Portland Beaches

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Portland Beaches

12 Best Beaches near Portland, OR

Make your way along the stream through a half-mile of beautiful forest as you cross a bridge to marvel in the jaw-dropping beauty of this secluded sandy beach.

15 Best Beaches Near Portland, OR — Closest Lake and Ocean Beach Spots

Noah Harris

Portland is home to a number of nice beaches that offer endless potential for fun-filled recreation under the Oregon sun.

From coastal beaches that overlook massive bodies of water, to more secluded areas up in the mountains and forests; this city has so much to offer.

But beyond the city’s borders are nearby attractions and equally mesmerizing shores that can make for the perfect summer getaway, quick escapade, or holiday excursion.

Check out our list on the best beaches near Portland, OR as we take you around all the cleanest dunes, most gorgeous views, and clearest waters for a day, a weekend, or maybe even a few days on a well-deserved trip; away from your daily routine.

1. Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach, OR 97110
(503) 436-1581

Cannon Beach is a small coastal city located in the northwestern regions of Oregon.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This picturesque beach offers wide and extensive shores, pristine waters, and is the home to the popular tourist destination: Haystack Rock, which is a 235 ft sea stack that is sometimes claimed locally to be the third-tallest such intertidal structure in the whole world.

Expert Tip

Just right off the shores of the beach is the Pelican Brewery, a local brewpub.

Make sure to stop by to taste all the different pub meals and snacks, try out the amazing craft beer they have on tap, and enjoy a cold drink while savoring the most beautiful sunsets off the horizon.

Recommended Hotel Near Cannon Beach: Inn at Haystack Rock

2. South Waterfront Park — Portland

South Waterfront Park — Portland

2001 S River Dr
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 823-4000

Extending at a length of 1,000 feet along the bank of the Willamette River, South Waterfront Park provides direct public access to the river all throughout the year.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Poet’s Beach in South Waterfront Park is one of the most convenient spots for quick beach getaways from Portland for a refreshing dip in the Willamette River.

This is the only swimming area on the river complete with a petite stretch of sand tucked underneath the Marquam Bridge.

Expert Tip

Just a 6-minute drive or a 15-minute jog away from this beach is the renowned Portland Art Museum.

So definitely don’t miss out on passing by this iconic landmark and historical infrastructure that houses a number of artworks showcased in amazing exhibits.

Recommended Hotel Near South Waterfront Park — Portland: Sentinel, a Provenance Hotel

3. Oswald West State Park — Arch Cape

Oswald West State Park — Arch Cape

Oswald West State Park
Arch Cape, OR 97102
(800) 551-6949

Just 7 miles away from Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park is a beautiful stretch of white sand surrounded by bundles of lush green landscapes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Make your way along the stream through a half-mile of beautiful forest as you cross a bridge to marvel in the jaw-dropping beauty of this secluded sandy beach.

This majestic beach near Portland is easily one of our top recommendations for those looking for the perfect day trip.

Expert Tip

Oswald West State Park is home to one of the largest waves among the coastal beaches in Oregon, so if you plan on surfing this place is definitely a great place to enjoy.

However, because of this we definitely don’t recommend bringing kids to this beach.

Recommended Hotel Near Oswald West State Park — Arch Cape: Inn at the Prom

4. Sauvie Island Beach — Portland

Sauvie Island Beach — Portland

38378- 9723, 38798 NW Reeder Rd
Portland, OR 97231

Just 10 miles north of downtown Portland, Sauvie Island Beach is a peaceful escape amidst the daily hustle and bustle.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Sauvie Island Beach which is nestled in the picturesque and mesmerizing Sauvie Island may be your best way to get your beach fix without trekking out to the Pacific.

This gorgeous destination offers an opportunity to take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Columbia River.

Expert Tip

If you’re bringing a car on your way to the beach, make sure to pick up a parking permit at the general store located at the base of the bridge as you cross the river channel.

This helps you avoid a fine when going to all the other beaches and wildlife refuges in Sauvie Island.

