Mount Rainier National Park – Paradise, Washington

Mt. Rainier National Park EntranceMount Rainier National Park – Drive to Paradise
What does a mother do who is traveling with kids when her patience is running thin and her husband is out-of-town?  She packs up the kids, grabs her mother and drives to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park!

Mount Rainier National Park is shockingly beautiful!  The drive to Paradise from the Seattle area is absolutely stunning.  I could feel the tension leaving my body the longer we were driving along the winding road toward the Mountain.

Although I was raised in the Seattle area and had visited Mount Rainier two or three times in my life I was once again in awe of its majesty.  It is something to behold far off but up close its beauty and strength is so much more pronounced.   We drove there via Enumclaw, WA.  Along this route to the park you will find the White River, periodic canopies of trees over the roadway, and charming cabins that tempt you to stay.  Be careful to watch for signs.

Both mom and I were so engrossed in the scenery we missed the turn altogether!  We didn’t realize until MUCH later when we were headed down the other side of the mountain.  Whoops!  The entrance fee to get into Paradise is $15 per vehicle.  The pass/receipt is good for 7 days so you can really stay and explore as long as your schedule allows.

From the Seattle area it is faster to visit Mount Rainier National Park via Sunrise so I had actually never been to Paradise.  Have I missed out!  There is so much to see on the way up.

Once you arrive at the top the new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise welcomes you.  If you don’t pack a lunch you can buy a snack or full meal at the café.  The gift shop has some great gear and souvenirs you can pick up.  My mom bought some lovely hammered earrings to remember the day.  Isn’t jewelry such a great thing to buy for a souvenir?  One way to make sure you enjoy what you bought instead of it finding its way to the trash can soon after you leave.

Mom has arthritis so it wasn’t going to work to take a long hike but we did enjoy a 20 minute walk up.  She took Girlr down to enjoy ice cream on the terrace so the boys and I could spend more time hiking.

After visiting I have to say I would LOVE to stay a night or two at the lodge.  You can pay a little less to share a bathroom with other visitors or splurge for your own!  I’m not sure I’m quite ready yet to share a toilet with strangers.  Since our kids aren’t old enough to enjoy two full days of hiking I see it better suited for a romantic getaway.   Perhaps David and I will add that to the bucket list!

Travel with Kids travel tips when heading to Mount Rainier National Park – Paradise

  • Be ready to dress warm by bringing a jacket or sweatshirt or layer your clothing so you are comfortable no matter what the weather.
  • Check for road closures/conditions at Mount Rainier National Park Road Status Web Page
  • Leave early in the morning so you have lots of time to explore.
  • Pack a lunch so you can enjoy a picnic.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.  At this elevation you will need it! You and your kiddos can easily get nauseated and feel sick if you don’t drink enough water at high elevations.
  • Binoculars are fun to have.

Pros:  Mount Rainier National Park – Paradise

  • Stunning scenery, pictures just don’t do it justice.  It is breathtaking.
  • Makes for a great day trip.
  • Relaxing drive and walk around Paradise.
  • There are plenty of places to get out and explore along the way.
  • The standard park pass lasts 7 days from when you buy it so you can go back for more!
  • Great hiking trails.
  • Family friendly.
  • Great way to connect with your loved ones and nature!
  • Hot food, lodging, and nice gift shop at Paradise.

Cons: Mount Rainier National Park – Paradise

  • There could be stop and go traffic depending on road work.
  • Must be super vigilant if you travel with kids because at certain parts of the hike there may a steep drop just off the trail.

If you can’t decide between visiting Paradise or Sunrise on your trip to Mount Rainier National Park, make sure to check out the post I published about our family hike at Sunrise.

Hope you feel inspired.  I can’t wait to go back!

Emily Oak Home Sweet Road


About Emily Oak

I am a Mother, a Lover, a Traveler, Entrepreneur and Blogger. I crave adventure, appreciate good leather, find old weathered wood beautiful, prefer french pressed coffee, and feel alive running in the rain (albeit at a snails pace)! I believe in living passionately, loving extravagantly, taking risks, forgiving often, and living for the audience of One. I am an introvert but you wouldn’t know that if you met me. I LOVE people.