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Seeking Spring Warmth: A journey from Seattle, WA to Warm Springs, OR

We love when we hear that non-PDX mamas are reading!  A Seattle urbanMama recently emailed, seeking your suggestions on an excursion their family is planning:

I am Seattle mama who subscribes to PDX's urbanMamas. We (family with 2 young boys, ages 2 & 5) are going to Kahneeta (Warm Springs, OR) for Spring Break, making the 5 hour trek from Seattle to Warm Springs, OR. [After extensive research it's the warmest place within driving distance at this time of year, we want a vacation, to be warmer but are on a budget so plane travel is out].
 
Any recommendations on fun things to do en route-- good for car breaks? I was thinking Multnomah Falls but don't really want to head 20 miles off the road. Maybe there is something to do/see/we shouldn't miss off of Hwy 26 in the Mt. Hood area?  It's been surprisingly hard to find any helpful info on the internets via Google searches. Lots of reviews of Kahneeta (we are doing 1 night teepee, 2 nights hotel room, since it will be April) but not so much about the road to and from! Or even things THERE, although it looks like R&R is really the point (pool, mini golf, a few hikes).
 
Also maybe fellow readers have advice about Kahneeta?

Seeking more summer-esque getaways?  Consider these suggestions from Tony at Milagros.

Comments

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Kahneeta is great! But if you are staying in a teepee, it is cold at night. We stayed one night the beginning of May and were chilled to the bone. The Teepees were really cool, but pretty rustic. Be prepared to bundle up at night.

Katie- thanks-- I quizzed the person taking our reservation about this, since it's the desert, that obv it must be quite cold at night (30's!). And she assured me others will be staying in teepees next week as well. So my compromise is 1 night of tee pee (the boys will love it!) and 2 nights of a hotel room (village)- they are having a spring sale so it's not much more :)

There are a quite a few things to do if you are up for altering your route a little, especially. Not sure what your time frame is.

From I5, take Hwy 205south to the Foster Rd exit and turn left off the off ramp. Head east on Foster and in just a few miles you are in the country side. You have to turn left at Damascus, then you catch up with the 26 a few miles from Sandy. It is a much more beautiful route up to the mountain than taking the freeway the whole way.

Joe's Donuts is a MUST stop in Sandy. The Thai restaurant on the right in Sandy is pretty good. Calamity Jane's is a fun Burger place just outside Sandy, too. There is a bbq place right on the highway near welches, can't remember the name(!) but you can't miss it on the left as you head toward Hood, the food is great and if it it's nice they have a HUGE outside for the kids to run around. There's a fun interpretive trail at Wildwood. It's all paved but has lots of really interesting areas: bridges, underwater view of the river through the glass, bridges, newts to catch and release. Bring a picnic lunch, there is so much to explore. There is also a great little kid "hike" called Little Zig Zag, I think, near Welches/Brightwood area, really short(like 1 mile) and really pretty. Head up the mountain and go to Timberline Lodge, amazing, historic building and big enough for little kidos to kind of run around in. You can ski at Timberline year round or go to the adventure park at ski bowl, if it's open yet.

On your way back from Kahneeta, take the 35 off the 26 toward Hood River. You get to drive through pretty farm land on your way down to the river. Hood River is a fun little town with lots to do, and a good website with ideas. After Hood River fun, head west on the 84. Stop at the Fish Hatchery at Bonneville Damn, feed the fish, see the giant sturgeon, run around, get a coffee. On the other side of the exit from the Fish Hatchery is Wahclella Falls, another great, short(like 1 mile) little kid "hike". Bring a snack, lots of rocks to throw in the water at the end, they won't want to leave.

Just past Dodson you can get on the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway. Pretty drive that passes several waterfalls viewable from the road, including Multnomah Falls. Multnomah Falls is really tall with a cool bridge half way up, it's all paved so it's really easy to get around, there is coffee and snacks outside and food at the restaurant. But it's always really super crowded. I prefer to get out at the waterfall just east or just west of Multnomah because it's easier to park and run around with little kids. Stay on the super windy Historic Hwy until you get to Vista House, spectacular views and a really cool building. Stay on the Historic Highway until you get to Tad's Chicken & Dumplin's, tadschickdump.com. Fantastic, historic restaurant, right on the Sandy River, great food, not to be missed. It takes at least 2 to eat the chicken and dumplins. Shortly after that you can hop on the 84west to the 205north and stay at the Mcmenamins Olympia Club, in the cute little old downtown part of Centralia on the way home:)

40 miles east of Portland on 26 (near Welches) is Wildwood Recreation Area -- a great place to stop with kids. They've got lots of easy trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, and an underwater fish viewing room. It's not free, but the fee is only $5/car.

Lunch or just a stop at Timberline Lodge. Also, we were chilly at Kahneetah last August, it was unseasonably cloudy and cool, just fyi. And the food is really bad.

Kanheeta is a great place to spend your time but I think it will be little bit cold over there. If you can manage the cold then everything is fine.

I was wondering, since you have already gone to Kanheeta, could you, or anyone else, tell me if they offer on-site childcare there? I know Chinook winds does but I didn't see anything on Kanheeta's website so I'm assuming they don't but we were invited to a function down there this fall and would love to be able to do some adult things, like spend time at the casino and would love to have childcare for our 5 y.o. & 8 y.o.

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