Nothing says “perfect summer day” like an afternoon splashing in a natural swim hole. With the dog days of summer well on their way, it’s time to start scouting out the best swim spots. There are a host of awesome nearby locations where you can while away the long, gorgeous days. So pack your picnic baskets and head to the woods for a dip in a natural pool. Read on to find out more.

photo: tjook via flickr

Glenn Otto Community Park
Driving time from Portland: 20 minutes
Day use fee: None

You need only venture to the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge to find Glenn Otto Community Park, a six-acre expanse with a popular beach on the banks of the Sandy River. This Troutdale mainstay is open to swimmers, sunbathers and families with dogs, but it’s so much more than a comfortable place to swim. This sun-splashed park also offers a playground, an open play area, restrooms and picnic shelters that can be reserved in advance for parties and events.

Find it: 1102 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy, Troutdale, OR 97060

Battle Ground Lake State Park
Driving time from Portland: 40 minutes
Day use fee: $10 or Discover Pass

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Named for a 19th century battle between U.S. Army soldiers and Klickitat Indians that was expected but never occurred, Battle Ground Lake State Park is a favorite among boaters, anglers, equestrians and, of course, swimmers. At the center of this 280-acre forest park is a spring-fed volcanic lake (sometimes referred to as a miniature Crater Lake) that has a ramp for non-motorized boats, 60 feet of dock space and a thriving trout population. Add in horseshoe pits, badminton and volleyball courts, a baseball field and 10 miles of hiking trails, and you have the makings of a memorable afternoon.

Find it: 18002 N.E. 249th St., Battle Ground, WA 98604

photo: Virginia State Parks via flickr

Lewisville Regional Park
Driving time from Portland: 40 minutes
Day use fee: $3, May-Sept.

It’s easy to make a day of your visit to the 154-acre Lewisville Regional Park, a facility that was developed by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Scenically situated on the East Fork of the Lewis River, this forest-and-meadow park features a small boat launch, a pebbly sand beach with calm water (in the Larch area), 20 horseshoe pits, 15 playgrounds, 13 picnic shelters, 17 barbecue grills and an abundance of parking for your convenience.

Find it: 26411 N.E. Lewisville Highway, Battle Ground, WA

Hagg Lake Park
Driving time from Portland: 45 minutes
Day use fee: $6

Created in the mid-1970s at the base of the Coast Range, Hagg Lake has become a go-to destination for swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing and picnicking. Bring your own watercraft or stop by Mad Jack’s to rent a pedal boat, a kayak or a stand-up paddle board. Families will also love riding bikes on more than 10 miles of hard surface paths; observing ducks, geese, blue herons and hawks throughout the park; playing 18 holes of disc golf; or picnicking at one of the many tables and large group pavilions.

Find it: 50250 SW Scoggins Valley Road, Gaston, OR 97119

photo: Eli Duke via flickr

Moulton Falls Regional Park
Driving time from Portland: 50 minutes
Day use fee: None

If Moulton Falls Regional Park looks familiar, you probably recognize its gorgeous waterfalls and three-story arch bridge from your Instagram feed. But this heavily forested 387-acre park is an ideal place to swim as well, thanks to its position at the confluence of Big Tree Creek and the East Fork of the Lewis River. Your kids will also delight in a swing bridge over the creek, volcanic rock formations, nine picnic areas and glimpses of the passing trains on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad.

Trillium Lake
Driving time from Portland: One hour and 15 minutes
Day use fee: $5

Perched at an elevation of 3,600 feet just a few miles southeast of Government Camp, Trillium Lake is best known for its calm waters that create a stunning mirror image of Mt. Hood. But this cool and pristine lake is also a wonderful place to swim, fish and float on warm summer days. Interested in helping your kids burn off some energy before making the drive back home? Simply guide them along the flat two-mile loop trail that follows the picturesque lakeshore.

Find it: 27781 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt, WA

Lost Lake
Driving time from Portland: One hour and 40 minutes
Day use fee: $8

Of all the postcard-perfect views of Mt. Hood, perhaps none is more beautiful than the one from the shores of Lost Lake. Scenically secluded in the hills southwest of Hood River, this day use resort and campground provides everything your family needs for a fun-filled day on the lake. A public boat launch? Check. Spectacular hiking trails that include the two-mile ascent of Lost Lake Butte? Check. Rental boats, life jackets and stand-up paddle boards? Check, check, check.

Find it: Click here for directions

— Maura O’Brien

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