids will love splashing in the pool and trying the new zip-line tours that depart from the top of a Douglas fir. The lodge also features a golf course. Paved paths through the woods are perfect for strollers. For a more strenuous hike, head up nearby Dog Mountain.


12. Timberline Lodge

27500 West Leg Road, Timberline Lodge • 503-272-3311

Timberline Lodge
Timberline Lodge | Photo by Scott Beale

An iconic Pacific Northwest landmark, Timberline Lodge is hailed as one of the best examples of Depression-era, WPA-built mountain architecture in the United States. Perched on the south slope of Mount Hood and constructed by blacksmiths and stonemasons, the inn houses so many artifacts and works of art it seems as much a museum as a hotel. Although winter is high season here because of the adjacent ski resort, summer brings meadows bursting with colorful wildflowers and superb high-country hiking. Rates range from cheap (bunk beds with shared bath) to expensive (king bed, private bath and wood-burning fireplace in room). Even picky eaters will find something to enjoy at one of the lodge’s three distinct restaurants.

13. Crater Lake Lodge

565 Rim Drive, Crater Lake • 888.774.2728​​​​​​​

Perched on the edge of the deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake Lodge in Oregon’s south Cascades offers your family a front-row seat to one of the West’s most fascinating natural-history stories. A volcanic caldera, this lake of sapphire water was formed in the aftermath of Mount Mazama’s volcanic eruption circa 5670 B.C. It’s now Oregon’s only national park. The lodge was originally completed in 1915, and though renovated since, the vintage charm remains. About half of the 71 rooms face the lake; these are well worth a tad more money.

14. Lodge at Suttle Lake

13300 US Highway 20, Sisters • 541-638-7001

In the heart of the Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, pine-ringed Suttle Lake has drawn families in search of summer fun since the 1920s. Its modern lodge blends cushy comforts and rustic appeal, with plenty of knotty pine and wrought-iron furnishings, high-end deck chairs and stone fireplaces. Kids will love paddling a canoe around the glacier-carved lake, fly-fishing in a mountain river hiking on a nearby trail. Parents will love that the Boathouse restaurant whips up sophisticated Northwest dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Accommodations range from rustic cabins with no running water to deluxe lodge suites.

15. Painter’s Lodge

1625 McDonald Road, Campbell River, Vancouver Island • 866.347.4037​​​​​​​

Fishing adventures ahead! The Campbell River area is known around the world for huge runs of large chinook salmon. A fishing resort set on the Georgia Strait, Painter’s Lodge offers a wonderful experience for families interested in guided fishing expeditions, even for beginners. The lodge rooms vary in size; a great family pick is a two-story loft suite. On-site restaurants specialize in seafood, of course. Look for value packages that combine lodging with guided fishing.


16. Middle Beach Lodge

400 Mackenzie Beach Road, Tofino, Vancouver Island • 866 725 2900​​​​​​​

Do your kids like exploring tide pools for starfish? How about spotting whales? Journey to Tofino on Vancouver Island’s wild and remote west coast for the vacation of a lifetime. Perched on a bluff over the water with walking trails down to the intimate sandy beach, Middle Beach Lodge’s deluxe cabins are favorites for families who seek both respite and adventure. Luxuries abound, from fluffy robes and duvets to deck chairs for lounging. Cook up dinner in your cabin, or head to Tofino for sushi or fish tacos.

17. Nita Lake Lodge

2131 Lake Placid Road, Whistler • 888-755-6482

If luxury is on your must-do list, book an oversized suite at upscale Nita Lake Lodge near the base of Whistler Mountain. Summer is the off-season here, and ski runs are replaced by hiking trails through wildflower meadows. A family-sized suite has a kitchenette, balcony with views of sparkling Nita Lake, basalt gas fireplace and a soaker tub. The lodge’s Aura restaurant generates buzz for its inventive bistro fare. Little ones will love the lodge’s complimentary rentals for bikes, fishing rods and canoes. Soak sore muscles in the outdoor plunge pool or in the rooftop hot tub.

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