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10 Best Paddleboarding Spots in Portland

10 Best Paddleboarding Spots in Portland

Other than pigging out, one of my favorite pastimes is paddleboarding. There’s just something magical about gliding across the water, feeling the sun on your face, and feeling like a bonafide Hawaiian hunk on a personal adventure (which I’m not, but a man can dream).

Fantasies aside, I’ve uncovered some real gems for paddling adventures here in Portland. If you want to check them out too, you’re in luck. I’m giving you my curated list of handpicked spots below – plus some insider tips that will make your next water adventure one to remember!

Hood River


Address: 101 N 1st St, Hood River, OR 97031, United States

Contact details: +1 541-806-4190

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

One of the most thrilling spots for stand-up paddleboarding around Portland is Hood River. It’s always buzzing with energy from kiteboarders, giving you a real rush on your paddleboard. 

And the view? It’s a must-have for the ultimate experience, with Mount Hood towering over and the stunning Columbia River Gorge adding to the atmosphere.

What’s cool about Hood River is that there are loads of places to paddle. You can easily hit the water from the beach and just park nearby. 

If you’re just starting out, Nichols Boat Basin is the place to be – the water’s usually pretty chill there. Or you can try The Hook on the west side of the Hood River Waterfront, named after how the land juts into the river.

Don’t have gear? No sweat! Along the waterfront, there’s the Gorge Paddling Center. You can rent paddleboards for $25 an hour, $10 for each extra hour, or $60 for the whole day. They even help you launch, dock, and throw in life vests!

Sand Island Marine Park

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Address: Helen’s Way, St Helens, OR 97051, United States

Contact details: +1 503-397-9585

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

If you’re up for a bit of adventure, try paddling across the Columbia River from downtown St. Helens to Sand Island. 

You have two spots to start from: the public marina at Columbia View Park near the Columbia County Courthouse or Grey Cliffs Waterfront (though it can get a bit muddy, so be ready to wash up after).

The journey to the island can be a bit rough, especially in the afternoon with the wind picking up and the current running strong. But if you’re a seasoned pro seeking a real thrill (seriously, this one pushed me but gave me the adrenaline fix I needed!), this might be right up your alley. 

Once you reach the island, you can check out the reservable campground. 

Want to know what I did? I sprawled out on the beach for a picnic while watching large ships pass by the Columbia River – consider it a recommendation for your own ultimate experience!

For those craving a more advanced paddle, head against the strong current about a mile southward to Oregon’s smallest lighthouse, Warrior Rock Lighthouse (it’s located right on the tip of Sauvie Island). Don’t go alone!

Sellwood Riverfront Park

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Address: 1221 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202, United States

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Sellwood Riverfront Park, right by the Willamette River, offers some amazing views of the city skyline and the Sellwood Bridge. It’s a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike, especially for water activities like paddleboarding.

The water here is usually pretty calm, and the area is sheltered from wind and currents. These make it awesome for beginners to paddle around without any fuss. 

But hey, even if you’re a pro, there’s still fun to be had. The difficulty level can kick up a notch depending on things like wind and boat traffic.

Plus, the park hooks you up with paddleboard rentals, so it’s easy for everyone to join in the fun. And when you’re done paddling, why not kick back in the park’s green spaces or take a wander around Sellwood? It’s a perfect way to soak up a sunny day in Portland, if you ask me!

Timothy Lake

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Address: Timothy Lake, near Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon, USA

About 1 hour and 49 minutes by car from Portland, nestled in the Mt. Hood National Forest, is Timothy Lake. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on exploring this gem!

The serene waters and the numerous access points around the lake make it a prime spot for paddleboarding. 

But here’s the thing – you won’t find any places to rent paddleboards nearby. So, either bring your own or buddy up with someone who has gear to spare.

On the bright side, one of the cool things I like about this lake is that you can camp right by its shores at one of the many camping spots scattered around. It’s perfect if you’re up for a weekend getaway and want to spend a couple of days paddleboarding to your heart’s content.

Lost Lake


Address: 9000 Lost Lake Rd, Hood River, OR 97031, United States

Contact details: 541-386-6366

Operating hours: Monday – Friday: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

If you’re after a peaceful paddleboarding experience without the noise of engines, Lost Lake is your spot. Here, motorboats aren’t allowed, making it perfect for beginners and anyone wanting a serene time on the water. 

Plus, being nestled in the Mt. Hood National Forest means you’ll soak in some stunning views with tall trees all around.

Now, the lake is actually on private property run by Lost Lake Resort, so it’s not totally free to hang out here. They charge a $15 day-use fee. 

