Top 7 Cool Water Spots in Portland to Beat the Summer Heat

The Pacific Northwest has historically been known for its mild summers but the region has experienced more frequent and intense heat waves in recent years, making it essential to find refreshing ways to cool down. If you’re in Portland, you’re in luck! This guide highlights seven fantastic water spots where you and your family can beat the heat and enjoy a fun-filled day.

Sellwood Riverfront Park Beach

Address: 1221 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202

Park Hours: 5 a.m. – midnight

Sellwood Riverfront Park is a haven for dog lovers living south of downtown Portland. However, during summer months, the park’s shoreline on the Willamette River draws additional crowds of tub floaters,  swimmers, and beer-koozie-holders. The park includes picnic tables, a boat dock, a dog off-leash area, and paved and unpaved paths.

Tips for visitors: Ensure safety by swimming in designated areas and watching out for river currents. The sand is pretty gravelly and the park is often overrun with dogs.

Audrey McCall Floating Dock + Beach

Audrey McCall Floating Dock is located along the Willamette River in Portland. This spot provides a floating dock for swimming and a small beach area for sunbathing. You can enjoy the river's cool waters during the hot summer months. The area has nearby picnic spots and restrooms for convenience.

Tips for visitors: Follow safety guidelines, especially when swimming in the river, and always be mindful of the currents. If you can’t find a spot in the dock, head north to the other side of the Hawthorne Bridge where Fire Station 21’s floating is often less crowded.

Blue Lake Regional Park Splash Pad

Address: 21224 NE Blue Lake Rd, Fairview, OR 97024

Splash Pad Hours: 11 a.m. -78 p.m.

Blue Lake Regional Park Splash Pad is situated in Fairview. The splash pad includes various colorful features that shower, dump, and pour water. The park also offers amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, a disc golf course, a discovery garden, and restrooms. Blue Lake itself provides opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing.

Tips for visitors: The parking fee is $5 per car or $7 per bus (free with annual parking pass). The splash pad is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Note that the disc golf course and swim beach close one hour before the park closes.

Spring Garden Park Splash Pad

Address: 3332 SW Spring Garden St, Portland, OR 97219

Splash Pad Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Spring Garden Park’s nature-based play areas foster imaginative play for all. This kid-friendly spot in the Multnomah neighborhood is a pretty contained area with a huge playground and a splash pad. The park also features musical chimes, contemporary play structures, and the playground's signature customized observation tower.

Tips for visitors: Essentials for a visit include towels, sunscreen, and water bottles. Supervise children at all times and follow the park’s safety rules. Visiting during less busy hours can provide a more relaxed experience.

Walton Beach

Address: 38378- 9723, 38798 NW Reeder Rd, Portland, OR 97231

Hours: Dawn – 10 p.m., and close to overnight use and camping

Located on Sauvie Island, Walton Beach is the most popular beach on the island and the main beach area is accessible via Reeder Road. This sandy beach on the Columbia River is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The area offers scenic views and ample space for relaxation.

Tips for visitors: Please note that there are no lifeguards on duty and the shoreline often has sudden drop-offs. Watch children very closely and personal flotation devices are recommended when they are in or near water. Beach parking is subject to Sauvie Island Wildlife Area parking permits.

Woodlawn Park Splash Pad

Address: NE 13th Ave and Dekum St, Portland, OR 97211

Splash Pad Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Woodlawn Park in northeast Portland features open fields and towering trees. The splash pad is located right in the middle of the area and is the perfect size for younger kids. Other park amenities include picnic tables, a playground, an outdoor stage, paved paths, a soccer field, a softball field, a basketball court, and a nature patch.

Tips for visitors: Supervising children is necessary to ensure their safety. The park has tons of seating for parents to relax while their children make some summer memories. Visit during off-peak hours for a more enjoyable experience.

North Clackamas Aquatic Park

Address: 7300 SE Harmony Rd, Milwaukie, OR 97222

Daily Hours: noon – 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

North Clackamas Aquatic Park features a 29-ft rock climbing wall, several water slides, and swimming pools. The swimming pools include a wave pool with both deep and shallow areas, an interactive area with a cascading fountain, a large hot tub for those over the age of 18, and a kiddie pool for those under 6 years of age. Click here for rates.

Tips for visitors: Denim, or swimwear with zippers, buckles, or rivets are not permitted on the water slides. Individuals 9 years and younger must be accompanied in the water by a responsible supervisor 13 years of age or older and must have a responsible supervisor on-site at all times.

Portland offers various water areas to help residents and visitors beat the summer heat. From water parks to splash pads and serene beaches, there’s something for everyone. Just remember to pack essentials, follow safety guidelines, and enjoy the refreshing water activities these locations offer.

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