Our kids absolutely love getting out on the water. The anticipation for an awesome day starts immediately when we load the kayaks into the car. We involved them in each part of the trip, from loading PFDs (AKA life jackets) to paddling on the water to putting everything away at the end of the day. Sharing our love of paddling with them and teaching them how to do each part makes the entire experience incredibly rewarding.
One of the best places we’ve ever kayaked as a family is Oregon. Whether we’re on the coast or inland on a lake or river, there are so many places where we’ve built unforgettable memories sharing our love of paddling with our kids. In this post, we’re going to share some of the best places to kayak with kids in the great state of Oregon so you can build those memories with your own kids too! Let’s get started.
Lost Lake, Hood River, Oregon
Oregon is well known for its natural beauty, and nowhere captures this better than Lost Lake. Located under 2 hours east of Portland, Lost Lake is a great spot to paddle around in a kayak due to the spectacular view of Mount Hood. Your kids will love looking in the trees to spot bald eagles as you make your way around the shoreline due to all of the trees that line the banks.
Trillium Lake, Government Camp, Oregon
Another spot that offers great views of Mount Hood is Trillium Lake. Getting to Trillium Lake from Portland is a lot quicker than getting to Lost Lake, as it’s only 40 miles away. You can easily paddle the entirety of the lake in a day as it’s only 63 acres in area. Pack along a picnic so you can pull up on the shore for a mid-paddle lunch!
Scappoose Bay, Warren, Oregon
A great spot to take the kids kayaking year-round can be found on Scappoose Bay. Located a short 30-minute drive north of Portland, you’ll find calm, easy water to paddle along. The cool water feels great during the summertime, and the quiet calmness of winter allows for a plethora of animals to seek shelter in Scappoose Bay. Wintertime paddling is the best time to go to view migratory birds as the busyness of the summer season allows them quiet respite for the winter.
Alton Baker Canoe Canal, Eugene, Oregon
One of the best things about kayaking is that it opens up the opportunity to reach areas that you couldn’t usually get to on land to do more outdoor recreational activities. Alton Baker Canoe Canal offers excellent flat water kayaking as well as some great fishing opportunities. The middle of the route gives some pretty awesome opportunities to catch rainbow trout. And if you’re lucky, you could land a steelhead that wanders into the canal from the main part of the Willamette River nearby.
The Cove Palisades State Park, Bend, Oregon
If you’re looking for a fully guided place to go kayaking with your kids, look no further than The Cove Palisades State Park. You’ll start at the Upper Deschutes boat launch and make your way along the river as basalt cliffs tower overhead. We really enjoyed taking this tour with our guide as they were incredibly knowledgeable about the local geological history, plants and animals, and the cultural history of the area. This trip was extremely easy for us as we opted to rent our kayaks and PFDs from the park since they were included in the tour package.
Kayaking at any one of these spots is sure to make your kids smile from ear to ear. They’ll love exploring the beautiful scenery, spotting wildlife, and spending time with you on the water.
Make sure to pack along all of the essentials so that you’re sure to have a fun-filled day. Sunscreen, bug spray, water, and plenty of snacks are the key to keeping everyone happy throughout the trip.
Also, make sure that your kids wear a properly fitted PFD whenever they are close to or on the water. Safety is the number one priority here! And when you’re all done for the day, come back, and let us know how your trip went by dropping a comment below. We can’t wait to hear about your trip!