The Ultimate Portland Summer Bucket List


summer bucket list

Two things I love; summer and making lists. I don’t know if it’s the sense of accomplishment I get from checking an item off or that it gives me direction for my day/month/year but whatever it is, our family makes lists. We also love to be intentional, making sure we do things we value, not just sidetracked by the urgent, so making a list can be helpful. We value experiences, getting outside, a little adventure, and being together. So to prepare for a summer of fun we’ve made a summer bucket list, some in Portland and others in surrounding areas.

Berry pickingberry picking copy

This is a family experience. We usually take friends, make it fun (not just slave labor) and it’s delicious. My kids may or may not eat more berries than they pick. It’s definitely a family tradition. We love the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. Here is an extensive list of farms around the area.


Try our favorite Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Sauvie IslandForest Park or a Honey Bee Hike. Here is another PMB list of tried and true hikes with kids.

Music in the park

We love taking a picnic dinner and enjoying the free music in the park.

Watch a movie in the park

Nothing says summer quite like breaking the bedtime rules, staying up late, and watching a movie in the park with a hundred other people.

fountain at jamison parkGo play in a fountain on a hot day

This is an important one on our family’s bucket list. Here is a list of Portland fountains.

Bike rides

The Springwater Corridor is a 40 mile loop throughout the city and easy to ride along. If you’re up for a bigger adventure sign up for the Bridge Pedal or take part in the Sunday Parkways bike rides.


Our goal is to kayak around Ross Island but there are other great spots around the city as well.

Take a beach daybucket list

We love that the beautiful, rugged landscape of the Oregon Coast is only 90 minutes from Portland. Some of our favorite spots are Seaside, Cannon Beach and the quieter Manzanita. Family favorite activities include Haystack Rock for tide pooling, Hug Point, and Oswald West State Park to lounge for the day.

Plan a neighborhood event

We believe in helping create community in our neighborhood, being present and knowing those who live around us. Some of our favorite summer events include backyard movie nights, s’mores over the fire pit, and the National Night Out block party.

Go see a movie

Going to the theater for a movie is always a treat and Regal does $1 movies for their Summer Movie Express on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s throughout the summer.

Visit a Street Fair

There are many great street fairs in Portland. Full of fun and of course that wacky Portland culture we love so much, it’s a summer must-do.

trillium lake copySwimming

A hot day calls for a swim. We LOVE the free options at the public pools around Portland.


We live in an incredibly beautiful place and it’s easy to find great campgrounds. Our favorite is Timothy Lake, Gone Creek Campground or Trillium Lake.

Go get ice cream (at least once)

There are many great spots to get ice cream in Portland. One of our favorites is Cloud City. I’m also determined to say yes at least once this summer to the daily neighborhood ice cream truck!

Sign up for the library’s summer reading program

My daughter would read all day if I’d let her so this program is the best. It’s also great for kids who have a harder time wanting to read because they give incentives and prizes!

Visit Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens isn’t far from the city and has great hikes and history to learn about. A must-have PNW bucket list item!

Give back or volunteer

Showing kids the needs of others, and helping to meet those needs can be incredibly rewarding and life-altering. If you want to do something to give back, Hand On Greater Portland,  Lemon:Aid stand, and Refugee Care Collective are great options.

Go to the Zoo

We love the zoo! Check out cheaper prices on Second Tuesdays.

Experience the 4-T Trailoaks park ride 2 copy

The 4-T Trail is a fun way to experience public transportation and a great hike all within the city.

Paddle boarding

There are spots around Portland to do this but our favorite is to take a picnic and paddle around Trillium Lake or Timothy Lake. The kids are learning to paddle or sit on the board while we paddle them around.

Visit Oaks Amusement Park

My kids LOVE Oaks Park. You can skate on a cold day or have a thrilling spin on a hot day.

For even more ideas of what to do around Portland this summer, try these Free Outdoor Activities around Portland. If you’ve checked off all your bucket list items and find yourself in a slump, here’s another great list to break summer boredom.

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Jody grew up in a small town in Central Oregon, graduated from Oregon State University, traveled to Africa for three months and, upon returning, moved to Montana to be near her then fiancé. They lived in Bozeman, Montana for nine years working on the Montana State campus in full-time ministry. They now have lived in SE Portland for nearly eight years and work part-time with the same faith-based non-profit. She is also now a business owner and helps others find health and happiness through Plexus. She has been married for 16 years and they have two beautiful kids. Their 11 year-old daughter is a miracle biological child after years of infertility, and their son 7 is a miracle child through the gift of adoption. Jody loves living in beautiful Portland where flowers are always in bloom and there is always an adventure around the corner to be had. She loves Jesus, coffee, a good book, deep conversation with people she loves, being intentional to love those around her, hosting events in their backyard, sausage, beer, traveling, and being a wife and mom. The beach is her happy place. She also blogs occasionally at about motherhood and ministry.


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