If you want to float near Portland, you have two choices: the Willamette and the Columbia.
Just kidding! Between the barges and toxic waste, you'll want to keep your tubing to the Clackamas and the Sandy. But which is the best float for you?
The Clackamas is a wilder ride, with more rocks and faster rapids. It also has a more secluded shoreline, so it will just be your flotilla to blame if beer cans are bobbing among the rocks. If you're looking to get in touch with nature, this is your jam. But be warned: It's a bit more aggressive, so only serious tubists need apply.
Recommended float: 5.5 miles (five to six hours) between Barton Park (19009 SE Barton Park Road, Boring) and Carver Park (14888 S Springwater Road, Oregon City)
The Sandy is hardly tame—but a lot of the madness comes from the fact that the shores are lined with houses and public beaches, enjoyed by the locals and Portlandians alike. You'll have plenty of people to share hoots and hollers with along the way. The waters themselves are a bit smoother, and there are fewer category-worthy rapids, making it a good choice for the casual float enthusiast.
Recommended float: 7 miles (three to four hours) from Oxbow Park (3010 SE Oxbow Parkway, Gresham) to Dabney State Recreation Area (southeast of the Stark Street Bridge on the Historic Columbia River Highway)