Recommended Hotel Near Sauvie Island Beach — Portland: Red Lion Hotel on the River Jantzen Beach Portland

5. George Rogers Park — Lake Oswego

George Rogers Park — Lake Oswego

611 S State St
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
(503) 675-2549

George Rogers Park located in Lake Oswego, Oregon is a 26-acre public park that has become a staple tourist attraction.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This enthralling destination is a hidden gem in the pretty upscale neighborhood of Lake Oswego which features a mesmerizing shore of sandy beach stretching across the Willamette River alongside 26 acres of trails, picnic areas with barbecues, and a number of athletic fields.

Expert Tip

If basking under the sun is not the only thing you want to do on your day off, this park also houses two baseball fields, a soccer field, a memorial garden area, restrooms, a playground, and two outdoor tennis courts for you to enjoy.

Recommended Hotel Near George Rogers Park — Lake Oswego: Lakeshore Inn

6. Collins Beach — Portland

Collins Beach — Portland

NW Reeder Rd
Portland, OR 97231
(503) 823-7529

Just located right up the shores of Sauvie Island Beach is Collins Beach; a wide patch of clean sand dunes alongside pristine waters.

Why We Recommend This Beach

A haven for state-sanctioned skinny-dippers since the early 1970s, this beautiful destination, which sits amid a 12,000-acre fish and game reserve, is among our favorites when it comes to choosing the best beach vacations from Portland.

Expert Tip

Clothing is optional on this beach, so we definitely don’t recommend bringing the little ones here.

Recommended Hotel Near Collins Beach — Portland: Red Lion Hotel on the River Jantzen Beach Portland

7. Sellwood Riverfront Park — Portland

Sellwood Riverfront Park — Portland

1221 SE Oaks Park Way
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 823-4000

With a number of different captivating beaches in Portland, Sellwood Riverfront Park is undoubtedly among our top recommendations.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Sellwood Riverfront Park is a massive city park which encompasses about 7.6 acres in southeast Portland.

This park features a variety of paths and trails, picnic tables, a stage for public performances and shows, and a boat dock on its shore across the Willamette River.

Expert Tip

This park has a designated area for your furry friends.

So if you want to take your dogs out on a day out in the sandy shores or within the various nature trails that intertwine with the beach, this beautiful destination might be the perfect one for you.

Recommended Hotel Near Sellwood Riverfront Park — Portland: Hyatt House Portland / Downtown

8. Kelley Point Park — Portland

Kelley Point Park — Portland

N Kelly Point Park Rd
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 823-2525

Kelley Point Park is the northernmost park in Portland which is comfortably situated at the pretty spot where the mighty Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Bordered by the Columbia Slough on the south, the Willamette River on the west, and the Columbia River on the north, this park converges to form the tip of the peninsula at the confluence of the rivers, which is perfect for a number of aquatic recreational activities.

Expert Tip

Though swimming is not allowed, this beach is still perfect for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

Additionally, this beach is usually not crowded which makes it a perfect spot for quiet strolls and walks to escape the noise of the city.

Recommended Hotel Near Kelley Point Park — Portland: The Duniway Portland, A Hilton Hotel

9. Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area — Pacific City

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area — Pacific City

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
Pacific City, OR 97135
(800) 551-6949

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is a state park in Pacific City which is our favorite destination when it comes to picturesque weekend beach trips from Portland.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This craggy stretch of coastline is a sight to behold from the sand dunes piped atop of the layered cliffs.

Especially during dawn; where waves froth around the rocky contours and interact with the morning fog curling above the water to create a shimmer in the morning light.

Expert Tip

This gorgeous beach extends out to the Pacific Ocean; expect cold and refreshing waters along with equally chilling breezes, so it’d be best to bring a windbreaker with you.

Additionally, there’s also tide pool areas that showcase all the different sea creatures during low tide.

Recommended Hotel Near Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area — Pacific City: Inn at Cape Kiwanda

10. Ecola State Park — Cannon Beach

Ecola State Park — Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach, OR 97110
(800) 452-5687

Ecola State Park is a state park about 3 miles north of Cannon Beach in Clatsop County, just off the Oregon Coast.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Among the most convenient and nearest beach spots from Portland, the tangles of the Ecola State Park create a silent barricade along the edges of the highway.

This extends along the wide stretch of the park until the road reaches the gloriously rugged and wide coastline.

