Sauvie Island is a short jump away, but far from the city in spirit. A year-round destination full of fun things for the family, the 26,000 acre island has hiking, fishing, farms, sunny beaches, and plenty of picnic spots. Whether your kids are interested in hunting for snakes, digging into history at pioneer-era orchard, build a sand castle or hunting for the perfect pumpkin, the island offers it all. Read on for our guide of fun!
photo: abi p. via flickr
Find a Frog
Wapato Access Greenway Trail makes a perfect outing to see some nature. It’s an easy 2.5 miles around a lake, full of frogs, bugs, snakes, and other critters. The flat loop is great for toddlers or kiddos getting their hiking legs, or parents of newborns rediscovering theirs!
18846 NW Sauvie Island Rd
Hook a Fish
The small ponds and lakes on the island provide some great family-friendly spots for snagging a catch. Haldeman Pond is great for early spring, while later in the season you can head to Steelman Lake or Mud Lake, or Aaron’s Lake on the other side of the island. While you won’t catch any record-smashing stories, you’ll find plenty of perch, crappie, and catfish.
photo: us fish and wildlife via flickr
Pick your Own
U-Pick farms are the soul of the island. Almost any weekend from spring to late fall is a great time to visit: pick your own fruit, stock up on produce, get lost in a corn maze, or get your favorite family pictures in the pumpkin fields. Some of the biggest and best farms, complete with food, beer, and family activities, include these below.
Kruger’s Farm Market
17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd, Portland, OR 9723
16205 NW Gillihan Rd, Portland, OR 97231
Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch
16511 NW Gillihan Rd, Portland, OR 97231
photo: rafael via yelp
Picnic Under the Apple Trees
Gather some goodies at local farms or bring your own, then head to the Bybee-Howell House and Park. The historic white farmhouse has stood since the 1850s, and presides over a neat little area to explore. Eat your picnic under the big oak trees or check out the pioneer orchard in back (be sure to tell the kids that those trees were planted from cuttings carried by wagons on the Oregon Trail!) You can also spot birds in the wetlands nearby.
13901 NW Howell Park Rd.
Splash and Sun
The island has some of Portland’s best beaches, for good reason. Close enough for easy access, wild enough to go free (super free if you want–the nude beach is farther up the island! Don’t be alarmed, you’d have to go very far to find it, there’s no risk of accidentally stumbling on it). During the warm months the shores are stocked with families looking to escape the heat.
Walton Beach is your best bet for a sunny day on the water. Watch for eagles, count cargo ships, build a sand castle, then splash the sand awa. It’s a popular spot, but doesn’t feel too crowded– there’s still plenty of room to fly a kite! A $10 daily parking pass is available at the Cracker Barrel Store right off the bridge to the island.
38378-38798 NW Reeder Rd.
photo: jevonnie via yelp
Need a night away? This lovely young Croft Farm grows blueberries in the summer, rounded out by veggies, chickens, rabbits, and more.
The 5-acre environmentally-conscious farm is a beautiful spot to escape for a night or two. 300 square feet of modern farmhouse living comes with a small kitchenette and a patio to enjoy views of St Helens, or the nearby neighboring sheep. Stay overnight before heading out to enjoy a full day of Sauvie fun.
It’s best for small families: there’s one bed, with a pack n play available upon request, but note that the space is not baby-proofed.
14765 NW Gillihan Rd
photo: jenna via flickr
The island takes about 30 minutes to get to via a single bridge from US 30, and another 30 minutes to get across. There are no gas stations there, so be sure to fill up before you arrive. Restrooms can be scarce: most farms have options, many are porta potties. Note that all wildlife areas on the island require parking passes for $10/day, which can be purchased at the Cracker Barrel store just to the left of the bridge when you arrive, or at the Oregon Dept. Fish and Wildlife further down. (The pass is not required to visit any farms.)
Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
18330 NW Sauvie Island Road
The Cracker Barrel Store
15005 NW Sauvie Island Road