What’s to Love: Located just to the west (and below) Sellwood Park, Sellwood Riverfront Park often gets passed-up as bikers cruise the Springwater Corridor and cars zip by on the way to Oaks Amusement Park , Oaks Rollerskating Rink, or hiking in the nearby Wildlife Refuge. Too bad! Just like many inner southeast parks, this is one you don’t want to miss.
Sellwood Riverfront Park’s main claim to fame (for families) is the hosting of Monday night concerts in the summer (check the schedule here), and a loose, off-leash, dog park policy. While the “loose” policy concerning off-leash dogs is actually not official, I can’t remember a time where I HAVEN’T seen dogs running freely. This claim to fame doesn’t thrill me; however, the Monday night concerts are one of the joys of summer.
When we used to live close by, we’d take the Springwater Corridor trail right down to the park with a picnic dinner tucked away in our Burley bike trailer. It was so much fun throwing out the blanket and seeing so many familiar friends and faces. It’s the perfect setting for live music.
The claim to fame for other park goers might be the proximity to the Willamette River, a nice (walk-in) boat launch, and a nice patch of beach. On a recent visit, a family was having lunch right on the dock – enjoying the sun and watching all the kayaks launch. I’ve noticed small children fishing off the docs in the past. The beach is a great spot for throwing stones, walking dogs, and wading in the water to cool off a bit. Here is a short video clip of the park.
Caveats: This park has a tremendous amount of open green-space for the dog park/off-leash area. Sorry to be a downer here, but owners who bring their dogs to this park are some of the worst I’ve ever seen with the rules. I’ve witnessed a dog charging right into the middle of a family picnic to steal food from a kid’s bowl. I’ve seen owners keep on walking as their dogs’ poop gets left behind just waiting for the unsuspecting walker or sunbather. I’m not sure why, but this park is one of the worst for breaking the rules : dogs off-leash during the wrong time, running at kids, and off-leash down by the beach/boat docks.
No playstructure here, but plenty of fun things to do.
Website: Portland Parks and Recreation
Distance from Portland: Within 3 miles of downtown Portland. Here is a Google Map.
Recommended Ages: Good park for small kids who love to play near the water/beach. For older kids, this might be a good spot to launch some kayaks.
Parental Stress Factor: Usually very low stress here. The green space is so big that you’ll have plenty of room for your family.
Physical Difficulty: There are some paved paths around the park and down to the boat dock for accessibility. The terrain is mostly flat with some hills closer to the access road into Oaks Amusement Park.
Family Fun Factor: With most parks, this will depend on your family and the ages of your children. I rate this park fairly high due to its proximity of so many other great destinations.
Weather Considerations: Complete sun exposure in the majority of the park! If you come to play in the grass, be prepared with a sun umbrella, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
Insider Info: If you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to bring food, New Seasons Market is located within biking distance (Tacoma near 13th). They’ll set you up with a proper picnic for a reasonable price!
On the park’s north end, there is a small wetland area with a short network of trails. If you have smaller children, this is a fun area to explore. The beach will also provide hours of fun, especially if you like to fish.
Family Tips: This park is right in the heart of all the action in and around Sellwood. So many of our favorite spots are in this area! If you want to do a bit of shopping, or perhaps, a fun workshop with your kids, check-out our favorite toy store: Speilwerk Toystore. If you need to cool off, head to the Sellwood Pool.
Other Posts of Interest...
Oswald State Park on November 6th, 2007
Oceanside, Oregon on November 26th, 2007
Milo McIver State Park on August 12th, 2013