Expert Tip

Easily one of the prettiest beaches in Oregon, this park is home to large waves that are great for surfing, strong winds which are perfect for flying a kite, and wide expanses of nature that are suitable for a number of nature excursions including hiking, trekking, and exploring.

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Recommended Hotel Near Ecola State Park — Cannon Beach: Lighthouse Inn

11. Oxbow Regional Park — Gresham

Oxbow Regional Park — Gresham

3010 SE Oxbow Pkwy
Gresham, OR 97080
(503) 663-4708

Owned and operated by Metro regional government, the Oxbow Regional Park is an accessible attraction suitable for all ages.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This park offers a plethora of sandy areas to enjoy.

Because of the wide swaths of beach and the calm shallow river, this is our top pick as the safest beach for kids to swim in, or to enjoy a number of other aquatic activities with the whole family like kayaking and exploring.

Expert Tip

This park hosts a yearly festival during the month of October dedicated to celebrating salmon.

This tradition showcases a number of attractions including guided salmon walks, salmon viewing stations, and so much more that you should definitely not miss out on.

Recommended Hotel Near Oxbow Regional Park — Gresham: Quality Inn

12. Dabney State Park — Corbett

Dabney State Park — Corbett

Historic Columbia River Hwy
Corbett, OR 97019
(800) 551-6949

Dabney State Recreation Area is a park on the Sandy River in Oregon, right at the heart of Multnomah County just outside the city of Troutdale.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Complete with stretches of sand dunes, pristine and clean water, and a small river offshoot that makes for fun explorations, especially if you’re planning on bringing kiddos with you.

This family-friendly destination is perfect for groups of all sizes.

Expert Tip

With its relatively calm waters, this park is undoubtedly our top pick for the best beach for swimming.

However, it usually gets crowded during summer, so we definitely consider going early in the morning if you want to travel during peak seasons.

Recommended Hotel Near Dabney State Park — Corbett: Comfort Inn Columbia Gorge Gateway

13. Henry Hagg Lake Park — Gaston

Henry Hagg Lake Park — Gaston

50250 SW Scoggins Valley Rd
Gaston, OR 97119
(503) 359-5732

Henry Hagg Lake is an artificial lake located in northwestern regions of Oregon in the city of Gaston.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This man-made lake offers a plethora of beaches to choose from.

These beautiful sand dunes are all well-maintained and offer grills, boat ramps, and a number of aquatic recreation in the warm waters of the lake along with land activities that’ll keep you busy all throughout the day.

Expert Tip

With multiple beaches just surrounding this lake, if you arrive at a spot and it’s crowded, you can just drive a few minutes away and find your own secluded area to enjoy the lake and the beach of your choice.

Recommended Hotel Near Henry Hagg Lake Park — Gaston: Larkspur Landing Hillsboro-An All-Suite Hotel

14. Battle Ground Lake State Park

Battle Ground Lake State Park

18002 NE 249th St
Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-4621

Battle Ground Lake State Park is a massive 275-acre public recreation area located just three miles northeast of the city of Battle Ground, Washington.

Why We Recommend This Beach

When it comes to lake beaches nearby the city of Portland, this park is undoubtedly our ideal choice.

Covered by an evergreen forest, along with waters directly fed by surrounding springs, there’s no wonder why tourists from far and wide flock to visit this mesmerizing destination.

Expert Tip

This delightful park is a trove of recreational activities both in the waters and on land.

Swim, paddle with your kayak boats, or reel out your fishing rods for all kinds of trout on the waters, and enjoy a hike, go horseback riding, and explore all the different trails in the woods.

Recommended Hotel Near Battle Ground Lake State Park: Best Western Premier Hotel at Fisher’s Landing

15. Blue Lake Regional Park — Fairview

Blue Lake Regional Park — Fairview

20500 NE Marine Dr
Fairview, OR 97024
(503) 665-4995

Blue Lake Regional Park is a 101-acre public park in Fairview which is among our top recommendations for the best beaches near Portland, OR.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Go out and explore the wetlands, reserve a picnic spot, rent a paddleboat, or play on the sports fields.

It’s not advisable for little ones to swim in the waters, so they can play in the gushing, dumping, and spraying splash pads in the premises of the park.

Expert Tip

This park is home to the Natural Discovery Garden, a family-friendly destination which is renowned as the home of all kinds of flowers and plants.

