Lacamas Lake Regional Park

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Lacamas Park TrailWhat’s to Love:  This 312 acre park within a mile of downtown Camas, WA offers many recreational opportunities including: bird watching, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. We spent most of our time mountain biking the Lacamas Park Trail, which offers around six miles of trails and does a loop around Round Lake. There is also the Lacamas Heritage Trail, which is a 3.5 mile trail along the west side of Lacamas Lake.

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Vancouver Lake Park

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Vancouver Lake ParkWhat’s to Love:  Vancouver Lake Park is one of my new favorite spots. Unfortunately, it took me eight years to make it over the bridge for a visit. I was impressed with the entire park: clean, nice green space, picnic spots, grills, biking, and swimming. Plus, there was no day-use-fee! While summer lasts, make sure to include this on your tick list.

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Big Al’s: Vancouver & Beaverton

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What’s to Love:  If there’s one thing I love, it’s a sparkling clean bowling alley.  You’ll definitely find it at Big Al’s and much more! This entertainment hub features plenty of lanes for public bowling, a private bowling area, a HUGE sports bar and grill, video and arcade games, bowling pro shop, and plenty of space for group events.

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Ripzu Indoor Skatepark

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Ripzu Indoor SkateparkWhat’s to Love:  On May 2nd, 2012, Ripzu will be reopening!!!  They were able to work things out with their landlord and will be moving the entire space into the side with the mini-pipe.

On our ever continuing 2011 skatepark tour, we managed to find this gem in Vancouver, WA.  Ripzu has been open about a year and a half, but it seems like a brand new facility to me. Everything is in excellent condition with a superior riding surface and one of the nicest layouts for beginning riders in the Portland area.  

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The Source Climbing Center – Vancouver, WA

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The Source Climbing CenterWhat’s to Love:  For climbers, especially with kids, it doesn’t get much better than here in the Portland area.  We have some world-class bouldering and climbing gyms all within a 15 mile radius of downtown Portland.  Opening November of 2011, The Source Climbing Center in downtown Vancouver, WA is the latest addition to the climbing community.  Beautifully designed, The Source was built from scratch and offers a totally separate area for young children and beginners interested in climbing.

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Salmon Creek Park/Trail

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Salmon Creek TrailWhat’s to Love: When we moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999, we couldn’t find affordable rent in Portland, so we ended-up in Vancouver. After hanging out in Portland, we realized that it was a much better match for us. Thus, we left Vancouver after about 3-4 months with a pretty unfavorable impression of the area. Indeed, Vancouver (the ‘couv’) takes quite a bit of punishment from Portlanders. However, in terms of outdoor recreation (specifically bicycling on paved-paths), Vancouver has many opportunities that mirror Portland’s excellent reputation as a “biking town.”

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JJJump

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JJJumpWhat’s to Love: JJJump has two locations in the Portland area (Clackamas and Vancouver). This inflatable playland is very similar to Pump-it-Up, but doesn’t feel as corporate to me. We’ve only tried out the Vancouver location, and we had a great time. JJJump offers a good variety of inflatable structures, which will get you and your children bouncing, sliding, climbing, and crawling.

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Kids’ Club Fun & Fitness

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Entrance to Jungle PlaylandWhat’s to Love: The main attraction here – “Jungle Playland” – is free for adults and reasonably priced for kids. It’s the best indoor play structure I’ve seen in the Portland area. Bullwinkle’s Family Fun Center in Wilsonville has a nice structure, but this is as nice and bigger. There is just so much room for kids to move and play within this structure filled with great slides, a twirling tunnel, obstacles, and a plastic-ball plunge “pool.” Personally, I love the climbing nets and the fact that adults can go in the structure (if your back can handle it!) with their kids.

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