Best Outdoor Activities in Portland

10 Outdoor Activities for Summer Fun in Portland, Oregon

In Portland, Oregon it is vitally important to take advantage of the excellent summer weather. Typically the nicer months in Portland are the summer months and that is why we have created a list highlighting summertime outdoor activities. These are 10 of the best summer outdoor activities Portland has to offer.

For the outdoor enthusiast, we recommend heading out to the Scenic Columbia Gorge area where you can hike one intense trail after another and of course visit the famous Multnomah Falls. This is a quick 40 - 50 minute drive from downtown Portland. If you do not want to drive that far out you can hike in downtown Portland in Forest Park or go for a bike ride on the Springwater Corridor.

For those that like to keep things low-key, we suggest on a hot day head to Wilson pool and cool off in their kid-friendly pool or head out to Blue Lake Park, where you can enjoy the beach on the lake, a splash pad, walking trails, and playgrounds. On a nice evening make a picnic, grab and blanket and enjoy a free concert at one of Portland Parks like the Sellwood Waterfront park or check out a movie at the Rooftop Movie Series. 

There is so much to do in Portland and even more so in the summer. Hopefully, our list will help you find fun things to do. 


Pack a picnic dinner, bring a blanket or chairs, and spend time with family and friends while enjoying a free concert this summer at a park. All the concerts start at 6:30 P.M. and will take place during July and August. For this summer 2022, there will be 40 free concerts at many parks throughout the city. Visit the website to see the rest of the concert schedule and to see all the Portland parks offering free concerts throughout the summer. These free concerts are available almost any night of the week.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Attending a free concert in the park is the perfect way to spend an agreeable summer evening.

Meagan's expert tip: The temperatures in Portland drop a lot after dark, so dress accordingly.

Read more about Concerts in the Park →

Floating the river can be relaxing and fun at the same time. Floating the Sandy river will take a minimum of 2 hours and can take up to 4 hours. To float the Sandy river plan to start at Dabny State Park and pull out at Lewis and Clark state park. You do have to pay to leave a car in both of the parks. Both charge $5 for parking and they took credit cards or cash. There is nowhere to air up a tube or raft, so be sure to bring your own air pump. Other good items to bring: water, snacks, and a dry bag to protect your cell phone.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Floating the Sandy River is a satisfying way to spend a hot day in Portland.

Meagan's expert tip: Wear a life jacket, it's always the best choice.

Read more about Float the Sandy River →

West Hills

Forest Park is Portland's own enchanted forest. Forest Park is well known for being the largest urban forest in the country located within a city. Forest Park encompasses more than 5000 acres full of dense trees, rivers, waterfalls, and bridges. It has more than 40 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Most trails are wide and well taken care of, making them good for runners and bicyclists. The park can be found on the eastern portion of the Northwest Hills and is only 10 minutes from downtown. Taking even a short hike through Forest Park allows you to truly appreciate Oregon's beauty. Deciding where exactly to enter can be confusing. McCleay Park at 29th and Upshire is a good place for entry.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Forest Park is a 5,000-acre park in the heart of downtown Portland.

Meagan's expert tip: Research exactly where you want to go before your first visit because the park is massive.

Read more about Forest Park →


The Springwater Corridor is a multi-use trail that runs from SE Ivan St. in Portland all the way to Boring, OR. The trail is currently 14.2 miles one way. The Springwater Corridor connects many parks including Tideman Johnson Nature Park, Beggars-tick Wildlife Refuge, the I-205 Bike Path, Leach Botanical Garden, Powell Butte Nature Park, and Gresham's Main City Park. These parks are the best places to access the trail. The entire trail is at least 10 feet wide and paved, making it ideal for walkers, joggers, bicycles, strollers, and wheelchairs. East of I-205 and at the end of the trail in Boring there are separate soft surface paths for equestrian use.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Springwater Corridor is an extensive trail system running through Portland and surrounding cities.

Meagan's expert tip: Rent or bring a bike and plan to spend a few hours enjoying the trail.