Don’t miss out on dropping by this captivating garden as you learn all about caring and nurturing plants right at your own home.

Recommended Hotel Near Blue Lake Regional Park — Fairview: Best Western PLUS Cascade Inn and Suites

Map of Beaches Near Portland, Oregon

15 Best Beaches Near to Portland, Oregon for 2023

Best Beaches Near Portland, OR

  • Cannon Beach
  • South Waterfront Park — Portland
  • Oswald West State Park — Arch Cape
  • Sauvie Island Beach — Portland
  • George Rogers Park — Lake Oswego
  • Collins Beach — Portland
  • Sellwood Riverfront Park — Portland
  • Kelley Point Park — Portland
  • Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area — Pacific City
  • Ecola State Park — Cannon Beach
  • Oxbow Regional Park — Gresham
  • Dabney State Park — Corbett
  • Henry Hagg Lake Park — Gaston
  • Battle Ground Lake State Park
  • Blue Lake Regional Park — Fairview

15 Best Beaches Near Portland, OR — Closest Lake and Ocean Beach Spots

12 Best Beaches near Portland, OR

PlanetWare.com

Cannon Beach

Portland has a wide selection of beaches to enjoy some sunny weather. They range from in-town beaches on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers to spots on the Pacific Ocean less than two hours away. They also include local favorites like the long stretch of shoreline on Sauvie Island just northwest of the city. Things to do and activities vary between river beaches near Portland. Some beaches are more kid-friendly, swim-friendly, and dog-friendly than others. And, one beach on Sauvie Island is more nude-friendly than every other beach near Portland. Portland is also less than 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and it’s near some of the best small towns on the Oregon coast. This proximity includes iconic spots like Cannon Beach and Seaside, built upon generations of family beach vacations. River beaches in Portland contain risks like currents, steep drop-offs, and wakes from passing motorboats. Life vests are recommended when entering the water. Swimmers enter the water at their own risk. Enjoy a beautiful day in the sun with these best beaches near Portland.

1. Walton Beach, Sauvie Island

Walton Beach, Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island is approximately 10 miles north of the city, making it a popular getaway from Portland. It’s the largest island in the Columbia River and one of the largest river islands in the nation. The island is approximately 15 miles long and four miles wide, encompassing over 24,000 acres. Sauvie Island is quiet compared to the city, and is defined mainly by rural farmland and wildlife refuge. And on the island’s north and east coasts, along the Columbia River, several popular beaches attract crowds of city-dwellers on the hot summer days. The most popular access point is Walton Beach, also called Sauvie Island Beach. It’s located approximately 12 miles from the Sauvie Island Bridge–the only road onto the island. Parking is on the other side of NW Reeder Road from the river. Daily or annual parking permits are required. Walton Beach is long, wide, and slightly sloped toward the water. Visitors enjoy swimming here, although the bank drops off dramatically. Life vests are highly recommended. No lifeguards are on duty. Dogs are welcomed on leash only.

2. Collins Beach, Sauvie Island

Collins Beach, Sauvie Island

Collins Beach is another popular stretch of sand on the Columbia River on Sauvie Island. It’s just north of Walton Beach (Sauvie Island Beach) on NW Reeder Road and has one important distinction–portions of the beach have been clothing optional since the 1970s. Collins Beach is approximately a mile long, and starts shortly after Reeder Road turns to gravel. Respectful visitors are welcome to enjoy every bit of sunshine they can find (don’t forget the sunscreen). Not all the beach is clothing-optional, and markers on the beach delineate where clothing can come off. Parking passes are required, as with all beach parking on Sauvie Island. Parking passes are available at Cracker Barrel Grocery at the base of the Sauvie Island Bridge.

3. Sellwood Riverfront Park

Sellwood Riverfront Park

Sellwood Riverfront Park is on the Willamette River, south of downtown Portland, near the Sellwood Bridge. The nine-acre park stays popular throughout the year, primarily as a fun place to let the dogs run free. But, during the summer, its long stretch of river beach draws the crowds. A boat dock juts out from the main beach access at Sellwood, only a short walk from the off-street parking area. The shoreline extends north from there, with several available spots to post up and spread out a towel. The lush backdrop to the beach provides shade, while other spots are wide open and perfect for sun-tanning. The Willamette River is safe to swim in, though currents and wakes from powerboats on the water get stronger farther from the bank. No lifeguards are on duty, and life vests are recommended for inexperienced swimmers. Also, expect to encounter unleashed dogs on the beach.

