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Horning’s Hideout
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Horning's HideoutWhat’s to Love: I have a link on my site (perhaps, you’ve noticed it) for suggesting adventures. I’ve had more suggestions for Horning’s Hideout than any other destination. Today, I found out why. This is without a doubt in my top five favorite places to take the family. I know I can’t really do this, but I am demanding that you get in your cars and head out there as soon as possible. Your family should not miss out on this incredible resource.

Grandpa lending a handI want to kick myself for not knowing about this place sooner. A friend of mine recommended it about a year ago as a good place to take kids fishing. Okay…the fishing (stocked rainbow trout) is excellent; however, there is so much more to this place, and I’m not even sure where to begin.

It’s in a beautiful setting out near Hillsboro in North Plains, Oregon. When we arrived, we walked over to the lake and up to an old house. A woman came out and said, “Hello.” I asked her name, and she said, “I’m Mom.” After getting to know her, I have to say, “Mom” fits Jane perfectly. Watching her work with small children, it’s obvious she had plenty of practice over the years. She’s like that mom where everyone used to hangout when you were a kid. She has been the heart and soul of Horning’s (started as a cattle ranch) for 20+ years!

Bridge to an island at Horning's HideoutFamily-run places like this are disappearing. Regulations, liability, insurance rates, encroaching developments, buyouts, and many other factors make it more and more difficult to operate a family getaway like Horning’s. I recommend having a conversation with Jane about Horning’s, and her independent spirit will be clearly evident. The whole place feels like a beautiful homestead.

Rainbow Trout!Don’t bother even bringing your own fishing gear! It’s so inexpensive to rent at Horning’s, and you won’t miss it one bit. They have nice open-reel fishing rods, nightcrawlers, and “super bait.” While catching a nice rainbow trout is not guaranteed, it’s highly likely. My 5-year old son pulled in a nice 10″ – 12″ fish on his second cast! They’ll even provide you with a line for keeping the fish in the water, towel, de-hooker, and a receipt that serves as your license. No hassles! This is the easiest and best way I’ve ever seen to get kids fishing.

Cool Slide at Horning's HideoutWhen your child gets bored with the fishing, there is still so much to do. Head over to their playstructures, throw some horseshoes, ride a paddle boat, take a hike, mountain bike the surrounding trails, play on their incredible disc-golf courses, or simply relax with your family over a picnic lunch. We were there about 2 1/2 hours, but we could have easily stayed most of the day.

For us, the highlight was playing disc golf. I remember playing this with old-fashioned “Frisbees” and throwing at trees in Laurelhurst Park. The game has evolved quite a bit over the years. Now, most courses have tees, fairways, a multitude of disc options (e.g., putters, drivers, chippers, etc.), and actual goals in which to throw your discs. It wouldn’t surprise me if courses start popping up offering caddies, carts, and country clubs. Kidding aside, disc golf is a fun, low-stakes game that can be played by almost anyone. It’s also a great way to get some exercise!

Caveats: This is an “old school” getaway. Don’t expect high-end amenities that you’ll find at some resorts- it has more of a family campground feel. The food choices are limited to frozen treats and some candy bars. They do sell bottled water as well. If you’re planning a half or full-day, bring your own picnic or snacks.

Unfortunately, the lake is not for swimming. It would be so nice to jump in there on a hot day, and they used to have a rope swing. Apparently, the swimming was too much of a liability.

Website: Horning’s Hideout

Distance from Portland: It’s about 27 miles from downtown Portland, but you’ll want to give yourself at least 45 minutes to get there. Here is a Google Map of the area.

Recommended Ages: A great destination for the whole family. You’ll want to keep a very close watch on toddlers, especially by the water. See my recommendation below (Family Tips) concerning infants/toddlers and disc golf.

Parental Stress Factor: Very low stress hangout! Obviously, anytime there is water, flying hooks and boats, there will be a level of acute awareness. However, the family has done everything possible to make their property safe, fun, and low stress for parents.

Physical Difficulty: Walking around the lake is not a problem. Playing 18 holes of disc golf might be a bit of a challenge for some people. Their new course will have steeper terrain on which to hike. While much of the property is not accessible, the lake is accessible for handicap access with wheel chair ramps.

Family Fun Factor: Very high! These types of getaways were always my favorite as a kid, and we had a blast while we were there. I just kept saying over and over again, “We’re definitely coming back to this place, and we’re going to bring some little friends with us.”

Pet Friendly: Well behaved dogs are

Weather Considerations: Open year round (8AM until dusk, which obviously changes with the seasons). They’re only closed on Christmas day. There is plenty of shade on the property, so hot sunny days are not out of the question. I’m sure the Fall season is gorgeous and very comfortable in terms of temperatures.

Paddle Boat and Water SquirterInsider Info: There are currently (2) 18-hole disc golf courses, and they are building a third course that sounded a bit more extreme than the other courses. If you have children with you, I recommend playing the “short course,” which is like a par-three golf course. Ask about it, and Jane will direct you to the proper course.

The prices are so reasonable for ice cream bars, frozen juices, and bottled water. I felt like I had gone back in time to when I was a kid hanging out at my grandparent’s candy/ice cream shop.

Horning’s Hideout is a premiere outdoor venue for music concerts throughout the summer. Check their website for more information. They have had national acts with very large audiences and the music is always family friendly.

If you’re looking for a venue for a company picnic, family reunion, a wedding, and/or reception, this property has a lot to offer. It’s in a beautiful location with so many activities for your entire party.

Wedding setup at Horning's HideoutFamily Tips: Do you want to try tent or “car camping” with your family? Horning’s has RV-sites and tent-sites tucked back in the woods. This would be the perfect venue for a first-time camping trip. If camping, call for reservations, especially if you’re in a large group.

If you’re planning on playing disc golf and have an infant or toddler, you’ll want to bring a child carrier (preferably a backpack) instead of a jogging stroller. The courses are hilly and covered with grass. If there are others on the course, you’ll want to keep moving at a pretty good pace and early walkers will probably tire quickly. A backpack will allow you to throw the discs while carrying a child.

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Technorati Tags: Horning’s Hideout, fishing, kids, family, fun, music, Hillsboro, rent, gear, disc, frisbee, golf, course, rainbow, trout, stocked, pond, paddle, boats, concerts

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