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31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon

08.01.17

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31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
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  • The Willamette River with downtown Portland in the distance and Sellwood Riverfront Park Beach on the right.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Sellwood Riverfront Park Beach.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Audrey McCall Floating Dock on the Willamette River with downtown Portland in the background.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Audrey McCall Floating Dock on the Willamette River with the Marquam Bridge and Tilikum Crossing Bridge in the background.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Fire Station 21 Floating Dock on the Willamette River with downtown Portland and the Hawthorne Bridge in the background.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Fire Station 21 Floating Dock.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Poet's Beach on the Willamette River and the Marquam Bridge with Tilikum Crossing in the distance.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Poet's Beach on the Willamette River and the Hawthorne Bridge and downtown Portland in the distance.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • The beach on the Willamette River at George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • The beach on the Willamette River at George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • St. Johns Bridge from the Cathedral Park boat ramp.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Swimming hole below St. Johns Bridge.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View looking northeast across the Columbia River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View looking east.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View of the Clackamas River looking west from High Rocks.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View of the Clackamas River looking east toward I-205 and High Rocks.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View of the Clackamas River looking east from Carver Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Swimming hole and beach along the Sandy River at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Railroad crossing over the Sandy River at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View of the Sandy River and Historic Columbia River Highway Bridge from Glenn Otto Community Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Looking south over the Sandy River from Glenn Otto Community Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Cottonwood Beach on the north shore of the Columbia River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Molalla River at Knights Bridge Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Molalla River at Knights Bridge Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View looking northwest along the Columbia River from Collins Beach on Sauvie Island.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View looking east across the Columbia River toward Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and Mount Hood from Collins Beach, Sauvie Island.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Swimming hole along Washougal River Road, mile marker 3.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Swimming hole at Washougal River Road, mile marker 4.7.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Washougal River swimming hole at mile marker 15.5 (photo taken at 3 p.m.).- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Washougal River swimming hole at mile marker 15.5 (photo taken at 3 p.m.).- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View of Washougal River just south of Dougan Falls.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Dougan Falls on the Washougal River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Taking the jump at Naked Falls on the Washougal River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Naked Falls on the Washougal River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • I-5 crossing over the Lewis River near Paradise Point State Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • I-5 crossing over the Lewis River near Paradise Point State Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • High bridge over the East Fork Lewis River at Moulton Falls Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • East Fork Lewis River at Moulton Falls Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • The beach along the Willamette River at Kelley Point Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Swimming hole on the east fork of the Lewis River at Lewisville County Park.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Scoggins Valley Park: Henry Hagg Lake's no-wake zone is great for sailboats.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Soggins Valley Park: The shore at Area C.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • A large and deep pool for jumping and swimming on the Molalla River at Day Use Site 2.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Deep water for big jumps on the Molalla River at Day Use Site 4.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Multicolored waters along the Molalla River at Day Use Site 11.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Twisting columnar basalt meets the emerald waters of the Molalla River at Day Use Site 11.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View looking out over the Clackamas River from Big Eddy Picnic Area.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Clackamas River just above the Big Eddy Rapids.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View from a small cliff-jumping spot under Carter Bridge along the Clackamas River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • Carter Bridge swimming hole on the Clackamas River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • The Narrows viewed from the Clackamas Highway.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • The Narrows, Clackamas River.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • The big pool below Punch Bowl Falls on Eagle Creek.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
  • View of Punchbowl Falls along the Eagle Creek Trail.- 31 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes in-and-around Portland, Oregon
Article
Team

With so much rain nine months out of the year, locals in the Portland metro area have plenty to complain about during the long winters, but they also enjoy three months of crystal clear blue skies along with arguably one of the best summer environments anywhere! Why? Those nine months of rain create an ecosystem where water pours in every direction... rivers, creeks, ponds, pools, waterfalls, and this makes for some of the best summer swimming and cliff jumping conditions in the country. To add onto that, the volcanic bedrock has left narrow chutes and deep pools that are perfect for taking a dive, and the banks of the Willamette and Columbia River give way with broad, sandy beaches sprinkled throughout the region. And, luckily, after decades of activism, clean-up, and sewer/stormwater system upgrades, the Willamette River is finally safe for use.

For our list, we've tried to provide a myriad of options ranging from right in the middle of downtown Portland to locations that are a good 45 minutes away that are more difficult to access.

And, no matter where you end up heading to cool off, remember to be safe and Leave No Trace.

Portland and the Willamette River:

  1. Audrey McCall Floating Dock + Beach
  2. Fire + Rescue Station 21 Floating Dock
  3. Poet's Beach
  4. Sellwood Riverfront Park Beach
  5. George Rogers Park Beach
  6. Cathedral Park
  7. High Rocks (technically on the Clackamas)
  8. Kelley Point Park

Columbia River:

  1. Marine Drive Beach
  2. Cottonwood Beach, Captain William Clark Park
  3. Collins Beach, Sauvie Island

Washington County:

  1. Henry Hagg Lake, Scoggins Valley Park

Lewis River:

  1. Paradise Point State Park
  2. Moulton Falls
  3. Lewisville County Park

Washougal River:

  1. Miles 3-5
  2. Miles 15-16
  3. Dougan Falls
  4. Naked Falls

Sandy River:

  1. Lewis + Clark State Recreation Site
  2. Glenn Otto Community Park
  3. Dabney State Park

Clackamas River:

  1. Big Eddy Picnic Area
  2. Carter Bridge Day Use Area
  3. The Narrows

Molalla River:

  1. Knights Bridge Park
  2. Day Use Site 2
  3. Day Use Site 4
  4. Day Use Site 11

Columbia River Gorge:

  1. Punchbowl Falls (Eagle Creek)

Leave No Trace

The Forest Service, the City of Portland, and other land management agencies have considered closing access to some of these sensitive locations due to excessive trampling of plants, large amounts of garbage, cans and glass bottles, and graffiti. These agencies simply do not have the staff or the funding to attend to these issues, nor should it be their responsibility. If you want to continue enjoying these areas, pack out all garbage, cans and bottles, and dispose of them properly. Respect these areas and others using them. Using these areas responsibly will increase the chance that people can continue to enjoy them in the future.

Cliff Jumping Safety

Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and make sure you understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.

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