Kate’s PNW Trip

CATEGORIES: Kate, Travel

So you may have noticed that when we re-designed our blog, we kind of did away with The Scoop section of our blog, mostly because with the way the new site was designed, we couldn’t really have a page that didn’t show up on the main page anymore (and also because, even between the two of us, it was really hard to post 4 times a week. Burnout, y’all.) But we really loved those once-a-week lifestyle posts, so we decided that if we have something non-food to post, Friday is a great time. If you’re anything like me, I’m just thinking about naps and pizza delivery.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that last month, my family and I went to the Pacific Northwest for our family vacation. We live thousands of miles away from both my family and my husband’s family, so we don’t get to see either of our families as often as we’d like to (and it only gets harder and more expensive as our kids get older). Two summers ago, we went to Utah to see my family, so we were way overdue to go to the Seattle area to see my husband’s family.

A few disclaimers: 1) This was not sponsored in any way, just our family’s vacation. 2) Both Seattle and the Oregon Coast are Sara’s territory (in fact, I asked her which town we should go to in Oregon because there are so many!) So I’m barely scratching the surface of places to eat/things to do. We did a lot of really touristy things because they were fun to do with our kids. We didn’t eat in a lot of (read: any) trendy restaurants because as fun as it is to pay $10 for a meal your kid doesn’t eat and will not eat in the future, we decided to opt out of that on this particular vacation. 3) Pretty much all these pictures were taken with my iPhone. I actually did bring my big, fancy camera, but the only time I used it was when I shot some family pictures. On one hand, there were times I wished I had brought it with me instead of leaving it at the in-laws’ house or our hotel (especially when we were exploring the coast), but on the other, nothing hinders adventure quite like an expensive 10-pound weight around your neck. So. In the spirit of living in the moment, I decided on my cell phone.


For the first leg of our trip, we flew from our tiny little Louisiana airport to Seattle. PNW Trip-2This was the first time we had flown in 3 years, so the older two were pretty nervous…PNW Tripand my youngest, who has actually flown more than the others combined (but it all happened by the time he was 1) was in a perpetual state of wonder.
PNW Trip-3 We stayed with Grandma and Grandpa, but we spent a lot of time enjoying a bigger city and playing with cousins. My computer needed repairs, so after dropping it off at the Apple store, we went to MOD Pizza (which I’ve written about before, but I maintain it’s one of my favorite, most fun, most family-friendly restaurants.)

This is my kid’s Dominic…

PNW Trip-4

And my Marianberry-Lemonade Float. Do it.PNW Trip-5

I also went to Trader Joe’s FOR THE FIRST TIME. I know. I should have my food blogger’s license revoked. But we don’t have one close by and really, when I do go to places that have Trader Joe’s, fancy grocery shopping is rarely on my to-do list. It was a delightful place and I bought a lot of baguettes.

PNW Trip-16

We spent a day doing the whole Pike Place/waterfront thing and it was amazing (as usual. It’s so touristy, but it really is one of my favorite things to do in the world.)

My kids got their faces painted…

PNW Trip-13 PNW Trip-7 PNW Trip-6Note: if you want everyone to be super nice to your family, have your preschooler get a full-face Spiderman face painting. Everywhere we went, people were gasping and pointing at “Spiderman” and he felt pretty amazing.

Some highlights of Pike Place were the dude in the alien mask playing the bongos, the two guys playing a ukulele and a washtub bass, the smells coming out of Piroshky Piroshky, the giant cookies from Cinnamon Works Bakery, the cheese curds from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, the flowers…

PNW Trip-11

Even (especially!) when it’s crowded, Pike Place is a must every time we go.

Another must is Ivar’s for fish and chips, which has to include feeding the gulls our leftover fries. Chips. Whatever.

PNW Trip-10
PNW Trip-8

And one of my favorite moments of the trip!

We also had to explore the super creepy Curiosity Shoppe and finish off with a huckleberry waffle cone.PNW Trip-42

We also swam with cousins…

PNW Trip-17 PNW Trip-14 PNW Trip-15

and took family pictures…

PNW Trip-19

PNW Trip-18

After an AMAZING almost-week, we headed down to the Oregon Coast for a few days.


When we were planning this, I asked Sara where she stays in Oregon and she said they rent a house in Lincoln City. So, since there are a million places to visit on the Oregon Coast and I knew nothing about any of them, we picked Lincoln City. She said they rent a house in this neighborhood, but by the time I got around to making reservations, everything was pretty much booked, so I ended up going the hotel route. We stayed at the Coho Oceanfront Lodge. The thing we discovered in Lincoln City is that “hotel” and “motel” kind of take on different meanings than they have in the rest of the world. When we got there, we discovered some adorable, charming, clean, close-to-the-beach motels. And the Coho was great, but I think we could have spent less money and would have been just as happy in one of the motels. (There are seedy motels, too, don’t get me wrong–but if you read good reviews but are scared by the word “motel,” don’t be scared, it probably is as good as the reviews say.) But we were happy with our stay–the pool and hot tub were great, there was easy beach access, and it was family-friendly.

