It’s Hot, and Portland Is Crowded. Here’s Your Summer Escape Plan.

Making the most of the Portland summer often means putting the city in the rearview.

(Sam Gehrke)

We know what you did last summer.

You sat in traffic trying to get out to your favorite secret swimming spot only to end up fighting for the last available patch of sand with the teenagers, tech bros and suburban families who read about it in some dumb newspaper.

Then you waited hours to get barbecue from the food truck you thought no one else knew about. Then you stood in another line for ice cream. Then you couldn't find a seat at your neighborhood's newest patio bar.

So you decided to see a movie, then got to the theater and, goddamnit, it's apartments now. So you went back to your own place to sprawl out in front of the air conditioner, and found a notice from the landlord telling you your lease doesn't allow AC units in the window. Oh, and your rent's going up, too.

Look, summertime in Portland is great. It's what makes living through the cold and drizzle of every other season seem worth it. And there's certainly no shortage of things to do.

But as the city grows more congested, the heat and crowds can sometimes get overwhelming. And when that happens, the best course of action is just to leave it all behind, if only for a few hours.

So consider this your exit strategy.

Making the most of the Portland summer often means putting the city in the rearview. That's especially true this year—with Sauvie Island banning alcohol, and both Project Pabst and MusicfestNW on hiatus, there's never been more reasons to get the hell out of town. With our annual Summer Guide, we hope to shove you out the front door.

We've detailed seven awesome day trips, all within two hours of Portland, where you can jump in the water under historic covered bridges, kayak to a wildlife-laden island or even explore an abandoned power plant. The Columbia Gorge is still recovering from last year's devastating fire, but many great trails are still open, and we've got a guide to the best of them—some of which you may not have considered otherwise.

And because you'll be leaving the Portland bubble, we wanted to you to know what you're traveling into. Rodeos are huge in Oregon this time of year, so we put together a primer on the figures you must know if you want to fit in, from JJ the Rodeo Clown to the One Arm Bandit. We attempted to cook the ultimate fried fair food—bear-fat doughnuts—and investigated the latest rural trend taking hold in the city, competitive ax throwing.

If you insist on staying in town, we've assembled a massive calendar of events, giving you something to do every single day between now and Labor Day. And if you'd rather just opt of the whole summer thing completely, we've got you covered, too, with a list of the coldest, darkest places to hole up while waiting for the rain to come back.

Hey, we've all got our own methods of escape. So fire up Google Maps and enjoy your summer evacuation.

Seven Awesome Day Trips | The Best Open Gorge Trails | Bear-Fat Doughnuts | Oregon Rodeo Celebrities | Urban Ax Throwing | Cold Dark Places | Summer Super Calendar

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