25 Last-Minute Outdoor Summer Adventures


The final stretch of summer is here. With school starting everywhere, you’ve got to squeeze the most adventure you can out of the final days of the season. Get the whole family outside to hike, bike, swim, explore, and discover. From across the state to your own backyard, we’ve rounded up the best ideas to get you outside and dirty. Read on for more!

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1:  Backyard Games: Try out these epic backyard (or park) games like ninja attack, Simon Says, or giant pick up sticks.

2:  Cool Hikes for Hot Days: Hit the trail with these great hikes for kids featuring waterfalls, playgrounds, garter snakes, and more.

3:  Get out on Bikes: Hit the trail with these great hikes for kids featuring waterfalls, playgrounds, garter snakes, and more. 

4:  Grill up a Feast: From grilled fruit to grilled pizza, there’s so many ways to use up summer’s bounty! Check out this list of 22 new recipes to try.

5:  Experience Island Life: Beaches, a lighthouse, farm-fresh fruit, and more: enjoy it all at nearby Sauvie Island!


6:  Explore Black History in Portland: Take yourselves on an educational tour to explore the movers and shakers of Portland’s early Black community, like DeNorval Unthank, a prominent doctor and community leader whose name graces a North Portland park today.

7:  Host and Outdoor Movie Night: The weather is warm, the kids are restless. Mix up the weekend with an outdoor movie night! Find tips for a fantastic movie night here.

8:  Go Flower Picking: Catch the last of the summer blooms at these area flower farms!

9: Try out Geocaching & Find Treasure: Join the millions of folks worldwide who love geocaching– it’s like a real-life treasure hunt! Read up on these tips to make the best of your first (or 100th!) geocaching outing.

10 Escape to Eugene: Head out for a day trip or an overnight stay to our next door neighbor, Eugene! From raptors to markets to great eats, there’s fun for everyone. Read up here on the best things to see in Eugene.

Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

11:  Dive into a Swimming Hole: Let’s face it: it’s hot. Stop melting and cool off at some of these favorite local swim holes. From lakes to waterfall pools to rivers, there’s a swim spot for everyone.

12:  Go Fishing: Find a local fishing fish hole and reel ’em in! Or just teach the kids how to enjoy the wind in their face, depending on your skill level.

13: Print Your Own Scavenger Hunt: Create your own scavenger hunt with these great printables! If your kids need an extra push to take that walk outside, motivate them with these fun hunts!

14:  Swing from Trees with Aerial Adventures: Get an extra thrill before school by taking the kids to one of these fun aerial adventure courses! Swing from trees, fly down the zipline, and challenge any fears of heights.

15:  Build a Sandcastle: Build a castle, dig a hole, or splash in the water at some of the best sandy river spots around town.

Harrison via pixels

16: Visit a National Park: Check out some of the most stunning vistas around at these nearby National Parks and Monuments. Some are closer than you think!

17: Watch the Sunset: Pack a picnic and watch the sun set at some of these favorite spots around town.

18: Create a Backyard Waterpark: Create an epic backyard waterpark with these hints and tips!

19: Camp on the Beach: Grab your tent and head to the coast to one of these great beach spots to camp!

20: Discover a Waterfall: Sure, you know Multnomah Falls, but have you been to these other gems? Find your new favorite falls with these family-friendly trails.

Tom Woodward

21: Great Destination Playgrounds: Don’t just see any old playground–make it a destination! From climbing to nature play to Frisbee golf, these playgrounds make a dull day turn around.

22: Escape to Seaside: Seals, skating, saltwater taffy. Do you need more of an excuse to hit the road for Seaside?

23: Find a Spot to Pitch a Tent: These six nearby campsites are some of the best close-by spots to pitch a summer tent!

24: Go Miniature Golfing: Fore! Take the family to one of these miniature golfing spots for an epic par 3 battle.

25: Go Splash!: Find a close-to-home adventure with these splashy destinations, perfect for even the littlest of explorers.

—Katrina Emery


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