We’re getting close to the warmer months, which means if you have a dog, they’re going to be excited to get out of the house once again now that the rain has stopped. There are so many things to do with your dog in the Pacific Northwest, but sometimes it’s hard to remember in the moment what there is to do. We made this guide of fun things to do with your dog this summer so that you can be prepared on the best of days to get out into the fresh air and do something together, with your best friend.
Summer is almost synonymous with beaches, and Oregon has some great ones for you and your canine to check out. Taking your dog to the beach can be as relaxing as laying out in the sun on a towel and enjoying the warmth. If you want to be more active, there’s so much room to run and play, and when you and your dog get too hot, you can take a break in the water to cool off. You’ve waited through enough rain for this perfect moment. Enjoy it!
The Oregon Coast is full of cute towns and miles of coastal beaches. Pick your favorite one (Cannon, Seaside, Lincoln City, etc) and spend the day with your dog enjoying the sun from the waves and dunes.
If you’re looking for beaches a bit closer to Portland, there’s no better place to check out than Sauvie Island. The northeastern tip has several beach areas that you can enjoy, but keep in mind it can get quite busy and traffic can be a hassle. Make sure to get there as early as possible so you can avoid the parking nightmare. And don’t forget to buy a parking pass before you get up to the beach area! You don’t want to get towed.
One of the most underrated parks in Portland is Kelley Point Park, which is a bit north of St. Johns. It’s surprising how few people know about it, but it’s a really great place to bring a dog for an afternoon. There are picnic tables, paved trails, lookouts, and beaches. It’s never crowded, so if you want to stay close to home and don’t want to deal with traffic, Kelley Point is the ideal place to go.
With hot weather just around the corner, it’s extremely important to know how to keep your dog cool and calm in the heat. Average summer temperatures have been on the rise recently, so what seems like a normal day at first could turn into a scorcher. We've kept our list to only outdoor dog activities, so make sure that you’re taking the necessary precautions to keep your dog safe.
Portland is full of amazing parks just like Kelley Point that are completely open to the public and dog-friendly. Stay close to home and enjoy the urban greenery of some of our best parks.
In the heart of Washington Park lies Hoyt Arboretum. Wander the trails with your dog for free and enjoy the dappled sunlight through the tree canopies. Hoyt also has large open green space that you can use for a nice resting place as you overlook the city from a sliver of secluded nature. It’s attached to Forest Park, so if you want to go on a short hike, you can easily just follow the Wildwood trail north to get to the first trail marker.
Mount Tabor is a dormant volcano right in the middle of NE Portland and it’s a fantastic place to go for a walk with your dog. There are some open spaces where you can play catch or throw a frisbee, but the best part is the long walk up the road that spirals up the dome. When you reach the top, there’s a wooded area with some benches and a great view of the city.
If you’re looking for something closer to the river, Sellwood Riverfront Park is the way to go. It’s a 7.6 acre city park that’s attached to the Oaks Amusement Park and the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. There’s an off-leash dog area so your dog can run around as much as their heart desires. The park also has access to the Willamette River so you and your canine can cool off in the river if it gets too hot.
Looking to get a little more exercise? Hiking with a dog can be a lot of fun, so if you have a car and you can get out to some of the nearby state parks, you’ll have a blast stretching your legs in nature. We’ve included a few hiking location ideas and ranked them by difficulty so you can better anticipate what kind of adventure it will be.
The Sandy River Delta/Thousand Acres Park is Fido’s dream come true. It boasts 1,400 acres of open, off-leash field that your dog will never get bored of. It has everything: walking trails, hiking trails, biking trails, waterfront beaches, wooded areas, and open fields. It’s also the place to go if you have a dog, so you can be sure that your canine best buddy will make new friends no matter what day you go.