Read more about Springwater Corridor →

Blue Lake Park is a large recreational park located in Fairview, Oregon less than twenty minutes from downtown Portland. There's a small $5 admission fee per car to enter the park. Inside the park, there's an exciting splash pad for kids that's open any time it's over 70 degrees. Near the spray ground, is a sandy beach on the man-made lake, Blue Lake. A small section of the lake is marked off for swimming. This area is shallow, but only for those over the age of five. Sometimes there is a lifeguard on duty. Also found at Blue Lake Region park is a playground, picnic tables, a Frisbee golf course, an archery ranch, and a nature area.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: A day at Blue Lake Park is the perfect way to spend a warm day.

Meagan's expert tip: If you plan on visiting more than twice, buy an annual pass to save money.

Read more about Blue Lake Regional Park →

Oaks Amusement Park is one of the oldest, continuously operating amusement parks in the country. Built in the early 1900s, Oaks Park is a collection of classic entertainment and smaller thrill rides. Hidden away in Southeast Portland, the park is tucked in-between the Willamette River and the Sellwood neighborhood. Its location provides for a secluded, country feel. Surrounding the amusement park are large grassy picnic areas overlooking the river and Portland's Southwest river shore. While the outdoor rides close during the winter months, the famous roller rink is open year-round. Oaks Amusement Park is also home to the Multnomah County Fair held in early summer.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Oaks Park has all of its rides open and going throughout the summer months.

Meagan's expert tip: Miniature golf fans will find what may be the best course in Portland.

Read more about Oaks Park →

Majestic and much-photographed, this Columbia River Gorge attraction is one of Oregon's biggest draws. Hiking trails lead up the face of the mountain, and a bridge crossing the waterfall offers an impressive vantage point. Standing in front of the falls can be quite romantic. Legend has it that the falls were created to honor an Indian chieftain's daughter, who threw herself from the precipice to appease the gods and relieve the sickness that plagued her tribe. No matter its origin, visitors are constantly awed by the spectacle. The nearby Multnomah Falls Lodge provides refreshment and a resting place for weary hikers. Other nearby waterfalls worth visiting include Bridal Veil, Latuorell Falls, Wahkeena Falls and Horsetail Falls.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Multnomah Falls is the largest waterfall west of the Mississippi.

Meagan's expert tip: Visit during the week to avoid crowds.

Read more about Multnomah Falls →

The Wilson pool is part of the Portland Parks and Rec program and offers affordable swimming throughout the year at their open swim sessions. At the Wilson pool, you will find 2 outdoor pools. One pool is a lap pool with 6 lanes and a diving board. The other pool is a family leisure pool featuring a 170-foot-long current channel with a vortex. It also has a little frog slide, zero-depth entry, a water play structure, and a 114-foot-long water slide. Families will love spending a day together here playing and enjoying the sun and pool. They also offer swimming lessons.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: A visit pool is a perfect way to cool off and have some summer fun.

Meagan's expert tip: Take some snacks and drinks with you.

Read more about Wilson Pool →

Financial District

Among Portlanders with kids, spending a day at the zoo is probably the most favorite of family activities. Located up above the city in Washington Park, the zoo is home to more than 1000 animals. The staff work constantly to improve the living environments and enrich the lives of the many species they house. Exhibits mimicking the environments on all seven continents add to visitors' understanding of the natural world while offering great views of authentic animal behavior. During the summer, the Zoo's main lawn is a popular live music venue with a broad range of evening concerts. During the Holiday Season, more than a million bulbs create a shimmering wonderland called Zoolights.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: The sprawling Oregon Zoo is a must on any visit to Portland.

Meagan's expert tip: Kids will love the train ride and parents will appreciate a break from walking!

Read more about Oregon Zoo →

Visiting the International Rose Test Garden is a must during the summer months. Not only will you see roses that you've never seen before here, you will also enjoy a stunning view of the city and Mt. Hood from these terraced gardens. Instituted in 1917, the gardens give trial runs to various rose hybrids before they're introduced into the mass market. With over 8000 plants representing more than 400 different species, this garden is sure to have at least one rose type that captivates you. Should you find yourself tempted, however, know that it's illegal to pick any of the blooms. Summer is also when you'll find a repertoire of seasonal concerts available in the gardens. The Washington Park Rose Garden Store offers unusual items for both the home and garden.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: The International Rose Test Garden is an extraordinary garden in downtown Portland.

Meagan's expert tip: Visit between June and August if possible. Do not pick any of the roses, it's against the law.

Read more about International Rose Test Gardens →


Meet Meagan Wristen

Meagan Wristen is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl, she has lived all around the United States,...  More About Meagan