Why Sauvie Island is Your Family’s New Favorite Warm Weather Spot

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Did you know that you can get a taste of island life without leaving the city of Portland? Sauvie Island is about to become your family’s favorite spring and summer local getaway. It’s full of wildlife, organic produce, and features a spacious kid-friendly beachfront. Best of all, it is just a short 20-30 minute drive from downtown Portland. If you are looking for a spectacular day or stay-cation, head to Sauvie Island for an epic family adventure that includes hitting the beaches, picking berries, and petting farm animals. Read on to find out what not to miss on Sauvie Island this spring and summer!

Go Fishing

Nothing says Pacific Northwest fun like fishing! Check out one of the many small ponds or lake areas for practicing your hand at beginner-level fishing. In early spring, try Haldeman Pond, while Aaron's Lake, Steelman Lake or Mud Lake are great throughout the summer. Your little angler will enjoy trying their hand at catching the small perch, crappie, and catfish that can be found in the waters of Sauvie Island.

Online: sauvieisland.org

Splash and Sun

Sauvie island has some of Portland’s best beaches, for good reason. It is close enough for easy access, wild enough to go free (super free if you want—the nude beach is farther up the island!) From May through the end of the summer families can count on Sauvie Island beaches to provide a perfect spot for water and sand play with enough shade and sandy beach area to set up a base camp for a full day away from the house. 

Walton Beach is your best bet for a sunny day on the water. Watch for eagles, count cargo ships, build a sand castle, then splash the sand away. It’s a popular spot, but doesn’t feel too crowded—there’s still plenty of room to fly a kite! A $10 daily parking pass is available at the Store right off the bridge to the island.

Collin's Beach: For free-spirited families this particular beach begins about a quarter of a mile after Reeder Road turns to gravel), is clothing optional so you and your kiddos can wear your birthday suit all day long. Just be sure to bring the sunscreen! You don't want to get burned!

38378-38798 NW Reeder Rd.
Online: sauvieisland.org

Hike to a Lighthouse

Portland families love to hike, and Sauvie Island features a gorgeous 5-mile moderate and flat trek to Warrior Rock Lighthouse that the whole family will enjoy. Fun fact: it happens to be Oregon’s smallest lighthouse! Stop along the way to look up for bald eagles, Canada geese, swans, and cranes. You may even see sea lions as you walk along the Columbia River! To get there, pass through the entry gate at the end of Reeder Road and follow the trail. There is a porta potty at the trail head as well. For more hiking information, check out All Trails writeup here.

Pick Produce

The Island is home to several awesome U-Pick farms that your kids are sure to love. This summer, check out Columbia Farms U-Pick for: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, marionberries, boysenberries, and blackberries. They also seasonally have tomatoes, peppers, flowers, pumpkins, and fall decor items, depending on when you visit. Don't forget to bring containers to place your freshly picked berries in, and maybe a picnic to enjoy at the tables under their gazebo while taking in the scenery. Pro tip: visit the website in advance to find out which berries are in season. They update their site regularly,

Online: columbiafarmsu-pick.com

More local farms to check out include:

Topaz Farm
From berry picking to petting animals to buying goodies at the farm store, there's just so much to do when visiting this Sauvie Island farm. Your kids will love picking ripe strawberries and then petting the mini goats and donkeys! It's a perfect pitstop after a day of beach play.

17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd, Portland, OR 9723
Online: topazfarm.com

Bella Organics
Berry picking, wine tasting and delicious eats are all available at this beloved Sauvie Island Farm. You can even stop in their courtyard and enjoy prepared farm products cooked to order and served for consumption on the farm as you enjoy the gorgeous scenery while dining at one of their picnic tables.

16205 NW Gillihan Rd, Portland, OR 97231
Online: bellaorganic.com

The Original Pumpkin Patch
Do not forget to stop at  The Original Pumpkin Patch, where you will find the Big Red Animal Barn, which typically has goats, rabbits, and perhaps a turkey or peacock or two. It's sure to get an excited squeal out of your little one. But, that's not all this special spot has to offer. There's a coffee cart that will help you perk up if you are wearing down and a market, gift shop and even a patio cafe.

Online: thepumpkinpatch.com

Stay Overnight
After all of these activities, you and your little one(s) may be ready for some rest. Settle in for a night or two stay at the family-run Croft Farm, a working fruit, vegetable and honey farm. The Croft's 300 square-foot guest suite is surrounded by acres of farmland and wildlife, as well as a friendly hound dog! Wake up to a view of Mt. St. Helens before nuzzling their rabbits and chickens goodbye and departing back for home, refreshed.

Online: thecroftfarm.com

The Details
The island takes about 30 minutes to get to via a single bridge from US 30, and another 30 minutes to get across. There are no gas stations there, so be sure to fill up before you arrive. Restrooms can be scarce: most farms have options, many are porta potties. Note that all wildlife areas on the island require parking passes for $10/day, which can be purchased at the Cracker Barrel store just to the left of the bridge when you arrive, or at the Oregon Dept. Fish and Wildlife further down. (The pass is not required to visit any farms.)

Pro tips
Parking: A parking permit is required to park at beaches or natural areas along the island (but not at business parking lots). A daily permit is $10, and an annual permit is $30. Tickets can be purchased online through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, most Portland-area Fred Meyer stores, or at The Cracker Barrel Store, located at 15005 NW Sauvie Island Road.


—Annette Benedetti

Featured photo by Cora H via Yelp


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