Rising temperatures might make you reach for that plastic kiddie pool and hose again, but we’ve got some more refreshing options. Portland’s parks are unparalleled in summertime, and that means great scenery and fun water play for all. Here are 10 splash pads and water features that you’ll definitely want to check out this summer.
Photo: Rain0975 via Creative Commons Flickr
Jamison Square Fountain
A hot day spent splashing in this downtown interactive fountain is a Portland summer rite of passage. When the temperature cranks up, kids of all ages flock to this favorite fixture to cool off for the afternoon. Families can lounge on the grassy area nearby or wade into the cool water that cascades down the stone steps and forms a shallow pool. Perfect for little feet!
Like all of Portland Parks and Recreation’s interactive water features and splash pads, the fountain is cleaned and chlorinated, but not meant for ingesting. Instead, stroll down the street to Hot Lips Pizza and quench your thirst with one of their legendary fresh fruit sodas, like lemon or black raspberry. It’s the perfect treat after a day spent fountain-splashing.
810 NW 11th Ave.
This cute hidden park near Holgate Library has a splash pad, playground, picnic tables and a basketball court. Stop by the library to sign up for the amazing summer reading program through Multnomah County Library, then enjoy a picnic at the park while your little adventurers splash away.
SE 79th Ave. & Center St.
Earl Boyles Park
You’ll find a splash pad at this outer southeast park, as well as a playground with a colorful climbing structure, picnic tables, walking paths and a horseshoe pit.
SE 107th Ave. & Francis St.
Photo: Sam Beebe via Creative Commons Flickr
This spacious park has it all, from shady trees and a baseball field to basketball courts and a popular playground. Adjacent to the playground your water lovers can wet their tiny toes in the refreshing sprayground, with a splashing fire hydrant and other fun water structures.
NE 7th Ave. & Fremont St.
Fans of Beverly Cleary books will love seeing their favorite characters come to life at this Ramona-inspired fountain. While splashing their feet in the water, kids can check out the sculptures of Ramona, Henry Huggins and Ribsy the Dog. The park also has an adjacent playground and tennis courts, so it’s the perfect spot to spend a full afternoon enjoying the summertime sunshine.
NE 33rd Ave & US Grant Pl.
Photo: Spilltojill via Creative Commons Flickr
This longtime family favorite park was Portland’s first public rose garden. As if the paths of beautiful roses aren’t enough, you’ll find a fountain, a gazebo and large grassy fields perfect for hula-hooping or a game of soccer. The other side of the park has a large playground (the second oldest in Portland!) and a splash pad with a fun tunnel of spray jets. Kick back with a dinner picnic, bring the kids in their swimsuits and find out why families want to return to this park again and again.
700 N. Rosa Parks Way
The gigantic flower fountains and movable jet sprays make the sprayground at this beautiful tree-shaded park a Portland favorite. With water play, plenty of picnic tables and a playground that kids love, Columbia Park will quickly become your summer play date meetup spot.
N Lombard St. & Woolsey Ave.
Kiddie “car wash” structures, bubbling fountains and water sprays are some of the fun splash pad fixtures at this 14-acre park. You’ll also find basketball courts, walking paths, picnic tables and a play structure that will keep the kids busy until they tire out on those perfect summer days.
N Kerby Ave. & N Farragut St.
Photo: Steve R. via Yelp
Elizabeth Caruthers Park
For tiny tots just getting ready to test the waters, this simple yet delightful round stepping stone splash pad is a treat. For even more fun, combine your visit with a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram and enjoy breathtaking views of the city. The park is just one block south of the tram’s lower terminal. Round-trip rides are just $4.50 and kids 6 and under ride free.
3508 SW Moody Ave.
Salmon Street Springs at Waterfront Park
If you want to hear shrieks of summer happiness, head down to the waterfront and let your kids catch the spray at Salmon Street Springs. A computer controls the three changing patterns of water, named “misters,” “bollards,” and “wedding cake.” Kids will have a great time trying to guess which is which. With an impressive 185 jets of water and riverfront views, this is one spot that you’ll want to add to your summer bucket list.
Waterfront Park, Naito Parkway at SW Salmon
What’s your favorite splash pad or sprayground in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!