Family Roadtrip from Washington to California
So… leave it to us to buy a car up near the Indian Reservations of Yakima, Washington!
We finally found the car we wanted in the colour we wanted after a long search, and it was that far away! My husband was set to go on his own, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity its to hop on a plane with the family, and to drive our new car all the way home to make a road trip out of it.
Trains, Planes and Automobiles (living my favourite movie fantasy!) - here we come! So we took an Uber to San Francisco airport, then a plane to Seattle Washington before renting a car and driving 2 hours to Yakima, Washington, got our new car and zig-zagged our way back down to San Francisco.
Once we collected the car we spent the night in Yakima after drying off from all the rain to freshen up. We headed down through the Colombia River Gorge through to Portland, Oregon. En route, we stopped at the well-known Big Jim’s Hamburgers in the Gorge for some of their burgers and fruit smoothies (it’s a local’s secret, you’re welcome!) and then headed to the Colombia River Gorge Museum. It’s absolutely breathtaking there, set right along to the river, this is a perfect museum for children! The exhibits are super interactive and it lays out how people lived in the gorge back in the day.
The kids got to go in to all the old timey grocery stores and salmon canneries and it shows how people travelled with the old wagons along the river. They even had a live birds of prey exhibit! You can read more on the museum here: https://www.gorgediscovery.org
After that, we stayed at my Brother’s in Portland and woke to feed the chickens! You can see from the pictures the kids really loved playing with them!
Once we were chickened out, we drove to Bend, Oregon - a nature lover’s dream! We drove through many National Parks where can see me standing in the empty swamp beds. We stopped along the way to skim stones and throw rocks in the stream with the kids. That night, the River House Lodge was our home, which I highly suggest staying with if you have kids! It’s right on the river and the kids loved playing alongside. The hotel has the best food and cocktails - hallelujah! Well needed after 3 days in the car with 2 toddlers ;)
Our next destination was Lake Shasta, travelling through more national parks. Here we got on a boat and travelled to see the caves. I’m not sure I recommend doing this one with young toddlers unless they’re super well behaved but we did make it out alive! It’s doable, but there are so many stairs you’ll need to carry them up, both inside and outside the cave. I’m glad we did it, as it was well worth it to see their faces light up at the rock formations, and they both still talk about it even now!
That night, we stayed in Reading, California before making it back just in time for Halloween festivities.
This was a total last-minute trip, booking tickets just 5 days before we left. And yet, it remains one of the memories we most cherish! So, even when it feels like there’s no time to get outdoors with the family, take the leap and it may end up being one of your favourite memories you ever make! You don’t need to have every hotel booked, and a packed itinerary. Just hop on the road and see where it takes you, it’s fun I promise.