Splashing Around Oregon
The weather’s warming up. Soon it’ll be downright toasty, and you’ll be wishing yourself into the Oregon outdoors for a little water adventure. In Oregon, you can hang ten at the Pacific Ocean, get splashed on board a fast-maneuvering jet boat or take a kayak tour through wildlife-filled estuaries and wetlands. Basically, whatever suits your water fancy.
Imagine floating on an Oregon river through peaceful stretches of calm water, under towering trees with abundant wildlife and no sign of civilization in sight. Then – BAM! — your raft shoots you through a pocket of Class III white water that leaves you giggling like a kid, and soaking wet. Sound like fun? Oregon’s mighty rivers—Rogue, Deschutes, Umpqua, McKenzie, Clackamas—and their many designated Wild & Scenic sections make our state one of the country’s most popular destinations for rafting. Why not get out and get soaked?
Oregon has a great range of kayaking opportunities, from estuaries and bays at the coast to the wetlands of Scappoose Bay near Portland to the white-water rivers of the Columbia Gorge. You can even paddle the Willamette River along the shores of downtown Portland.
Windsurfing & Kite Boarding
Some call Hood River the windsurfing capital of the U.S. thanks to the incredible Columbia Gorge winds. On an average breezy day, it’s typical to see dozens of colorful sails dance across the wide river. Both windsurfing and kite boarding lessons and equipment are available in and around Hood River and The Dalles.
Inland lakes at the southern Oregon coast offer other great spots for riding the wind. Pistol River State Park near Gold Beach has held at least three national windsurfing championships. Fifty miles north, Floras Lake is another popular windsurfing spot for both beginners and experts thanks to its sandy bottom and fresh, shallow, warm (68 degrees) water. Here, lessons and rentals are available April through September.
There are surf shops all along the Oregon coast, from Seaside to Pacific City and farther south. Many of them offer lessons from certified instructors, as well as rental equipment for both surfing and body boarding. In Oregon, the Pacific Ocean waters are chilly so you’ll need a wet suit. And make sure to check conditions with local surf shops before paddling out.
This summer, sit back and let others navigate you around Oregon’s scenic waterways. Hop aboard a jet boat to see Oregon at rip-roaring speed. Or, if you’re looking for a slower pace—or just want to avoid that windblown look—take a calmer ride aboard a bigger boat. Whatever your speed, Oregon has plenty of options.