We’re Making Summer Plans So You Don’t Have To

Portland’s iconic rivers are a staple of warmer weather—here are some of our favorite ways to make the most of them.

(Vincent Termini 19168460700)

Sponsored Content Presented by Portland Spirit

There’s nothing quite like summer in Portland. But boy, does it get hot.

And if you’re like me, you might live in an older Portland home, where your comfort is relegated by the single room you’ve got a window AC unit in. Your best option for escaping the summer heat is locating the nearest body of water; fortunately, Portland has plenty of them.

Here’s the lowdown on our favorite ways to take advantage of the city’s waterways…

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For the happy hour hunters:

If you like your summer outings to have plenty of drinks and snacks, Portland Spirit’s new Happy Hour Sightseeing Cruise might just be for you. This 90-minute, family-friendly cruise takes guests on a journey along the Willamette—sailing past iconic Rose City bridges, bald eagle nesting sites, floating homes, and boujee Dunthorpe houses galore.

In addition to the happy hour food and special drinks available for purchase on board, the whole trip is offered at “happy hour” pricing; meaning the tickets are cheaper than usual, making it the perfect after-work excursion. Because, who doesn’t want to get a little tipsy on a boat after spending all day in the office?

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If you have a bit more time on your hands, however—like, 30 minutes to an hour more—and a bigger appetite, a meal cruise on the Portland Spirit should be your move. Especially if you have company in town.

Plan a mimosa-filled Brunch Cruise with your college besties (pro tip: Mimosas and an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet are included with your ticket). Treat your long-distance partner to a romantic, candlelit, three-course Dinner Cruise. Or, take your grandparents to a historically-narrated Lunch Cruise—the Portland Spirit really does have something for everyone, and every occasion.

For the water bugs:

Floating the river is a favorite Oregon summer pastime… All you need is a tube. Oh, and a route, but we’ve got that part covered. There’s the Willamette route, which starts at Sellwood Riverfront Park and ends at the Hawthorne Boat Dock; and the Clackamas River Barton to Carver route, which is an easy, family-friendly 5.7-mile float (with a few class I rapids).

And for the fearless floaters among us, we’d suggest the Sandy River route, starting at Dabney State Recreation Area and ending at the Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site. It’s faster, and there are some good rapids near Troutdale sure to get your blood pumping. Seriously though, if you’ve never floated in Oregon before, make this summer your first time. We promise it’s the best.

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(Vincent Termini 19168460700)

For the thrill seekers:

If you’re looking for something a little more chill than floating through rapids, but a little more fast-paced than a cruise, Portland Spirit has a solution: Jetboat adventure cruises. The 7 Wonders of the Gorge is a 3.5-hour cruise aboard an Explorer Jetboat, taking guests to see the sights of the lower Columbia River Gorge, including Cape Horn, Multnomah Falls, Crown Point, Rooster Rock, and more; while a live tour guide provides narration of the sights.

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(Aaron Greene)

On the Bigfoot Adventure Cruise you’ll learn about the history and lore of Bigfoot… while traveling 80 miles roundtrip on a high-speed jetboat from Portland to Multnomah Falls. There’ll be a live tour guide to give you the 411 on Bigfoot sightings in the Columbia River Gorge, plus an exclusive recorded narration by Cliff Barackman (star of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot).

For the fitness enthusiasts:

This one is for those of you who identify as active—you know who you are—and insist that every outdoor hang should get your blood pumping, we recommend paying a visit to one of the kayak and paddle board rental companies in and near the city. Our favorites are eNRG Kayaking and the Portland Kayaking company, and for good reason. Portland Kayaking Company’s tour will take you around Ross Island, past an impressive blue heron rookery, with the possibility of seeing bald eagles and osprey as you glide by Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. eNRG Kayaking’s guided kayaking tours offer an alternative route and will take you on an excursion to the second largest waterfall in the US, Willamette Falls.

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