The Independence Hotel is celebrating all things summer vacation with this list of 20 family friendly activities to try during our sunniest months.

*Note: Many of these activities require advance booking or stops at multiple locations, so make sure to check out each event’s website for details ahead of time.

1.  The Willamette River


  • Swim, paddle board, fish, or float via inner tube down the Willamette River (starting whenever you are brave enough to explore our chilly PNW waters).
  • Equipment must be acquired separately, but with a drop off point directly in front of the hotel, this marks a full day of convenient adventure!
  • We recommend Independence Kayak Rentals for kayak rental and pick-up shuttle service, or Salem Kayak Rentals for guided tours.

2.  Live Music and comedy shows at Cubanismo Winery

  • Cubanismo, “Pride. Passion. Pinot. It’s where Cuban Passion meets Oregon Pinot Noir”. Open daily form 11 – 5 pm no reservations are required. Check out their events calendar for frequent concerts and comedy shows at their vineyard.

3.  Eola Hills Winery’s Annual “Twilight in the Vines Series” and “Summer Uncorked Concert Series”

  • Eola Hill’s exclusive Twilight in the Vines dinner series is the perfect pairs gourmet dinners with their locally crafted wine – all accompanied by performances from top-notch musicians and set amongst their scenic vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills.
  • The Summer Uncorkedpresents live performances with multiple rotating local food trucks all summer long. Bring your own chairs or blanket and stake out a spot next to Legacy Lake for an evening of entertainment and enjoyment! Doors and food trucks open at 5:30PM and music kicks off at 6:00PM.

4.  Salem’s famous Riverfront Carousel

  • Salem’s Riverfront Carousel project brings together music, motion and beautiful, ornately carved and hand-painted animals that make it a unique and magical experience. It’s open 7 days a week and costs $2 per ride. Great for photos!

6.  The Great Oaks Food Trail

  • The Great Oaks Food Trail is a collection of farms, orchards, makers and eateries that feature fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Check out itineraries, maps, and search for family friendly, or chart your own adventure.

6.  Hike in the sunshine

  • Minto-Brown Island Park is a lovely local option about 20 min from the hotel with a beautiful network of trails to explore.
  • Up for more of a drive? Silver Falls is a 45 min drive and a “must experience” with over 10 waterfalls, several that you can walk behind (considered by many to be the Crown Jewel of the Oregon parks system).

 7.  Vista Balloon


  • For those traveling with kids over 40 inches tall, take flight and see the vineyards as only bids are designed to (April – end of August).

8.  Take a day trip to the coast 

  • Build a sand castle, fly a kite, buy some salt water taffy, visit a nature refuge, or head out on a coastal hike. The Oregon Coast is a playground of exploration! Both Lincoln City and Pacific City are about an hour from the hotel.


9.  The Independence Summer Farmers Markets 

  • Peruse fresh, local produce, plants, and other products, while enjoying music and other entertainment.
  • The Markets run from April through November on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm

10.  Berry Picking

  • Celebrate the bounty of summer by picking fresh strawberries and blueberries
  • Strawberries often start in May or June, followed by blueberries in July and/or August

11.  Left Coast Estates presents “After hours”

  • Every Friday starting June 3rd 5 pm – 8 pm

  • Bring your chairs and glassware and join us under the oaks. Order bottles of wine and pizza from the tasting room and enjoy the sounds from local musicians every Friday throughout the summer!!

  • Please RSVP by emailing Thank you!

12.  The J Foundation Presents “The BEST of the Valley BEER-B-Que & MUSIC Festival”

  • June 24th & 25th

13.  An “Herb and Lavender Wreath Workshop” at Red Ridge Farms 

  • Learn how to handcraft a fragrant lavender and herb wreath using blooms freshly harvested from Red Ridge Farm’s fields and gardens.
  • Your finished wreath makes a wonderful addition to any room, entryway, or makes a thoughtful gift.
  • June 25th, but check their events link for a plethora of educational and hands-on workshops.

14.  Airlie Winery presents “The Sounds of Summer”

  • Various Sundays starting June 19th – September 4th.
  • Don’t miss the chance to drink wine while enjoying live music in a beautiful setting! Jazz, soul, rock, American classics.
  • Most start around 5 pm.

      15.  Learn the history of Olive Oil at Red Ridge Farm’s working Olioteca

      • Classes take place throughout July and August.  Did we mention it’s free?
      • Learn basics about growing olive trees in your own garden. Discuss ideal growing conditions and review basic pruning techniques.

      16.  The River’s Edge Summer Series

        • Brought to you by the City of Independence, the River’s Edge Summer Series spans seven weeks of family-friendly fun, from July 7th- August 19th, located across from The Independence Hotel.

        • FREE movies in the park on Thursday nights starting at 9:30 pm

        • FREE lively concerts with food trucks on Friday nights starting at 6 pm

      17.  Fourth of July! (We’re in Independence, after all!)

        • Two spectacular fireworks shows on July 2nd and July 4th displayed over the Willamette River
        • Since 1902 Independence Days, has been a tradition and attracts visitors from near and far!
        • Three full days of non-stop fun with upbeat live entertainment,  family activities, and a diverse selection of food trucks.
        • A Grand Parade that stretches from Monmouth to Independence, a rubber ducky derby on the Willamette River, and MUCH MORE!

      18.  Airlie Winery presents “Starry starry night”

      • A camping sleepover at the Vineyard for all ages (August 6th and 7th)
      • Mary will be serving her famous blackberry pancake, egg and watermelon breakfast
      • Advance ticket purchase required

      19.  The Oregon State Fair at the Oregon State Fairgrounds

      • August 26th – September 5th
      • Classic State Fair with animals, rides, games, and concerts

      20.  Northwest Arts and Air Festival in Albany, Oregon

      • August 26th – 28th
      • A truly incredible event! With several Balloon ride events, including a “night glow” flight with illuminated balloons.
      • Art demonstrations and booths as well as concerts.

      Book our Family Getaway Package including:

      • A hotel tote bag
      • $25 credit at Territory (with purchase of entrée)
      • $10 at Independence Ice Cream Shop
      • Access to our “kids’ kit” during your stay, with activities to keep the kids engaged and entertained

      Choice of:

      • 2 tickets to a movie (movie theater is just a couple blocks from the hotel)
      • 2 fares to ride the Buena Vista Ferry
      • 2 tickets to ride the Salem Carousel