Contrary to popular belief, Portland's weather isn't just one interminable wall of drizzle. Summer can get pretty hot, and luckily for us, the city has two big, friendly rivers perfect for extended stays on July weekends and lazy laps on August evenings. Here are some of the best swimming holes in and around Portland, for when a public pool just won't do.
The Hawthorne Dock
In the shadow of the Hawthorne Bridge, on the east side of the Willamette, just off the Eastbank Esplanade.
The former best-kept secret in Portland, you'll find this decade-old freeboard dock with at least half a dozen people lounging on or around it at seemingly every hour of the day during summer months.
Blue Lake Regional Park
20500 NW Marine Drive, Fairview, Oregon.
Blue Lake Regional Park is a near-perfect circle of manicured fields and paved walking paths bordering the man-made lake. It is the type of nature area with a paved fountain area, so kids can get wet without dirtying their feet. For summer sports, it's unbeatable. Every soccer, baseball and volleyball area has a bathroom, covered barbecue patio and beach within sight.
25 minutes from Portland: Take I-205 south to Gladstone, exit 11. Continue south on Southeast 82nd Avenue, take a right on Columbia Avenue, a left on 1st Street, and another left on Yale Avenue.
Once the go-to place for rednecks to make the news by drowning in front of large groups of people, the danger level has been drastically reduced at Gladstone's High Rocks by the addition of lifeguards, but the scene remains a menagerie of urban and rural archetypes. It might be crowded, but that's kind of what makes it incredible.
Kelley Point Park
8484 N Kelley Point Park Road.
Named for the New Englander who tried to start a city here in 1834, the park is now a delightfully sandy spot full of day drinking and friendly dogs that's within biking distance of any house in town. The water is deep enough to jump off the watchtower into.
Lewisville Regional Park
An hour from Portland, 2641 NE Lewisville Highway, Battle Ground, WA.
Just outside a Little League field you'll find a massive grassy patch that functions as a beach for a pretty bend in the river. There's plenty of shade on the banks, which are well-kept. The current is gentle and there's plenty of parking.