You don’t need a plane ticket to spend your summer days on a gorgeous island with long stretches of sandy beach. Sauvie Island, located just a short 20-30 minute drive from downtown Portland, is about to become your family’s favorite local summer getaway. It features a kid-friendly beachfront, along with and abundance of U-Pick farms with petting zoos, play spaces and more. If you are looking for a spectacular day or staycation, now’s the time to head to Sauvie Island for an epic family adventure that won’t soon be forgotten.
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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. Hit Haldeman Pond, Aaron's Lake, Steelman Lake or Mud Lake for a day of reeling them in. All of these spots provide excellent fishing holes throughout the summer season. 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.
Splash & 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!
LGBTQ families can head even further down Collins where they will find a stretch of beach filled with members of the LGBTQ family. Here too, clothing is optional. So bring the sunscreen and go early enough to grab some shade in advance. Sun umbrellas and tents are advised.
38378-38798 NW Reeder Rd.
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.
Get your buckets and bags ready to be filled. 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,
More local farms to check out include:
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
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
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.
Where to Stay on Sauvie Island
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.
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.)
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.
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