4. Poet’s Beach

Poet

Poet’s Beach is a small sliver of sand on the west side of the Willamette River near downtown. It’s located under the Marquam Bridge (I-5) in the city’s South Waterfront Park–the southernmost section of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park revitalization. In the summer when water levels are low, this engineered shoreline is a popular place to soak in the sun and swim in the river. The beach opens to a swimming area marked by swim lines and floats. The water depth is pretty shallow in this delineated swim area. However, currents do exist, and no lifeguards are on duty. Visitors enter the water at their own risk. The water is comfortable throughout summer but can reach shivering temperatures throughout the rest of the year. It’s a short walk on a paved trail from the river landing to the beach. It’s not an ample space, and on almost any hot and sunny day in the summer, expect the beach to feel crowded. Arrive early to claim a spot.

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5. George Rogers Park, Lake Oswego

George Rogers Park

George Rogers Park is the premiere outdoor space in Portland’s neighboring city to the south, Lake Oswego. The park has a significant history among native populations and later as the center of the town’s iron industry. Today, the park encompasses 26 acres on the Willamette River, including a small but worthy beachfront. Some say the beach at George Rogers Park is a hidden gem, but it doesn’t always appear that way on hot and sunny summer weekends. Local families and southside Portlanders flock to the sand, dotting the relatively small beach. But with plenty of other park amenities nearby, there tends to be enough space to let the kids run free. Swimming is allowed at George Rogers Park, though river swimming always comes with risks. Life vests are highly encouraged, especially for kids. Other popular activities at the park include pickleball, playground exploring, and visiting the historic Oswego Iron Furnace.

6. Broughton Beach

Broughton Beach

Broughton Beach is on the northeast side of Portland, next to the Columbia River and NE Marine Drive. This broad and gently sloping beach attracts crowds of visitors throughout the warm-weather season. The adjacent M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp also sees significant boat traffic. A large parking area facilitates the crowds that tend to gather. Alternatively, the beach is a popular bicyclist destination for those utilizing the paved bike trail next to NE Marine Drive. Either way, the approximately half-mile beach accommodates every traveler that arrives. Swimming is fine at Broughton Beach, though currents and waves from passing water traffic intensify farther away from shore. Restrooms and drinking fountains are available at the beach. Dogs are asked to be left at home when visiting Broughton Beach.

7. Kelley Point Park

Kelley Point Beach

Kelley Point Park encompasses the peninsula at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, at the far northwest edge of city limits. The peninsula has sandy real estate on both rivers, with plenty of space for small groups and families. The unpredictable currents and passing motor traffic makes for unsafe swimming conditions at Kelley Point. The city discourages anyone from entering the water. But, with an expansive shoreline, it’s the perfect location to set a towel down and bask in the sun. Behind the beach, the park encompasses approximately 100 acres to wander. Paved and unpaved trails meander throughout this acreage, offering several avenues for exploring. At a minimum, visitors to the beach must walk 100 yards from the parking area.

8. Wintler Community Park Beach

Wintler Community Park Beach

Wintler Community Park is on the opposite bank of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. It’s a 12.5-acre park with an expansive beach and other amenities like picnic tables and hiking trails. The park is popular for sunbathing, exploring the wooded landscape, and taking refreshing dips into the water. Wintler Community Park Beach is on the eastern end of the Columbia River Renaissance Trail. This signed and paved trail extends from Fort Vancouver, another of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions, near downtown and along the river’s edge. Between Fort Vancouver and Wintler Community Park, on the Columbia River Renaissance Trail, visitors may also discover Surprise Beach. This slightly secret beach is a bit smaller and often less crowded.

