6 Ways To Keep Kids Active in Portland
Keep Rainy Day Essentials at the Ready1 of 7
While Arizonians might want to keep a sun hat and sunscreen in the car or by the front door, Portlandians would be smart to keep an umbrella, raincoat and rain boots accessible. Having the right gear means your kids will be not only more comfortable, but also able to stay outside longer, explore more and learn how much fun puddle splashing can be.
Butler Boots are a good choice because they slip easily over shoes, while the CrocsHandle It line feature large handles on the side for little hands to easily pull on and off. REI carries a great line of kid's rain jackets that won't break the bank as well.
Pro Tip: Keep a hook with a towel by the front door to easily clean up any mud or water that gets tracked in.
Explore the City on Two Wheels2 of 7
Portland has always been at the forefront of cycling-conscious city planning, but some of their designs may be new or unfamiliar to you. One feature is the green bike boxes you'll find at 15 different intersections that are designed to keep cyclists and cars a safe distance from one another.
You should stop inside the green box at all intersections during a red light. Be aware that you have the right of way and the right to make a right on red, while drivers can not. Some bike lanes, including those near Portland State University downtown, are also equipped with buffered bike lanes for added safety.
Your best bet when cycling with children is to stay on bike paths or designated neighborhood greenways, which can be found here. The "Northeast Ramble" is a flat loop through trendy neighborhoods perfect for a family outing. For very little ones, try a spin around the Downtown Esplanade along the Willamette River near Waterfront Park.
Make Food an Adventure3 of 7
Portland is a foodie's paradise, with locally grown produce, deliciously naughty donuts and world-famous dairies all within reach. Incorporate a bike ride or hike with a trip to the famous Voodoo Doughnut Shop or take a stroll around one of Portland's roughly 50 Farmer's Markets that operate throughout the week.
Come fall, head out to a nearby farm for good old-fashioned apple picking. Located just an hour east of Portland, the Draper Girls Country Farm features a petting zoo and dwarf-sized trees perfect for tiny hands to reach and pick. Have your kids carry their own haul and show them how they can turn their hard-earned bounty into a delicious crumble.
Remember that Outside is Free4 of 7
While many summer activities come with a price tag, thanks to the Portland Park and Recreation's Summer Free For All Program, your child can swim, climb and swing to their heart's content without costing you a penny. With more than 250 events from rock climbing and swimming to movies in the park and outdoor concerts, your little ones can learn just how wonderful open space can be.
The Mountains Are Calling5 of 7
The best way to teach your children the importance of living an active lifestyle is to show them your own love of the outdoors. The memories you will share during a hike will last a lifetime and Portland's Washington Park is the gateway to miles of options in nearby Forest Park. The 30.2-mile Wildwood Trail winds through 40,000 acres. While it might be a lot to bite off in one trip, you can access different trailheads throughout Washington Park. Do a different section each time and watch as your kids explore more courageously with each visit.
Have a Contingency Plan6 of 7
Don't let a downpour give you an excuse to sit on the couch and watch TV all day--have a few favorite rainy day activities to fall back on. Head to the Oaks Skating Rink at Oaks Amusement Park for a twirl or explore the more than 1.5 million books at Powell's City of Books (it takes up an entire city block!). Put on your rain gear and head to the Portland Japanese Garden, where your kids can watch the raindrops ripple on the enormous koi pond.