If you’re looking for an escape from the summer heat, the Scappoose Bay Paddling Center is a great stop (and under an hour from Portland). I took a trip out to Scappoose Bay on a beautiful weekday with my partner and dog for my dogs first boat adventure. I called ahead before leaving just to check that they had boats, and Paul said we were good to come on by. Upon arriving, staff were super helpful in finding the right canoe to accommodate our whole crew; myself, my partner, and our 80-lb dog. If a canoe isn’t your thing, they also have paddle boards and kayaks on hand. They were able to get in the water for us, along with providing life jackets and paddles. This being Frankie’s (the dog) first time in a boat, it took a second, but we were able to get her in and off we went!
Conditions were great as we paddled to the south, with the sun beating down, and a little breeze to keep up cool. We soon found that there were shallow parts, where the canoe almost touched the bottom, and we had to pay attention or we would get stuck in the mud. We eventually did, and with the dog getting antsy, we decided to have a quick romp in the mud. While our dog loved it, it was definitely a good place to lose a shoe or two, so barefoot was the best option. Frankie, as said before, loved it, and was extremely successful at covering us and the canoe in loads of mud.
The wildlife was a highlight of the trip, with lots of birds around. The coolest were several Great Blue Herons that were walking easily on the mud, looking for midday snacks. They do look awkward when flying, but they look at home in the mud. There were also fish and tadpoles everywhere, with fish jumping out of the water at several points, and a couple of people on kayaks looking for those elusive fish. We asked if they had caught anything, and their response was that they were mostly just dropping worms.
There was a little breeze on our paddle back to the center, but the water was still calm and we were one of very few other boats on the water. We walked around in some more mud, and then decided it was time to head in and hit the dock. Once getting back, the person working down on the dock was super helpful, and he helped steady our boat, as well as letting us know that we could just leave it there, and that he would clean it. This was super kind, given how muddy we (mostly Frankie) got the boat, and with such helpful staff, it never hurts to tip.
After a long day in the sun (and mud), we of course hit rush hour on our way home to Portland. We got home just in time for Frankie to get a bath, and as soon as she was out, she was asleep. So Scappoose Bay Paddling Center is a great way to spend a lazy summer day, with great staff, and a great escape from Portland for the day (as well as a great excuse for a bath)!
Post-canoe, post-bath spa time