9. Cannon Beach and Seaside

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach and Seaside are two quintessential beach towns on the Oregon coast–and two of the closest to Portland. They are less than 10 miles from one another on the northern Oregon coast, and an approximately 80-mile drive on Highway 26 from Portland. Both towns have a long and storied history of hosting visitors, and offer some of the top things to do on the Oregon Coast. Head to Seaside for downtown amusements and a historic ocean Promenade. Seaside is also acclaimed for its wide and accommodating beach with an impressive backdrop of Tillamook Head. The sheer size of Seaside Beach lends to several activities and organized events throughout the year, including one of the largest amateur volleyball tournaments in the world. Cannon Beach is also one of Oregon’s top places to visit, offering similar tourist attractions and plenty of hotels and local restaurants. Its beach is also extensive and accommodating. However, the city’s most prominent feature is the eye-catching Haystack Rock jutting from the shore. This 235-foot monolith dominates the sightline and provides a scenic backdrop.

10. Fort Stevens State Park

Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Oregon. It’s on the far northwest tip of Oregon, on the other side of Young’s Bay from picture-perfect Astoria. Visitors from Portland reach this expansive state park with a 90-mile drive or an approximately two-hour commute. Fort Stevens is a decommissioned military fort that operated between the Civil War and World War II. Today, it’s a sprawling 4,300-acre state park with military remnants, hiking trails, and one of the largest campgrounds on the coast. Fort Stevens is also home to a shoreline with miles of different activities available. The beach at Fort Stevens is popular for clamming, fishing, beach walking, and simply admiring the wake. The beach is also home to the photogenic Peter Iredale shipwreck, grounded on the Oregon shore over 115 years ago. Vehicles are allowed to access portions of the coast throughout the year.

11. Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach

The quaint and cozy town of Rockaway Beach is another popular ocean destination from Portland. It’s reachable from the city with an approximately 90-mile drive or a two-hour commute. The drive occurs primarily on Highway 6 as it twists and turns within Tillamook State Forest, home to some of Oregon’s best hiking trails, after branching off Highway 26 from the city. Rockaway Beach has a long history of hosting visitors, dating to when tourists used to arrive by scenic train. Today, Rockaway Beach’s vacation heyday has simmered, leaving behind the big crowds and hard-to-get hotels. Instead, Rockaway Beach has become a destination for rest, relaxation, and enjoying the coast at a slower pace. Rockaway Beach has many things to do for tourists, including nearly seven miles of uninterrupted sand to explore. This expansive sand offers plenty of room for groups and families to claim some beach as their own. And, every inch of the beach includes generous views of the beautiful Rockaway coastline, including the signature Twin Rocks formation in the surf.

12. Lincoln City

Road

Lincoln City is another postcard destination on the Oregon Coast, approximately a 100-mile drive from Portland. It’s also a popular seaside destination from Salem, located 50 miles almost directly west of the Oregon State Capital. And, while Lincoln City’s many attractions draw a crowd, its main tourist magnet is its miles of beautiful beachfront. Lincoln City has over seven miles of sandy beach. This shoreline is wide and welcoming and hosts all types of activities. Everyday endeavors include sandcastle building, suntanning, and exploring the rugged landscape. A few specific spots to check out include the Lincoln City Beach Access and the photogenic Road’s End State Recreation Site. As part of the city’s Finders Keepers program, visitors have the chance to find unique treasures hidden across the coastline. Throughout the year and on special “drop dates,” volunteers disperse handmade glass orbs on the beaches. Visitors who find these special keepsakes are welcome to take one home.

Portland, OR – Climate Chart

Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Portland, OR in °C
J F M A M J J A S O N D
8 3 10 4 13 5 16 7 19 9 23 12 26 14 26 14 23 13 17 9 11 6 8 3
PlanetWare.com
Average monthly precipitation totals for Portland, OR in mm.
159 129 115 79 63 41 19 25 48 86 162 172
Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Portland, OR in °F
J F M A M J J A S O N D
46 37 50 39 56 41 61 44 67 49 73 53 79 57 79 58 74 55 63 48 51 42 46 37
PlanetWare.com
Average monthly precipitation totals for Portland, OR in inches.
6.2 5.1 4.5 3.1 2.5 1.6 0.8 1.0 1.9 3.4 6.4 6.8

Our 9-Beach Bucket List: The Best Oregon Beaches

We found the most exceptional beaches that everyone should experience this summer, all just a short drive away from Portland.

