Best Places for Kayaking in Oregon, Especially Near Portland

Best places for kayaking in Oregon especially near portland

Last updated on September 2, 2022

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Best Places for Kayaking in Oregon, Especially Near Portland

“Kayaking is awesome! It’s so much fun to go out with friends, family, or even by yourself and let the wind fallen swishing of the water guide you as you glide across its surfaces. Whether you’re trying to escape from work stress or just enjoying some time out in nature kayaking is a good way to do either, or both. After all, who doesn’t want to spend a day out in the water surrounded by nothing but blue skies and the sun’s warmth?

On the other hand kayaking is a great way to explore Oregon, and it’s even better if you can find a kayaking location near Portland. Luckily for you, there are plenty of places in Oregon where you can go kayaking! In this guide, we’ll tell you about the best kayaking spots in the state.

The following article will highlight some of Oregon’s greatest kayaking locations. When you do it right, this sport may be really enjoyable!

So, without further ado, let’s learn about the best places to kayak in Oregon.

Bandon Beach

This is one of Bandon’s most iconic destinations. You can find it at the very end of town along Highway 101. This place is known for its lovely views of the Coquille River and South Jetty, making this a top destination for coastal kayakers. Plus, Bandon Beach is an excellent place to go if you’re hoping to do some fishing or shell-gathering.

“This spot is great!” says local outdoor enthusiast and avid kayaker Dereck Kisner. “It’s only about 10 feet deep so it doesn’t matter what time of year you decide to go kayaking here, you’ll always be able to touch ground. I also like that it’s right next to the jetty so you can easily climb up on it and fish if you’re interested in doing some surfcasting. Just bring a fishing pole! This place is awesome.”

Map & Directions: Bandon Beach is located at the very end of Bandon, Oregon. It’s pretty simple to find since it’s right next to the jetty. Once you’re there, just park anywhere along the beach and then start kayaking!

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe Livery

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe Livery

This is another great location that you might want to check out if you like kayaking. Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe Livery offers canoeing and kayaking tours, as well as stand up paddle boarding for those who haven’t tried it out before. This place is great for people of all ages and skill levels! Plus the staff here are always ready to help you with whatever you might need.

“I definitely recommend going kayaking here!” says adventure enthusiast and avid kayaker Kelsey Hickey. “You get to go out on the water with a bunch of great people from all over who love spending time outdoors. Plus, they do this cool thing where after you finish getting your rental equipment you can stand up paddleboard for fifteen minutes as a warm-up before you go kayaking. It’s really great and an excellent way to get the blood moving before going out on the water.”

Map & Directions: The Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe Livery is located about four miles east of downtown Bend, Oregon. From there you can park at their parking lot and then choose from a variety of kayak rentals that they have.

The Deschutes River

The Deschutes River

This is another one of Oregon’s most iconic rivers and there are few better spots for kayaking in the state than on the Deschutes River. The river itself spans from central Oregon all the way down to its confluence with the Columbia River, and passes through the Cascade Mountains. There are tons of great spots along this river for kayaking, and one of the most popular is just east of Bend near Sunriver.

“I enjoy going kayaking here because it’s a really nice place to spend time with friends,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Victoria Hands. “It’s a great place for novice kayakers to go because it’s not too fast-moving or difficult, but at the same time it’s still plenty fun. Plus there are lots of great little spots along here where you can stop and have a picnic or something.”

Map & Directions: The best spot on the Deschutes River for kayaking is east of Bend near Sunriver. Just make sure you pay attention to the different dams along this stretch of river and don’t try going over any of them if they’re closed!

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

This is a great spot for kayaking in the state, especially if you happen to be visiting Oregon from out of town. The park itself is located on the North Fork John Day River, which is a great spot for kayaking in its own right. There aren’t very many spots better than Roaring River State Park if you’re looking to get away from the crowds while still being able to enjoy some of Oregon’s best scenery.

“I love coming out here,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Samantha Scott. “There is so much to do here, even if you don’t like kayaking necessarily. The park itself has this awesome river walk that goes all the way down the river, which is just gorgeous! There’s also a lot of cool wildlife around here too, I saw a bald eagle flying right over my head the last time I was here! It’s really a great place to go.”

