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Family Vacations

Family Vacations: The Pacific

Portland proudly demures its skyline to the greeenery that surrounds it.
Portland proudly demures its skyline to the greeenery that surrounds it.

California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii represent some of the most diverse landscapes and cultures in the U.S. From the relaxed beach life along California's portion of the Pacific Ocean, to the snowy banks of Alaska's coastline, visitors to this region are treated to spectacular views from almost any perch they choose along the western coastline. We've assembled a list of family vacation destinations in the Pacific region and coupled them with Mobil-rated hotels and restaurants that cater to families for your convenience.

Travel to the San Diego Zoo, visit the Columbia River Gorge, or hike up the side of a Hawaiian volcano. If you arrive at the right time, you can catch big events such as California's Tournament of Roses Parade, Portland's Rose Festival and Rose Gardens, or the Washington State International Kite Festival. Or show true grit and arrive in Alaska in time for the Iditarod.



Iditarod Sled Dog Race

Covering more than a thousand miles from Anchorage to Nome, the Iditarod is the height of sportsmanship for mushers.

Saxman Native Totem Park

Learn about totems and their meaning at this site, where more than two dozen totem poles tell the story of life in Alaska.

World Ice Art Championships and Kid's Park

Late February's World Ice Art Championships and Kid's Park in Fairbanks is spectacular.


Alcatraz Island

Creepy and informative, a visit to San Francisco's Alcatraz Island gives some excellent insight into prison life.

Big Sur Coastline

Mysterious, majestic, jaw dropping - these are words used to describe California's Big Sur.

California State Railroad Museum

Sacramento shows off locomotives that helped to build it at the California State Railroad Museum.

Chinatown and the Chinese New Year

San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest community of Chinese in the U.S., and while the neighborhood is lively throughout the year, Chinese New Year brings a celebration to the streets.


Disneyland's dizzying array of things to do keeps families happy and entertained for days.


San Francisco's Exploratorium creates innovative hands-on exhibits that wow kids - and their parents.

The Getty Center

An extraordinary collection of art inside is rivaled by the gardens outside the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Golden Gate Bridge

Iconic, dramatic, beautiful, the Golden Gate Bridge delights visitors who drive or walk across as well as shutterbugs who try to catch a snapshot in just the right light.

Hearst Castle

Grand, and over-the-top, Heart Castle in San Simeon welcomes visitors for tours and living history programs.


Discover some of the best tourist destinations in Tinseltown.

La Brea Tar Pits

Los Angeles prehistoric swamp continues to give paleontologists something to work on and visitors something to see.


Imagination and reality meet at Carlsbad's LegoLand, a playground of possibilities inspired by - and made up of - Legos.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Many hands-on activities and truly awe-inspiring displays make a visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium memorable.

Napa Valley Vineyards

Drive through, hike around, or sit and sip, but don't miss an opportunity to explore California's Napa Valley.

San Diego Zoo

More than 800 species call the San Diego Zoo home. A world-class facility, plan for a long visit.

Santa Barbara

This charming Spanish-styled town features gardens, seaside diversions and activities year-round.

Santa Catalina Island

Arrive by ferry or boat on this car-free island just a short drive from Los Angeles, and enjoy a quiet seaside retreat.


San Diego's SeaWorld thrills kids with opportunities to touch, learn about, and see things aquatic.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Twenty-six-story trees tower at Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.

Tournament of Roses Parade

Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Parade celebrates the Rose Bowl each New Year's Day.

Venice Beach

Each day brings a reason for festivity and activity on Venice Beach.

Winchester Mystery House

A tangle of rooms, staircases, and doors, this mansion boggles visitors and designers.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park's mountains, trees, and waterfalls are legendary for their beauty.


Kapalua Beach

Maui's Kapalua Beach is among the best in Hawaii, and it's an ideal locale for families with toddlers.

Oahu's North Shore Big Surf Competition

The best arrive to compete in some of the world's tallest waves in November and December.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Learn about regional culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu.

The USS Arizona Memorial

This monument to Pearl Harbor pays tribute to the 1,177 crewmembers who died in the attack.

Waikiki Beach

Oahu's famed two-mile stretch of sand is a resort haven with plenty for kids and parents to do.

Waimea Canyon

A great place to catch a rainbow, Waimea Canyon's bright colors can be seen on foot or by helicopter.


Astoria-Megler Bridge

Cross the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington.

The Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls

See the many waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls.

Mount Hood

Outdoors enthusiasts arrive on this volcanic mountain to take advantage of its beauty, trails and sights.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Waterfalls and forested trails create a paradise for those in search of exercise or escape.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Rent an ATV to cross the landscape of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Pioneer Courthouse Square

This historic spot is a point of civic pride and celebration.

Portland Rose Festival and Rose Gardens

June is time for the Portland Rose Festival and a visit to the Rose Gardens.


Marking the end of Louis and Clark's long journey, the town of Seaside delivers history with a dollop of charm.


Northwest Folklife Festival

Memorial Day weekend thousands converge on Seattle for a cultural celebration, the Northwest Folklife Festival.

Mount St. Helens

From here, visitors get a pristine view of the Pacific Northwest, and can also learn about the power of a volcano.

Pike Place Market

Lively and full of food, art and music, the Pike Place Market is wonderfully entertaining.

San Juan Islands

From the Puget Sound's San Juan Islands you can see sea lions, dolphins and orcas.

Seattle Center

Soar up the Space Needle and visit the heart of Seattle at the Seattle Center.

Washington State International Kite Festival

Colors and shapes take over the windy skies in August in Long Beach, Washington.

From Washington, continue exploring the continent -- it's sometimes just a short boat-ride from Washington to Canada, and it's a brief journey by plane to the warm and welcoming shores of Mexico. In addition to family vacation in the U.S., we've compiled favorite vacation areas in Canada and Mexico. Continue reading to find out more.

Visit the following links to learn about scenic drives or to get recommendations on Mobil Travel Guide's ratings on hotels, resorts, and restaurants.