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Family Mountain Biking

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What’s to Love:  Before I get started with my usual format, I want to apologize for the lack of photographs.  It was raining pretty hard for our entire ride, and the camera batteries died right when we were getting started. Hopefully, I’ll get some additional photos soon! Despite that, the “EasyClimb Trail” in Cascade Locks is the perfect outing for parents who want to mountain bike with their kids. The two mile loop features a little bit of everything, EXCEPT hill climbs! There is ample parking, no fees, and plenty of signage – it’s almost impossible to get lost. I’m convinced this is the #1 option for mountain biking with young kids…period. If you think there is a better option, I’d love to hear about it.

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17 Awesome Family Games

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What’s to Love:  Adventure doesn’t always have to be something wild and crazy.  Sometimes, we simply have to use our collective imagination.  With so much attention on media, video games, and electronics, I’m wondering if anyone out there is into board/card games anymore. You know, the games that come in boxes, have a cardboard playing surface with some snazzy artwork, playing pieces, dice, and rules no one ever wants to read.  Do you remember these relics of our childhood years?

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White River Sno-Park (West)

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IMG_0051What’s to Love:  I recently asked for a sledding recommendation on the Portland Family Adventures’ Facebook page. White River Snowpark, located about 6 miles north of Government Camp on Hwy 35, was the unanimous winner! With such accolades, I had to go check it out with my family – we were not disappointed. While many great areas exist for sledding, hiking and/or snowshoeing in winter, this may be the best of the best.

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Eagle Landing Golf Course

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Eagle Landing Golf CourseWhat’s to Love:  Do you want a private golfing experience MINUS the private club? Eagle Landing Golf Course has a beautiful public facility featuring 36 holes (two 18-hole courses!) of the best, and most picturesque, miniature golf in Portland. Couple that with 27 holes of stellar par-three-golf, and you have an outing that is just right for the whole family.

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The Circuit Kids Club

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Bouldering is an incredible sport for kids! It builds confidence and tremendous strength all the way to the core of the body. As many of you know, my older son Rhys (age 9) is on The Circuit’s competitive climbing team “The Circuit Breakers.” To learn more about The Circuit, read my original post here.

Last year, the competitive team had six members qualify for the American Bouldering Series (ABS) National Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado! One team member received a 4th place finish, and another member was the National Champion!!! The Circuit has one of the top teams in the country. Here is a video of the highlights from Nationals.

How did the Circuit team get so good? I feel it’s mainly due to excellent coaching and committed parents and climbers. Another reason is early exposure to climbing via low-stakes (HIGH FUN) climbing clubs and camps at The Circuit. These happen throughout the year, but I wanted to draw your attention to The Circuit’s upcoming “Fall Kids Club.”

There are several options for enrollment. Either click the flyer picture above or click here for more information. The clubs are a great way to see if bouldering is a good fit for you child. Perhaps, they are already climbing the walls at home anyway!

Here is a short clip of my kids climbing at The Circuit:

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

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Ridgefield Wildlife RefugeWhat’s to Love:  As stated on their website, “The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge was established (along with 3 other refuges in the Willamette Valley of Oregon) in 1965, in response to a need to establish vital winter habitat for wintering waterfowl with an emphasis on the dusky Canada goose whose nesting areas in Alaska were severely impacted by the violent earthquake of 1964. Ridgefield Refuge is currently approximately 5,300 acres of marshes, grasslands and woodlands.” This Refuge is a must do for young hikers who might enjoy bird watching.

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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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Grand Central Bowling

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Grand Central BowlingWhat’s to Love:  Simply stated, this is one of the nicest bowling alleys you’ll ever visit in the greater Portland area. I haven’t been to all of them, but Grand Central is head and shoulders above most of the ones I’ve visited. Your family will certainly enjoy the leather couches, tables and food service right at your lane, upstairs game room, and cleanliness of the entire establishment.

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Milo McIver State Park

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Milo McIver State ParkWhat’s to Love:  Milo McIver State Park is located along the Clackamas River and is only about 30 miles from Portland. For being so close to Portland, it has an “off-the-beaten-path” feel to it. There are some nice picnic areas with grills and plenty of camping, but it’s the disc golf (27 holes) that makes the park a prime destination for the whole family.

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Sandy Ridge Trail System

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Sandy Ridge Trail SystemWhat’s to Love:  Feel like riding some sweet trails with the family? The Sandy Ridge Trail System offers approximately 15 miles of prime mountain biking in a beautiful setting. The entire trail system is relatively new, and while hiking is allowed, the trails were designed primarily for mountain biking. Most of the trails fall under the “intermediate” or “advanced” category, but I can recommend two options for beginning-level riders.

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