Map & Directions: Roaring River State Park can be found along the North Fork John Day River, about a half-hour south of Baker City. You can find their address and additional location information on their website at http://oregonstateparks.org/

Upper Clackamas River

Upper Clackamas River

Located near the Mount Hood National Forest, this is another great spot for kayaking in Oregon. There are a lot of different options for kayaking here, including rivers and lakes that you can go out on to kayak. One of the best spots for kayaking is on the Upper Clackamas River, which is one of the most popular rivers in Northwest Oregon. If you want to enjoy some great scenery along with your time out on the water, this is one of the best places in the state to do so.

“I love coming up here because it’s just so peaceful,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jenny Fields. “There’s not very many people around here, which is great if you’re looking to get away from it all for a while. Plus there are a lot of great views along the Upper Clackamas River stretch that you can take advantage of when going kayaking.”

Map & Directions: The Upper Clackamas River is one of the most scenic spots for kayaking in Oregon, and it’s only about a half-hour from Estacada. If you want to go kayaking here, make sure you park at the North Fork Park & Recreation Site parking lot and then paddle downstream from there.

Upper Klamath Lake

Upper Klamath Lake

One of the best spots for kayaking in Oregon is a place called Upper Klamath Lake. This lake spans about four miles wide and twelve miles long, making it a great place to go kayaking for a few days if you have the time to do so. There are tons of different types of wildlife that call this area home, and you’re likely to see a lot of different types of birds here that you don’t see very often.

“I love going out on the lake,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast William Wayne. “The scenery is just so beautiful, there’s nothing else like it in Oregon! The Upper Klamath Lake area really reminds me of home, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s become such a popular area for kayaking.”

Map & Directions: You can find this lake around the Upper Klamath Basin Recreation Area. If you’re planning on going kayaking here, make sure you stop by Riverside Kayak & Canoe Rentals to rent your equipment. They’re a little bit outside of the recreation area, but they’re one of the best kayak rentals in the state!

Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area

Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area

This is another great spot for kayaking in Oregon, especially if you enjoy being by yourself or with just a few other people on your trip out on the water. There are a ton of different people that go out on the water here, but it’s not overly crowded. So if you’re looking for a more peaceful kayaking experience, this is one of the best places in the state to do so.

“I love coming out to Joseph H. Stewart State Park,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Kevin Walker. “It’s nice and quiet out on the water here, and it’s easy to kayak through some of the most scenic areas in all of Oregon when you come out here.”

Map & Directions: You can find this spot for kayaking about an hour from Klamath Falls along Route 97. When going kayaking here, just make sure you don’t go out on the lake if there are any weather warnings about wind, as it can get a little breezy during the day.

Oswego Lake

Oswego Lake

This is one of the best spots for kayaking in Oregon, especially if you’re looking to kayak with your friends or family. This lake spans about 1100 acres, which means you’ll have plenty of room to go out on the water here. It’s also located just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, so you get a bit of best of both worlds here with some nice ocean views that are great for kayaking.

“I love coming out to Oswego Lake,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jessica Jones. “Not only is the lake itself beautiful and spacious, but there’s also tons of different wildlife that live here. It’s not uncommon to see deer, elk, and even bald eagles when you’re kayaking on the lake. That’s why I think this is one of the best spots for kayaking in Oregon.”

Map & Directions: If you want to go kayaking at Oswego Lake, just make sure you head to the boat launch area. This spot is located about four miles east of Lake Oswego, which is just south of Portland.

Molalla River

Molalla River

This is another great place for kayaking that’s definitely worth checking out this summer. The Molalla River has some absolutely beautiful areas to explore, and it will take you past some really beautiful waterfalls, lush forests, and even wildlife. You’ll definitely get to see some of the most beautiful areas in all of Oregon while kayaking here.

“When it comes to kayaking, this is one of my favorite areas,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jim Jones. “There’s just so much beauty out on the water here. There are tons of different waterfalls to see, and you can even see some wildlife wandering around on the riverbanks here. I think this is one of the best kayaking spots in Oregon.”

Map & Directions: You’ll find the Molalla River at Boat Ramp A1 or Boat Ramp B2, which are just off Highway 213 near the town of Eagle Creek.

White River Falls State Park

White River Falls State Park

If you’re looking for a great place to kayak in Oregon, look no further than White River Falls State Park. This state park is home to some beautiful waterfalls that are perfect for kayaking around. You can take your kayak out on the water here and get some great views of the waterfalls as they fall down into the White River.

“The view from my kayak as I was floating down this river was just amazing,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jim Jones. “I think White River Falls State Park is one of the best places to go kayaking in Oregon because there’s so many different views you can get of the waterfalls here. There’s just so much natural beauty here, and it makes for a great kayaking experience too.”

