Some say a vacation with kids is an oxymoron. Instead of a vacation, let’s call it what it is—an adventure. While it may not entail mai tai sipping by the pool like the good ole days, family adventures are what memories are made of. What is your idea of a fun family adventure this summer? For many, it includes the bicycle.
So where can you go to get away from it all while spending quality time with the fam on bikes? From a quaint beach town to a mountain village and an inland escape, here are a few Pacific Northwest destinations that cater to two-wheelin’ families and allow you to leave your car behind from the moment you arrive:
Harkening back to the pre-car era, this planned beach town on the Washington Coast boasts the bicycle as its main mode of transportation. The resort offers craftsmen beach house and cottage rentals, parks, playgrounds, fire pits, a pool, amphitheater, restaurants, shops, entertainment, and of course the main attraction—the beautifully rugged, wind-sculpted, spruce-lined beach. The best part? You can access all of it within a 5-minute walk (or 2 minute ride) via eco-friendly boardwalks, gravel and reclaimed oyster shell paths, and cedar trails.
Hop on a beach cruiser or a hybrid to visit the corner pub, Mill 109, Red Velvet Bakery, Lil’s Pantry, Seaworthy (vintage home furnishings), Salty Dog (pet boutique), and Colors (paint your own pottery shop). Or, try riding fat bikes on the beach. The long stretch of sand outside your front door provides a perfectly soft surface fat bike training ground for kids.
But there’s more than sand at this beach. There is also plentiful dirt! Grab your mountain bikes and ride the ever-expanding trail system planned and built by the experts at Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Buck’s Bike Shop offers rentals for any holes in your family bike lineup, and some rental cottages even come with cruisers as well (inquire within).
Who knew a tiny little beach town could inspire so many cycling opportunities! Seabrook was made to ride, so get out there to hit the beach, and then some.
If you started drooling at the mention of dirt (above), boy, is there a family mountain bike destination for you—Whistler, B.C.! This mountain bike mecca features some of the best downhill and cross-country riding in the world, and it is totally kid-friendly.
Pull up to the village and park your car for the entire duration of your trip. You can walk or ride to literally hundreds of restaurants, shops, movie theaters, parks, playgrounds, hiking trails and more. While riding is discouraged inside the pedestrian village itself, steps away, just outside the village (and all the way up and down the mountain), riding is heavily encouraged—it’s part of the Canadian mountain culture. Ride on!
Whistler offers miles and miles (rather, kilometers) of mountain bike trails and over 40km of paved trails. Trails on the mountain, outside the village and around Lost Lake are all marked like ski lifts with varying degrees of difficulty, so you know where to go and where not to, based on your family’s skill level.
On the mountain, kids get a kick out of riding the chairlift with their bikes, and some will don a full face helmet and pads for the first time at Whistler. Make sure to snap pics! And when it’s time to dismount for a short break from the bike, Peak to Peak Gondola rides, hiking, fishing, rafting and zip lining are just a handful of the mountain’s many adventures to explore with the fam. A brief warning on Whistler, once you experience this mountain, you might not want to leave. Ever.
Just an hour east of Seattle, past Snoqualmie Pass, over the Cle Elum River and through the woods, an inland family bike destination awaits: Suncadia. Known for its golf courses and luxurious spa, Suncadia also offers miles of car-free bike riding on paved trails that wind through the resort’s many neighborhoods, pools, greens, parks, playgrounds, and a great day’s end destination called Swiftwater Cellars (a kid-friendly winery and restaurant with live music in the lounge and outdoor amphitheater).
Outside the resort, the riding continues with endless stretches of country roads and mountain biking at the Rat Pack (ask locals for directions). Also, the Suncadia Multisport Festival at the end of July features a triathlon, duathlon, full and half marathons, 25-mile Cycle Tour and a Brewfest. Other kid friendly activities at the resort include an amazing pool (with waterslides), fitness center, tennis, basketball, kite rentals, bike rentals, paddleboard and canoe rentals, hiking, rafting, fly fishing and family BBQ dinners at Nelson Dairy Farm on summer Saturday nights.
So whether you’re drawn to the sea, the slopes, or somewhere in between, let your family’s next summer adventure begin on two wheels in the Great Northwest.