One would think finding a swimming hole in Portland should be as easy as stepping outside your front door and listening for running water. But picking the perfect spot among the hundreds available isn’t easy. You want clear water? Great. You want a place to exercise your dog? OK, whatever. We make your search a little easier by matching a swimming hole to your personality flaws.
If you have ADHD, try: Lewisville Regional Park in Battle Ground, Wash.
The best reason we’ve found to visit the ’Couv this summer, Lewisville Regional Park packs together all possible elements of river fun within three square miles. A dedicated swimming area next to pools of deep, still water is ideal for picnic lunches, while the adventurous can launch watercraft to tackle frothy Class II rapids downstream. Shy bathers can wander riverside trails to find a more private nook.
How to get there: Take I-5 North to exit 9 for Northeast 179th Street/WA-502. Follow WA-502 until it turns left onto Northeast 10th Avenue/WA-503. The park will be on your right.
If you compulsively pierce your own flesh, try: Barton Park in Estacada.
The Clackamas? Dangerous, you say? It’s not particularly so at this small park just outside Estacada, where the rushing river widens and slows. A veritable subdevelopment of lush, green campsites is lined by the park road on one side and a sometimes rocky sandbar on the other, a short walk away through the trees. But beware—this park is particularly popular with anglers, who are often hidden by the curve of the river bend. Unless you like the way a fishing hook looks when lodged in your upper lip, we suggest you keep an eye out.
How to get there: Take I-84 East to I-205 South. Take exit 12A to Clackamas/Estacada, and follow Highway 224 to Estacada. After 6.4 miles, turn right onto Bakers Ferry Road. The park will be on your left.
If your existence humiliates your better-bred relatives, try: Weston Bar in Dayton.
If Oregon were Thailand, the assorted sandbars after Coffee Island would have been the setting for the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. These sandbars, situated on a wide, slow-moving bend on the Willamette, are accessible by car or boat. The scenery is beautiful, and the wildlife—including deer, ducks and miscellaneous brightly colored birds—seem undeterred by human noise, like the popping open of beer cans or the belting of Madonna. If the party scene is not your thing, the gravel bar at Five Island—two miles upstream—is much more serene.
How to get there: From I-5 South, take exit 294 for OR-99W to Newberg. After 22 miles on OR-99W, turn left onto Southeast 3rd Street/OR-221. After five miles, turn left onto Southeast Mallard Lane. Follow Mallard Lane to the water.
5 Great Portland Swimming Pools
by Sara Moskovitz
Heated to 84 degrees and mostly deserted in the morning. Do your outdoor laps here. 4454 SE Powell Blvd., 823-3672, portlandonline.com. Open June 22-Sept. 4. 8 am-8:45 pm Mondays-Fridays, 1-5 pm Saturdays-Sundays. Ages 2 and under free, $2.50 ages 3-17, $4 ages 18+.
Peninsula Park Community Center and Pool
In 1957, a flock of Humboldt penguins kicked it at the pool while waiting for their new digs at the Oregon Zoo to be finished. 700 N Rosa Parks Way, 823-3620, portlandonline.com. Open June 22-Sept. 4. 1-8 pm Mondays-Fridays, 1-5 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Ages 2 and under free, $2.50 ages 3-17, $4 ages 18+.
Pier Park was developed in the ’30s, but now it has free wi-fi. Sweet! 9341 N St. Johns Ave., 823-3678, portlandonline.com. Open June 22-Sept. 4. 11:30 am-8:15 pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 11:30 am-6:30 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-5 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Ages 2 and under free, $2.50 ages 3-17, $4 ages 18+.
Open continuously since 1910, this old-school pool features a drop slide and in-pool water sprays. 7951 SE 7th Ave., 823-3679, portlandonline.com. Open June 22-Sept. 7. 7 am-9:35 pm Mondays-Fridays, 1-5 pm Saturdays, 11:30 am-5 pm Sundays. Open July 4. Ages 2 and under free, $2.50 ages 3-17, $4 ages 18+.
Features a 170-foot winding current channel with a vortex and a 114-foot water slide. 1151 SW Vermont St., 823-3680, portlandonline.com. Open June 22-Sept. 7 and Sept. 12-13. 8 am-8:50 pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 am-9:55 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon-6 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Ages 2 and under free, $3 ages 3-17, $5 ages 18+.
Mount Scott Community Center Pool
Heated to 88 degrees, Mount Scott’s “leisure pool” features a slide, current channel, vortex and interactive play features. And its lap pool opens extra-early for pre-work swimmers. 5530 SE 72nd Ave., 823-3183, portlandonline.com. Open June 22-Sept. 5. 5:15 am-9:30 pm Mondays-Fridays, 7 am-6 pm Saturdays, 9 am-5 pm Sundays. Ages 2 and under free, $3.25 ages 3-12, $4.75 ages 13-17, $6.50 ages 18-59, $4.75 ages 60+.