One thing we didn’t completely understand about the Oregon Coast was that it is cold. The weather is cold. The water is cold. It was a fabulous break from Louisiana, but it was also cold. Like, blue lips cold. It didn’t stop my kids from playing in the ocean for two days straight (I happily settled on the kite-flying…)

PNW Trip-21 PNW Trip-24 PNW Trip-25 PNW Trip-26 PNW Trip-27

PNW Trip-28

We also explored Lincoln City–we had incredible bacon-wrapped hot dogs at D Doggs,

PNW Trip-29

bought a kite, popped into all the little shops, and contemplated buying these…

PNW Trip-30

On one of the days, we headed to Newport and explored that area. You pretty much have to go to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. We saw the lighthouse…

PNW Trip-32

and the area around the lighthouse.

PNW Trip-31

There were all sorts of seabirds, seals, otters, sea lions, and we saw some whales!

We grabbed some lunch at Cafe Stephanie and then headed down to Cobble Beach at low tide to explore the tide pools. Everything about this area was so cool (except for the flies…)–the unique rocks, the sound they made when the waves came in and out, the incredible tide pools…PNW Trip-33

PNW Trip-37 PNW Trip-36 PNW Trip-35 PNW Trip-34

We spent about 3 full days there, which felt right.  On our way back to Seattle, we stopped at the Tillamook factory for more cheese. And another huckleberry waffle cone.

PNW Trip-40 PNW Trip-38 PNW Trip-39

We also tried to stop by Voodoo Doughnut, but after we saw the line, we opted for a picture instead.

PNW Trip-20

We spent another night with the grandparents (including a burger at Triple XXX Burger in Issaquah) and then headed home. We were the meanest parents in the world for not buying my kid a pack of gum from the vending machine (when he already had one in his bag.)

PNW Trip-41

It was such a fun trip, a really great balance between hanging out with family and kind of doing our own thing.


  1. Thanks for sharing this- we just went to the Oregon coast in July and I love it. I grew up in Oregon and my favorite is Neskowin. A quaint location with a large beach and a creek for the kiddos to play in when you don’t want to brave the cold waves. Just 20 minutes north of Lincoln City. Glad you got to go visit and I love your pics!

  2. Love this!! Thanks for sharing!! I visited Seattle for the first time a few months ago and this definitely brought back memories!!! 🙂

  3. We did the Redwood Forest in northern California (gorgeous) and then drove up the coast to stay at Lincoln City OR last year on vacation. We rented a beachfront condo thru VRBO that was the same or maybe even cheaper than a normal hotel rate plus it had a full kitchen and grill so we would go down the road to Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Market and buy seafood to cook at the condo. PLUS since bonfires are allowed on the beach we would bundle up (because brrr especially in the evenings), have a fire on the beach, eat some s’mores and watch the sunset over the ocean. It was basically perfect but we thought the same thing ..WHOA THIS WATER (and sometimes weather) IS COLD but like your kids mine were in it constantly for days! I fell in love with the Oregon coast and feel like it’s one of the best kept vacation spots in the country. Looks like a great trip! Seattle is on my bucket list!

  4. I love Oregon, my grandparents lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon and we would visit them every couple of years. I’ve been to Depoe Bay, Newport and Lincoln City. Oregon is absolutely breathtaking and I hope one day to take my family there. Thanks for the awesome pics, such memories with your family!

  5. Love the OR coast! A family friend owns the Blackfish Cafe in Lincoln City. We rented a place on the water in Rockaway Beach last summer and drove down to eat dinner there one night. You’re right when you say the water is not for swimming in the PNW but I loved making a campfire and having s’mores one evening. It’s also great for exploring the tide pools. We visited Tillamook Cheese factory during our trip too. The food in the restaurant was relish and the ice cream was sooo good!!

  6. Ah, your tide pool pics are amazing. With as many times as we’ve been to the coast while living here we’ve never managed to work out a tide pool excursion. Or timing with the rides is always off. And my husband is DYING to make it happen. It’s so funny how much he wants to go tide-pooling. Like even asked how weird it would be to take his buddy who was coming to visit to look for tide pools. Just the two of them. I told him it was in fact very weird. Haha! They didn’t go, so it’s still on our list.

    1. You should check out Indian Beach in Ecola State Park! Tide pools off to the south and a really nice beach all wrapped into one. We spent basically an entire afternoon there (12-4 pm, maybe?) and the pools were there the whole time!

  7. Pro-tip (I just learned this on my last trip to Portland) there are two Voodoos, the second location is much faster, because less people know about it/bit harder to get to/etc.

  8. Fun! I grew up in North Bend and love the Seattle area. Also that picture on the Oregon Coast is sooooooooo amazing. Like a giant reflection pool of eternity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.