Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

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Ridgefield Wildlife RefugeWhat’s to Love:  As stated on their website, “The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge was established (along with 3 other refuges in the Willamette Valley of Oregon) in 1965, in response to a need to establish vital winter habitat for wintering waterfowl with an emphasis on the dusky Canada goose whose nesting areas in Alaska were severely impacted by the violent earthquake of 1964. Ridgefield Refuge is currently approximately 5,300 acres of marshes, grasslands and woodlands.” This Refuge is a must do for young hikers who might enjoy bird watching.

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Milo McIver State Park

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Milo McIver State ParkWhat’s to Love:  Milo McIver State Park is located along the Clackamas River and is only about 30 miles from Portland. For being so close to Portland, it has an “off-the-beaten-path” feel to it. There are some nice picnic areas with grills and plenty of camping, but it’s the disc golf (27 holes) that makes the park a prime destination for the whole family.

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Government Cove Peninsula

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Government CoveWhat’s to Love:  I know I’ve been a bit heavy on climbing destinations lately, but Government Cove is a little gem that provides more than rock climbing, scrambling, and bouldering.  This is a relatively undeveloped location (i.e., no fees, no restrooms, no water, no parking area, etc.). Despite that fact, the entire area was very clean with some nice paved and unpaved trails for hiking and biking.

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Washougal River Access

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Washougal River - Near Dougan Creek FallsWhat’s to Love:  I was looking for the perfect swimming hole on our way back from a bouldering adventure in Washington.  Our plan was to check-out Dougan Creek Falls, which looks visually stunning and lots of fun. However, on our way to the falls, another access point (about 1 mile short of the falls) caught my eye while rounding a curve.

After noticing this beautiful spot, we parked at a pullout along the Washougal River (literally 30 seconds down a steep bank), and I could hardly believe my eyes!  This spot (see distance from Portland below) on the Washougal is one of the nicest river access points I’ve ever seen in my life.  Perfect for the whole family!

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Horsethief Lake State Park

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Horsethief ButteWhat’s to Love:  Horsethief Lake State Park and Horsethief Butte provide a nice one-two-punch for a full-day family outing.  Located about 90 miles east (via WA 14 or OR 84), you might try these two destinations for an adventurous combination of camping, technical rock climbing, rock scrambling, bouldering, hiking, boating, and fishing. For reviews on outdoor gear, visit GearWeAre.com. This link covers family tents.

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Sandy River Delta: Got Dog?

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Sandy River Delta ParkWhat’s to Love:  1000+ acres of no-feepublic trails, mud holes, bird blinds, beach access (Columbia & Sandy Rivers), and HUGE open fields for your dog to be off-leash!  There are only two areas where dogs must be on-leash (Confluence Trail and the parking area).  Otherwise, your dogs can experience a tremendous amount of freedom running free with other dogs and having a great time in what feels like a wilderness setting.

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Family Getaway – Garibaldi, Oregon

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Jeff Hunter – Manager, Harborview Inn

Jeff Hunter manages the Harborview Inn in Garibaldi, Oregon.  He was kind enough to send Portland Family Adventures an invitation to do some crabbing right off the local pier. Since I’ve never crabbed in my life, we decided to take the whole family for a quick day trip.  We spent a few hours in Garibaldi hoping to catch some crab, checking out the sights, and eating fish and chips at the highly recommended “Fisherman’s Korner.”  Jeff is enthusiastic about the area and all it has to offer families.  After visiting, I share his enthusiasm and want to pass along a quick interview.

 

 

 

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Rainbow Trout Farm

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Rainbow Trout FarmWhat’s to Love: I just published “Haldeman Pond” located on Sauvie Island, where I admitted I had not caught a single fish to this day.  Still love the spot!  However, if you want to drive a bit up near Mt. Hood, you will (most likely) catch a fish at the Rainbow Trout Farm.  It’s almost impossible NOT to catch a fish.  The facility is a welcoming place for families with small children.

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Henry Hagg Lake

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Henry Hagg LakeWhat’s to Love:  I’ve lived in Portland since 1999, and this was my first trip to Henry Hagg Lake.  I was always concerned that it would just be a big scene with jet skis, motor boats, and a bunch of yahoos throwing trash all over the place.  I was definitely wrong and we had a lovely time.  I found the entire recreation area clean and a bargain at $5.00 for a pass.  The lake offered up a fairly secluded beach with warm water for swimming and a bunch of activities for the whole family.

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Sellwood Riverfront Park

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Sellwood Riverfront ParkWhat’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. 

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Horning’s Hideout

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Horning’s Hideout is one of the best places to take kids fishing. They have rental gear available and it’s very inexpensive. The property also has some killer disc/frisbee golf and summer music concerts.

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Champoeg State Park

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What’s to Love: If you want to experience some great biking on safe, paved-paths, or play 15 holes of frisbee golf, then by all means head to Champoeg State Park. It’s well worth the 30 mile drive from Portland, even with gas being $4+ per gallon. It is also the perfect destination for a family camping trip, especially for first timers.

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Salmon Creek Park/Trail

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Salmon Creek TrailWhat’s to Love: When we moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999, we couldn’t find affordable rent in Portland, so we ended-up in Vancouver. After hanging out in Portland, we realized that it was a much better match for us. Thus, we left Vancouver after about 3-4 months with a pretty unfavorable impression of the area. Indeed, Vancouver (the ‘couv’) takes quite a bit of punishment from Portlanders. However, in terms of outdoor recreation (specifically bicycling on paved-paths), Vancouver has many opportunities that mirror Portland’s excellent reputation as a “biking town.”

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Commonwealth Lake Park

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Beautiful dock at Commonwealth Lake  ParkWhat’s to Love:  What’s to love? How about my first “highlight video!” Wooohooo! I can’t believe I actually got this up and running finally. You’ll see most of my new posts with a short video clip. Anyway…Commonwealth Lake Park…hmmmm…weird place, I must admit. However, I don’t mean that in a negative way. As far as parks go, let’s just say it’s somewhat unique. Basically, it’s a man-made lake surrounded by an upper-middle-class neighborhood.

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Promontory Park

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What’s to Love: Make no mistake, you’re not going to catch a 10-pound salmon at this location. However, it’s almost guaranteed that your kids will catch fish. “Small Fry Lake” is stocked with trout, and there is a general store close by if you forgot something. After parking (see link below for directions, etc.), you’ll need to only walk a short distance (within 1/8 of a mile) down a hill to the fishing hole. The trail is well kept, and there are some nice ledges for storing your gear and relaxing. There is plenty of shade. Click “more” to see a short clip and read more.

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