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Family Travel Five: Take the Family on a Northwest Holiday

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By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

RISMEDIA, March 25, 2011—(MCT)—Take your family on a coastal adventure in the Northwest. Here are five places where you can explore the craggy coastline and the beauty of the saltwater beaches, play a round of golf or spot a tufted puffin.

1. Forks, Wash. Visit the complex landscape protected within Olympic National Park & Forest. Opportunities to bond with nature are plentiful. This is the most significant habitat for bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Beachcombing, hiking and fishing also await families. Consider the Kalaloch Lodge inside the park as a base. Accommodations are rustic yet charming, and the lodge offers tremendous views of the Pacific Ocean as well as the opportunity to spot puffins, sea otters, seals and other sea birds. While visiting, be sure to ask about the dozens of shipwrecks in the area.

2. Four Seasons, Seattle, Wash. Venture into the high-energy Pike’s Place Market where the kids will be amused by the famous, fish-flinging market crew. Stroll the waterfront, visit the original Starbucks and tour the Seattle Art Museum, all within a few minutes’ walk from the luxurious Four Seasons, which offers views of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. The hotel’s Kids in the City package includes in-room movies, pint-size bathrobes and age-appropriate welcome amenities. If needed, book a second adjoining room at half price. Kids also will have the opportunity to join the chef in the pastry kitchen and make their own cotton candy.

3. San Juan Islands, Wash. Hop the ferry from Seattle and explore the San Juan Islands. The destination consists of three islands: Orcas, Lopez and San Juan, each with its own unique flavor. An outdoor family’s paradise, your active crew can choose from hiking, road and mountain biking, kayaking, sailing and scanning the sea for the more than 85 orca whales that live in this northwest sanctuary. Also, hike to waterfalls, snack on produce at farmer’s markets and enjoy local art galleries.

4. Siuslaw National Forest, Corvallis, Ore. Explore sand dunes, coastal forests, estuaries and trout-rich rivers as you sample the Oregon coast with your kids. The forest extends from the coastal town of Tillamook to Coos Bay. Dine on local seafood served in casual settings. Hike on more than 200 miles of low-elevation trails, making it more appealing to both young and senior members of your family. Consider camping along the way at one or more of 40 developed campgrounds.

5. Bandon Dunes, Ore. With Oregon’s Pacific coastline as a backdrop, a family holiday or reunion at this seaside resort provides a top-notch experience for avid golfers as well as an extensive menu of other options both on the property and nearby. At check-in, ask about the trail system that winds through sand dunes to views of the ocean and the resort’s four golf courses. Consider whale-watching, horseback riding, fishing, sea kayaking and kite surfing. Hundreds of species of birds nest in the area, including the tufted puffin. Golf lessons are available on site, including specialty lessons for juniors.

(c) 2011, The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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