Despite that, what we adore about this place is that they conveniently rent out kayaks and paddleboards, so you won’t need to worry about bringing your own gear.

Moreover, there’s a sandy beach area for swimming and relaxing, plus several hiking trails in the vicinity for exploring. So, expect plenty of activities here besides paddleboarding, making it the perfect spot for adventurous souls.

Keep in mind: weekends can get busy. But even on crowded days, you’ll find ample parking, restrooms, and a general store with a small café where you can grab lunch.

Trillium Lake

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Website: Trillium Lake, Government Camp, OR, USA

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

It’s no secret that Trillium Lake, one of Oregon’s most picturesque spots, is a year-round stunner. And truthfully, nothing beats paddling here and catching the reflection of Mount Hood on its glassy surface.

Everything you need for a great paddling adventure is right here: there’s a day-use area on the south side with a boat ramp, dock, and nearby campsites.

There’s even a reservable picnic area where you and your crew can hang out after hitting the water.

But you know what makes Trillium Lake special? It’s regularly stocked with fish (Rainbow Trout, Skamania Trout, Brook Trout, and Lake Trout) by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. So, you can cross paddle board fishing off your bucket list when you’re here!

Pro-tip: Trillium Lake can get pretty busy in the summer, so consider visiting on a weekday if you prefer fewer crowds. And since there are tons of hiking trails nearby, don’t forget to pack your hiking boots!

Benson Lake

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Address: Oregon, USA

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Despite being located right next to the highway, Benson Lake (45 minutes east of Portland) is surprisingly peaceful – well, at least when it’s not crowded with people and parties. 

But here’s the good news: if you visit on weekdays, the park is usually pretty quiet, and you can easily find parking close to the lakeshore. 

The lake is small, only about a quarter mile long, so you’re never too far from the shore. Plus, there’s a shallow shoal near the picnic area that’s perfect for kayakers to practice rolling or for canoers to work on their boat swamp recovery skills.

Another perk is that motorized boats aren’t allowed here, so it’s really peaceful. You can even bring your furry friends along, though they can’t join you on the water. 

Additionally, there are plenty of green spaces for kids to run around in and benches for resting. Just be prepared to pay $5 per person to enjoy the place. But don’t worry – that fee includes parking, so it’s still pretty reasonable.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring your own paddleboard – there are no rentals nearby!

Hagg Lake

Address: Oregon 97119, USA

Operating hours:  Open 24 hours

Whether you’re an experienced paddleboarder or just starting out, Hagg Lake provides a picturesque backdrop for this water sport. 

And so if you’re like me and enjoy paddling for the views, Hagg Lake is the perfect spot for you. 

Not only that, but the lake is teeming with wildlife, from waterfowl to fish – you might even spot the occasional deer along the shore. 

In addition to the stunning views, there’s a 13-mile trail that circles the lake, making it ideal for a leisurely walk or bike ride after your paddleboarding session. 

Now, paddleboard rentals are available at the lake, but only during the summer months. If you visit during the off-season, you might want to bring your own board!

Willamette River


Address: 6500 S Macadam Ave, Portland, OR 97219, United States

Contact details: +1 503-823-2525

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

How could I forget about the Willamette River? It’s right in the heart of downtown, so it’s super convenient for outdoor fun. 

The water is nice and calm, perfect for a leisurely paddle with a view of the city skyline. And the best part? You can hit the river any time of year!

Wondering where to start your paddle? Kelly Point Park Boat Ramp and Cathedral Park Boat Ramp are awesome spots to launch from.

 But for me, Willamette Park is the go-to. It’s in SW Portland and has everything you need for a great day out. 

There’s a playground, restrooms, picnic area – you name it. There’s just a small fee for parking, but it’s totally worth it for all the amenities.

Scappoose Bay

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Address: 57420 Old Portland Rd, Warren, OR 97053, USA

Contact details: +1 503-397-2888

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Of course, there’s the peaceful charm of Scappoose Bay, a hidden gem just 30 minutes north of Portland. It’s a favorite spot for stand-up paddleboarding enthusiasts, offering a relaxing getaway from the city buzz. 

Trust me, the views here are worth it alone. As you paddle through Scappoose Bay, you’ll be surrounded by the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest, stunning mountains, and plenty of wildlife.

On top of that, the calm waters of the bay are perfect for beginners (and enjoyable for all skill levels), so don’t worry if you’re new to paddleboarding. Just make sure to have someone who knows the ropes with you.

Here’s a tip: After a day of paddleboarding here, check out the nearby town of Scappoose. It has some cute shops and tasty restaurants waiting to be explored.

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