Nothing to do today? How about venturing out into the great outdoors and exploring one of the many local parks for a few hours. Pack up lunch and enjoy the fresh air for a change! Here are some of my favorite local places to frequent with the kids.
Lewisville Park- Trails galore for the family to explore! This is the county’s oldest regional park, established in the 1930s. This park features 154 acres of forest and meadows bordering the East Fork of the Lewis River, with a 3-mile trail system meandering throughout the park. Families can enjoyswimming, fishing, picnicking, and horseshoes. There is one main baseball field and several play fields, playgrounds, and restrooms located throughout the park. There are covered picnic area’s that can be reserved as well as several uncovered picnic areas with bbq pits that are available without reservations. A small day use parking fee (aprox $3) does apply during the seasonal months.
Battle Ground Lake State Park– Nineteen miles northeast of Vancouver, the spring-fed, volcanic Battle Ground Lake lies nestled in hills. The park, with its sandy beach and picturesque beauty, is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, trout, bass and catfish fishing, picnicking and hiking. There is a walking trail that goes all the way around the 28 acre lake which takes about an hour to walk with children. It’s also one of the few parks that caters to equestrians. Facilities include a hitching post and five miles of horse trails. Deep waters allow for freshwater diving. Accommodations include 35 developed campsites and 15 primitive walk-in sites, restrooms, showers, playground equipment and several covered and uncovered picnic areas. This is a great place to take the little canoe or rubber raft and go for a paddle! Bald eagles and other wildlife frequent the park often. No day use fee required.
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge- Located on the shore of the Lower Columbia River, 10 miles downstream from the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area. This 5,217 acre refuge is home to many species of animals and is a great day trip with the kids! Bring along the binoculars and a camera! You can drive through the refuge via a 4 mile route and stop often to catch glimpses of various birds such as bald eagles, sandhill cranes and geese. Other wildlife such as otters, beavers, squirrels, turtles and several other interesting creatures in their native habitat can be seen throughout the park! There are couple developted trail heads inside the refuge so you can get out and explore further into the wilderness. The refuge also contains the historic Cathlapotle townsite, which was visited by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806, and today is one of the best-preserved Native American sites in the Northwest United States. If you have never been here, this is a MUST SEE PLACE! Expect to pay a park fee of about $10 per vehicle for the day.
Lacamas Regional Park-This 312-acre park is a fisher’s paradise, with a nice mixture of bass, bluegill and perch in the waters of Round Lake, which is located within the park. There are also many excellent bird-watching areas around the park, and the upland forests support a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, beavers, coyotes, osprey, ducks, geese, bald eagles and many other birds. A multitude of photographic opportunities – especially in mid April, when the Camas Lilies are in bloom. An additional area of interest is the series rock formations located in the potholes, near the falls. The park contains a 6-mile network of scenic hiking trails, which connects to Heritage Trail. The park has picnic areas, playground equipment and is free to use!
Pacific Community Park- NE 18th Street between NE 164th and 172nd Avenues in Vancouver. This park features Walking, jogging and bicycling trails, A HUGE playground area and a 10,000 sq ft. extreme sports park. There are also basketball courts and open lawn play areas along with a 8 acre fenced off leash dog park. The park has several trails to explor and has backyard demonstration areas for gardeners. There are covered and uncovered picnic areas, restrooms and drinking foutains available throughout the park as well. No day use fee to use!
Klineline Pond- Klineline Pond is a very popular place to swim, with a bathhouse, roped swimming areas, observation platforms, and concessions and lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
The park also features 35 acres of developed parkland and 368 acres of un-developed greenspace. Salmon Creek Regional park is also the eastern trailhead for the Salmon Creek Trail where you can walk or ride bikes. Klineline has covered and uncovered picnic areas, fishing and a sprayground play area along with restrooms. No day use fee to use!
Pack up a lunch and enjoy the great outdoors for a few hours today!