Salem, Oregon Ranks Top 10 In USA Family Friendly Travel Destinations

The state capital building on a spring day. There are yellow flowers, green lawns, and pink blooming cherry trees in front of the Capital building.
Spring in Salem Oregon. Photo by Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr CC2.

Recently Yelp, known for reviews of restaurants, attractions and other businesses, compiled a list of America's top 10 family friendly destinations. The ten cities that made the cut were cities that matched the 'good for kids' attribute on Yelp and had high searches for family friendly activities. With attractions like the Gilbert House Children's Museum and the Enchanted Forest, we're not surprised that our gorgeous state capital made the list!

Salem, Oregon - Family Friendly And Full Of Nearby Adventure

Oregon Capital Building in Salem, Oregon. (Photo by Danielle Denham)

Yelp identified Salem as the number 10 family friendly travel destination in America because of fun spots like the riverfront carousel, the children's museum, and the Enchanted Forest. There's so much more to Salem than that though. We've compiled a list of favorite family friendly activities near Salem for you, so bookmark this page and keep it handy for your next trip through Oregon's state capital.

Silver Falls State Park - 33 Minutes East Of Salem

silver falls state park hike
Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Sathish J via Flickr CC2.

If you're willing to take a short drive east of Salem, then we can't recommend Silver Falls State Park enough. Just 24 miles out of the capital lay gorgeous hiking trails, waterfalls, and campgrounds. I always loved visiting Silver Falls State Park as a kid, particularly South Falls, which you can walk behind.

South Fall in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Jay Huang via Flickr CC2.

This spot is known as the "crown jewel" of the Oregon parks system for a reason. You can take the Trail of Ten Falls (7.8 miles) to see ten gorgeous waterfalls, or you can just visit a couple of waterfalls with shorter hikes.

Riverfront City Park

A play structure at Riverfront Park.
Photo by Michael Odonnell via Google Local.

If you're looking for a great place to get out and stretch your legs or let your kids get out some of their excess energy, stop by the Riverfront Park. There's a huge play structure, and it's free to visit! This park is pretty, has lots of shaded areas, walking trails and flowerbeds. It also has picnic tables, grassy fields, and a splash pad that runs in warm months.

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Willamette Heritage Center

A huge red building with a bridge going over a small river.
Photo by Helen Agnadopoulou via Google Local.

Older kids, or kids who love museums or history will appreciate visiting the Willamette Heritage Center.

Old equipment inside the mill.
Photo by Shar Fagersten via Google Local.

This museum has nine historic structures across five acres and explores everything from 1840's homes, Native Americans that lived in the Willamette Valley, a historic woolen mill, and settlers that came over on the Oregon Trail. You should plan to spend at least two hours here exploring the site.

Ticket To Play Board Game Cafe

An orange wall covered in shelves of board games. There are wooden tables and chairs to sit at and play games.
Photo by Ticket To Play Cafe via Google Local.

Looking for a place to eat or just a fun place to hang out on a rainy day? Kids and adults alike love Ticket To Play. For just five dollars ($2.50 for kids 12 and under), you can come in and play their huge library of board games (400 games!) for as long as you want.

A hot sandwich with meat and cheese.
Photo by Sara Duncan via Google Local.

The cafe serves up sandwiches, soups, wraps and salads. They have several beers as well as a good variety of non-alcoholic drinks available.

Wunderland Games

Arcade games.
Photo by Denise Barron via Google Local.

Wunderland offers up almost 100 video and arcade games to explore. There are several Wunderland locations in Oregon, and each one has unique games and attractions.

Arcade games.
Photo by Denise Barron via Google Local.

There are redemption games where you can win tickets and then redeem them for fun prizes, as well as dozens of arcade games to check out. This is a great rainy day activity, or a good spot for birthday parties.

Rock Boxx Climbing Gym

Two kids and several adults climbing up an indoor rock wall.
Photo by Travis Lewis via Google Local.

Rock Boxx is an awesome 5,400 square foot indoor climbing and bouldering gym where kids and adults can learn to climb. They offer climbing classes and mentoring for youth climbers, as well as an after school climbing program and other memberships. Kids must be at least three years old to climb at the Rock Boxx. Drop-in's are welcome. All climbers will receive a safety orientation before climbing and must sign a wavier, but are then welcome to climb all day!

Get Air Trampoline Park

Trampolines cover the floors in a huge, wide open indoor space.
Photo by Get Air Trampoline Park via Google Local.

This is the spot where you and your family can literally bounce off the walls. From toddlers to adults, this is one of our favorite indoor family friendly activities in Salem. Bounce around the wide open space, moving from trampoline to trampoline, throw yourself off of trampolines and into pits filled with large foam blocks, and enjoy other obstacles and activities like shooting hoops.

There are so many things to do in Salem that we can't list them all, but we hope our list of favorites will start you down the path to a perfect weekend of family friendly adventure.