By Sam Stites August 1, 2023

Portland Beaches

There’s nothing like a day at the beach, so how about visiting the nine best? We at Portland Monthly want you to experience the beaches we think are truly spectacular: the kind that leave you breathless (whether you hiked down to it or not). And thanks to Oregon’s history of preserving public access to beaches, there’s no beach on which that you aren’t welcome.

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We rounded up the best beaches you can experience, in order of proximity to Portland.

Under Two Hours FROM PORTLAND

Indian Beach

1 hour 30 minutes from portland

This small, secluded stretch of sand with outstanding views is a less-busy alternative to its famous neighbor, Crescent Beach.

Located just north of Cannon Beach in one of Oregon’s best state parks, the views here are not as well-known as those at Crescent Beach (where Goonies fans flock to seek “the rich stuff”), but they’re no less spectacular. You can reach this beach one of two ways, by parking in the main parking lot at Ecola Point and hiking down nearly two-miles to the Indian Beach Trail, or by a shorter trail from the Indian Beach day-use lot beyond Ecola Point. We recommend the former, because the trail offers some of the most astonishing perspectives of the Pacific Ocean you’ll ever see, as well as craggy sea stacks such as the one that holds the Tillamook Lighthouse. Once on the beach, you’ll likely be sharing it with some other revelers. The soft break of waves also makes this a great place to put in your sea kayak or try out surfing.

Great for: Smaller Crowds, hiking, tide pooling, bird-watching, treasure hunting, Paddling

Portland Beaches

Arcadia Beach/Hug Point

1 hour 40 minutes from portland

If you’re a fan of agates and sea caves, this is a great place to stop and poke around on your way to or from other favorite Oregon Coast haunts.

Two state recreation sites at Arcadia Beach and Hug Point have their own dedicated turnoffs and parking lots to access views of a waterfall, caves gouged into the sandstone cliff, and both Haystack Rock and Ecola Point off in the distance; at low tide, you can also access both sides of the beach straddling Hug Point. The area is usually lightly trafficked, so you won’t have to fight the crowds to enjoy some peaceful tide pooling or exploring by foot. Take care to watch the tide here as you can get stranded in some places if you’re not conscious of incoming water.

great for: rockhounding, tide pooling, exploring, picnicking

Portland Beaches

Short Sand Beach

1 hour 45 minutes from portland

This all-time favorite among surfers, bodyboarders, and swimmers is the spot to enjoy some aquatic activities at the Oregon Coast (wetsuits encouraged).

Sheltered from most weather and water conditions, this beach allows predictably calm splashing around. Get here from the parking lot along Highway 101 via a quick hike through the heavily forested Oswald West State Park. The little beach is tucked off of Smuggler Cove—the tiny bay between Cape Falcon and Neahkahnie Mountain. If you want to work up a sweat before taking a dip, the moderate, five-mile round-trip hike to Cape Falcon and back is the perfect way to enjoy this gorgeous beach.

Great for: surfing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, Whale watching

Sunset Beach

1 hour 45 minutes from portland

As the name suggests, this is a great place to sit and watch the sun go down with a completely unobstructed view.

Just south of Warrenton you can find several roads that approach Sunset Beach. Feel free to drive right onto the beach as this is one of the few places in Oregon where you can do so. Bring a picnic and sit on top of your car to watch the sunset. Do a few doughnuts in the sand (as long as you’re driving a vehicle that isn’t top heavy) while nobody is looking. If you want to make a trip out of it, hit up the Gearhart Hotel—one of the coolest McMenamins—for a hearty meal and night’s stay, or the nearby Gearhart Golf Links, which is famous for being the oldest golf courses west of the Mississippi, or follow our Gearhart 24-hour guide.

Great for: sunset watching, bonfires, seclusion

Tunnel Beach/Lost Boy Beach

1 hour 45 minutes

These two beaches are perhaps the most unique on the Oregon Coast: secluded, teeming with tide pool life, and accessible only at unusually low tides.