Map & Directions: If you want to go kayaking in White River Falls State Park, make sure you head to the Brosterhous Area at South Fork Picnic Area. This spot is pretty easy to get to, and you’ll have a blast kayaking here in no time.

Middle Fork John Day River

Middle Fork John Day River

The Middle Fork John Day River is definitely one of the best kayaking spots in Oregon because it has so much natural beauty surrounding it. You can go for miles without seeing another person when you’re on the water here, and there’s such a wide variety of wildlife living in the area too.

“The Middle Fork John Day River is one of my favorite places to kayak because it just goes on for miles and miles,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jessica Jones. “You’re able to just leave your cares behind when you’re out here, and it’s such a beautiful place for kayaking. You can even see some wildlife out here too, which I think is really cool.”

Map & Directions: If you want to go kayaking on the Middle Fork, just make sure you head to Longbow campground. This spot is located near the town of Prairie City in Eastern Oregon.

Middle Fork Willamette River

Middle Fork Willamette River

The Middle Fork Willamette River is a great place to go kayaking if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This river has some beautiful, serene areas where you can just lose yourself for hours. If you enjoy paddling around in your kayak or canoe, then this is definitely the spot for you.

“This river has some of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jessica Jones. “There are so many different places to explore, and you can even see some wildlife out here too. This is one of the best kayaking spots in Oregon because it’s just so peaceful, but there’s still so much natural beauty to see too.”

Map & Directions: You’ll find the Middle Fork Willamette River north of the town of Oakridge.

Molalla River-Boat Ramp A1

Molalla River-Boat Ramp A1

The Molalla River is one of the best kayaking spots in Oregon because it just has so much to offer kayakers. It’s got incredibly beautiful scenery out here, and you can go for miles without seeing another person when you’re on the water here.

“The Molalla River is one of my favorite places to kayak because it just goes on for miles and miles,” says avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Jim Jones. “You’re able to just lose yourself out here, and it’s such a beautiful place for kayaking. There’s so much natural beauty out here too, and I think this is one of the best places in Oregon to go kayaking.”

Map & Directions: If you want to go kayaking on the Molalla River, make sure you head to Boat Ramp A1. This spot is located just south of Oregon Highway 213, which is about 25 miles from the city of Canby.

Umpqua River-Roseburg

Umpqua River-Roseburg

The Umpqua River is a great place to go kayaking if you want some peace and quiet out on the water. If you enjoy paddling around in your kayak or canoe, then this is definitely one of the best places in Oregon for that kind of fun.

“I love the Umpqua River because you can go for miles and miles without seeing another person out here,” says avid kayaker Mary Smith. “The scenery is beautiful, and it’s just so peaceful. If you enjoy kayaking, then this is one of the best spots in Oregon to do that.”

Map & Directions: You’ll find the Umpqua River about 15 miles north of Roseburg.

Wallowa Lake State Park

Wallowa Lake State Park

Wallowa Lake is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon, and it’s a great place to go kayaking too. The scenery out here is absolutely stunning, and you can even paddle around this lake for hours without ever seeing another boat on the water.

“Wallowa Lake is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon, and I love to kayak here,” says avid kayaker Mary Smith. “It’s so peaceful out on the lake, and you can go for hours without seeing another person out here. If you enjoy kayaking, then this is definitely one of the best kayaking spots in Oregon.”

Map & Directions: Wallowa Lake State Park is located north of the town of Joseph and north of Oregon Highway 86.

Rogue River-Illinois River Confluence

Rogue River-Illinois River Confluence

The Rogue River is one of the best places to go kayaking in Oregon because it’s such a beautiful river with stunning scenery. The canyon in the river is also really stunning, and you’ll be in awe while out on the water here.

“I love kayaking down by the Rogue River because it’s so beautiful,” says avid kayaker Jessica Jones. “The scenery is amazing, and you get to see some really great wildlife too. If you love being outdoors, then this is definitely one of the best places to kayak in Oregon.”

Map & Directions: If you want to go kayaking down by the Rogue River, make sure you head to Dillard. This spot is located about 35 miles west of Grants Pass and near Illahee.

Conclusion

Now that you know about the best kayaking spots in Oregon, it’s time to get out there and explore! Whether you’re looking for a place to take your family or just want to enjoy some alone time on the water, these locations are perfect. So what are you waiting for? Find an adventure near Portland today!

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