Some parents are horrified when they think of travelling long distances in a car with young children. Add in that you are not going to use any technology and many families would say that is impossible. Well Rachel and Andrew Machnee do not and have been on multiple family roadtrips with their 3 young children.

Travelling is their passion and they are sharing 5 family  west  coast destinations that you will love!

Note: I have known Rachel since we were children. We recently reconnected and after hearing about their family’s road trips I knew that I needed her to share their adventures on the blog. My only wish is that we lived in the same city to go on adventures together with our kids.

Road Tripping with 3 Young Children

Our family LOVES going on road trips… We love discovering new landscapes, exploring new places, spending family time together, and we LOVE staying in hotels and eating at local cafes and restaurants.

Four years ago we went on our first BIG road trip… 37 days, 10,000 kilometers, and 23 states later, and we were hooked.  During this trip we had only one small toddler. Now we have 3 kids under the age of 5!  Trips these days are a little louder and a little bit crazier, but we still enjoy the trips (most of the time.

Traveling with young children can be a challenge but it is also super rewarding.  Kids get excited over mundane things that adults tend to overlook.  Walks on the beach are SO much more exciting when I have my 2 and 4 year old with me, suddenly every rock or shell is a treasure and each new bend brings an exciting new discovery.

5 Family West Coast Destinations

Our trip this year took us over 10,023 kilometers, through 3 provinces and 7 states in 38 days.   We traveled through Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Montana.  It would take me too long to tell you ALL of the things that we did on our trip. Here were our top 5 Favourite places that we visited.

#1: Oregon Coast

We LOVE the Oregon Coast.  The beaches are rugged, the towns are adorable, and there are so many fun things to do.  In Astoria the kids got to climb up the 125-foot tall Astoria Column and fly balsa wood airplanes off the top.  In Tillamook they got to see how cheese is made at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  At the Yaquina Head Lighthouse they loved dressing up in old time costumes in the interpretive centre.

One of our favorite things was a really cool driftwood beach where we found some amazing shelters that people had built out of driftwood!  There are so many adorable coastal towns and amazing beaches and I could go on gushing about it forever.

#2: Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, California

This was REALLY cool.  More than 17,000 elephant seals call the rookery home, there is a boardwalk right beside the beach.  It is amazing to get to see these huge creatures up close in their natural environment.  The kids loved it and would have been happy to stay all day.

#3: Morro Bay, California

We love this coastal town.  Morro Bay is small enough that we can walk everywhere and don’t have to use our car at all, which we love.  There is a really fun playground with a ship that the kids loved playing on.

There are also a lot of restaurants with patios looking out onto the harbor. We found harbor patios to be perfect when eating out with kids, watching the animals kept them entertained while we could have a peaceful meal.

Our favorite things about the bay was that it is home to so many different sea mammals and birds.  The highlight for us was seeing up close the mama otters and their babies floating in the sea. I am pretty sure our two year old’s favourite moment was watching seals excitement as they smelled the fishing boats coming into the harbour.

#4: Solvang, California

We LOVE Solvang! This little Danish village made us feel like we had gone to Europe.  All of the architecture is fashioned to look like a traditional Danish village.  As the lady in one museum told us, “Solvang looks more like Denmark than Denmark does!”  We really enjoyed walking around the town and of course sampling some delicious pastries at the Solvang Bakery!

#5:  Ostrich Land, California

Just outside of Solvang is Ostrich Land. Seeing Ostrich’s up close was so cool but getting to FEED them was amazing.  The kids were so excited and this was for sure one of the most memorable parts of the trip for our little ones.

We saw so many different things on our trip that it was hard to just choose my top 5.  One of the amazing things about a road trip is how many different things you are able to see.  We traveled through desserts, mountains, forests and plains.  We think that road tripping is the best way to experience this wonderful continent that we call home.  While some people call us crazy for spending 6 weeks in a car with our kids, we love it and can’t wait to go again.

How we make it work

We are fortunate that my husband is self-employed and is off work in January and February, so that is when we typically go on our trips.  By living on a tight budget while we are on the road we have discovered that we ususally spend no more than we would have at home.  We also have managed to get all of our hotel stays for free using our Visa points.



Rachel Machnee is a stay at home mother and loves to get outdoors and adventure with her 3 young children. Rachel and her husband have always loved travelling so it was only natural to bring the kids along on their adventures.

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