Check the tide chart before attempting to visit them. Seriously, do not go if the tide is coming in or above normal conditions because you could get stuck in an extremely dangerous situation. Access via a tunnel in the rock wall due north of Oceanside State Recreation Area Site. Once you traverse through the manmade tunnel you pop out onto Tunnel Beach which is short, but well-shielded from harsh weather, making it a nice place to explore tide pools and observe wildlife on the Three Arch Rocks a few hundred yards into the water. Getting to Lost Boy Beach is a bit trickier; it requires scrambling over some rocks, as well as going through arch caves and pools which remain partially filled with seawater even at low tide, so if you don’t plan to get wet, this isn’t for you. The reward is a very secluded beach full of sea critters that call this place home (who you will of course just watch, not disturb). Fun fact: there is also access to Lost Boy Beach from the cliff above, but you must know someone who lives there.

Great for: exploring, tide pooling, rockhounding, seclusion

Portland Beaches

Pacific City/Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area

1 hour 55 minutes

This beach is well-populated with nearby restaurants, hotels, surfing options, and activities.

Pacific City is one of Oregon’s most famous beaches with its towering haystack and the hulking (and crumbling) Cape Kiwanda to the north. Access is easy from the public parking lot just off the highway, and lodging options include multiple campground/RV parks, dozens of Airbnbs and the swanky Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa. Activities here include hiking up the dune at Cape Kiwanda to watch the sunset over the Pacific, witnessing the daring dory boat fishermen as they launch from the beach, or sipping a beer on the patio of Pelican Brewing’s original location. Pacific City is also a hub for Oregon’s surfing community, and Moment Surf Company is a great place to rent equipment if you’re just getting your feet wet (pun intended). While Moment excels at providing quality surf gear, it’s also got a cafe that serves a stellar breakfast burrito, great for keeping the fire in your belly warm if you’re headed out into the chilly waves.

Great for: Surfing, hiking, drinking, bonfires, sunset watching, ADA ACCESS

Under Three Hours FROM PORTLAND

Gleneden Beach

2 hours 30 minutes, No fee

A low-traffic beach six miles south of the busy beaches in Lincoln City.

This bedroom community just below Lincoln City is somewhat off the beaten path and not well-known outside those who own homes along the sandstone bluff that overlooks the beach, and guests at Salishan Coastal Lodge. The best access is from the parking lot at Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site, but there are also a few unofficial parking areas hidden throughout the neighborhood such as the gravel strip at the end of Wallace Street near Schoolhouse Creek, which is also a great place to search for rocks such as agate and jasper. Any trip to Gleneden Beach is incomplete without a stop at the Crystal Wizard, the zaniest little gift shop where you can pick up a birthday present for your witchy aunt. For food and drink, Pelican Brewing’s new Siletz Bay location is three miles south, and might be the best of the bunch—stop in for sudsy sips (Hoppa Don’t Preach IPA is our latest favorite) on the patio overlooking the bay while sitting in one of their nifty gliding Adirondack chairs.

Great for: Families with small kids, picnicking, Surfing, shopping, golfing

Portland Beaches

Fogarty Creek Beach

2 hours 35 minutes

This is a sweet spot for nature lovers and families, fully inside Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area, where the creek meets the ocean.

The creek is a great place for small kids to splash around in a controlled environment on a hot day. The bird-watching and tide pooling here are excellent with tons of bizarre critters attached to the rocks that are exposed at low tide. You’re certain to find all manner of shells and gemstones at this beach if you’re patient and have a keen eye. The beach’s location between Depoe Bay and Lincoln City means you’ve got plenty of options for lodging or grabbing a bite to eat—we suggest the Otis Cafe in Lincoln City for its giant breakfast portions served all day long.

Great for: Tide pooling, bird-watching, families with small kids, picnics

Portland Beaches

Otter Crest Beach

2 hours 45 minutes

Small, but mighty: this is a gorgeous beach, and worth a visit while seeing the much-more-crowded Devil’s Punchbowl to its south.

The beach itself—about the length of four football fields—invites you to stay and observe how the tide shifts across its landscape, revealing many tide pools full of marine animals and plants. You can access the beach by parking at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area (there are two lots) and walking north on C Avenue, then cutting toward the beach using a pathway to the left. Note that rocks near these pools are slippery, so be careful not to slip and disturb any of the habitat. You can head south to adventure inside the punchbowl, which is wonderous at low tide, but make sure you leave the moment the tide starts to come back in.

Great for: exploring, rock hounding, tide pooling