Things to Do in Vancouver

Vancouver—with the Columbia River for a southern border—is a hotbed for kayaking, boating, hiking, and biking, but the city also offers other fun family pursuits.

At the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge 18 miles to the north, see mallards, great blue herons, black-tailed deer, river otter, and beavers. Pick up a GeoAdventure kit to head out on a GPS-guided scavenger hunt with a biology or archaeology theme. Walk or bike the paved five-mile Waterfront Renaissance Trail, stretching from downtown Vancouver to Wintler Park, for a chance to watch harbor birds at play.

Vendors at the Vancouver Farmers Market, held on weekends from March through October, sell everything from locally grown produce to handcrafted jewelry. Kids can fill up on fresh cherries and cookie-dough-flavored popcorn.

Sporting families can play two 18-hole miniature golf courses at Hazel Dell Golf-O-Rama, where putting under a cannon and into a doghouse should draw plenty of laughs. During summer kids can find artifacts at reconstructed Fort Vancouver. Rangers explain the archaeological process and let kids dig in. Every generation will enjoy a trip to Big Al’s for bowling, watching sports, and the arcade. And more family fun awaits with the 3,900 square feet of rope-climbing walls at Source Climbing Center. No need to worry—instructors ensure that safety measures are followed at all times.

—Heather Larson