Just under 2hrs east along the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge is a chunk of high desert full of trails and beautiful natural scenery. Catherine Creek is a wide open prairie with a slight incline and incredible views. It’s also a favorite for wildflower lovers because there’s always something amazing blooming; check out the wildflower search to find out exactly what you can expect to see and where. Since it is wide open high desert land, make sure you get there early so you can avoid the afternoon heat. If you are there during high midday temperatures, there are some nice shaded areas where you can take a break and cool off.
Something with “dog” in its name has to be great for your four-legged friend, right? In this case, yes! Dog Mountain is an amazing hike in the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Cascade Locks on the Washington side. It’s a challenging and strenuous hike that takes a couple hours to summit, and the inclines are nothing to laugh about. But once you get to the top, you’ll be glad you went; the views of the gorge are incredible and unmatched by anything in the area. The summit is a great place to take a break and eat lunch before heading back down. Don’t forget to get a permit before parking and hitting the trail.
Picture this: you’re on the road, headed somewhere dog-friendly and fun, it’s sunny out, and your dog is sticking their head out of your window. This is the perfect summer road trip. A road trip with a dog can lead to anywhere—a hiking trail, a mountain, a state park—but maybe you want something a little different. Like a new town to wander around in together.
Bend is a ways from Portland, but it’s a wonderful place to hike the wilderness, go on casual walks, or explore the town itself. Bend is full of dog-friendly places like off-leash areas, events, and restaurants. They even have a web page devoted to everything you can do with your dog in the area!
If you’re not ready for a 3 hour road trip, try going somewhere a little closer like Eugene. Eugene has hundreds of miles of running and walking trails and it’s not uncommon to see dogs playing and walking off-leash near their humans. The city also has a slew of dog-friendly restaurants and hotels if you’re planning to stay for a while. It’s a bit quieter than Portland, but there’s still is a lot to do with Fido.
If you love hiking in the wilderness and you want to take it one step further, consider going camping or backpacking with your dog. You can basically go camping anywhere where you can go hiking (just make sure you get a permit), but why not combine your love of road trips and hiking into a multi-day excursion in Oregon’s beloved natural areas?
About 4.5 hours south of Portland lies Crater Lake, Oregon’s deepest lake. Experience the pristine natural area teeming with trails to explore. All of the snow should be melted by summertime, which will give you an incredible place to set up camp with your canine and appreciate the view without fighting for warmth.
Another Oregon wonder that you can enjoy while camping with your dog is the Painted Hills, which take about 4 hours to get to. Just like Crater Lake, the Painted Hills are ideal for a camping trip because they’re so far away, it’s hard to get the most out of your trip without staying over. Once camp is set up, you and your pup can watch the sunset and sunrise over the colored hills and experience the true beauty of eastern Oregon’s ancient fossil beds.
Surprisingly, the shortest trip on here is the only one in a different state: Washington. Olympic National Park is a fantastic place to visit during the summer because the tree canopy cover is sure to keep the temperatures down while you’re hiking and camping with your dog. The natural area is only 3 hours north of Portland and there are entrances all around the park so you can choose your terrain adventure. The 101 goes along the edge of the forest, so you can enjoy the winding roads of densely forested Washington on your way in and out of the park. Don’t forget to stop by one of the many beaches along the state’s west coast!
Of course, if you’re not really in the mood to go far, or leave the house, you can always spend some quality time with Fido in your backyard. Depending on how much space you have, there are so many backyard activities for dogs to choose from, so just make sure you stock up on some great warm-weather toys
Pitch a hammock in the shade and read while cuddling with your furry friend. Don’t worry if you both doze off, that’s the great thing about relaxing in a hammock in the summer. Just remember to wear sunscreen so you don’t wake up with a burn!
You can always resort to playing a classic game of catch with your dog during a sunny summer day. Grab a tennis ball, baseball, frisbee, stick; really anything you throw will go over well with an energized canine.
Need something before going on a summer adventure with your dog? Browse our huge selection of pet gear online or stop by our store in Beaverton. Stock up on treats, food, dog activity toys, and other pet products. We want to make sure that you have everything you need to keep your dog happy, healthy, and safe during every activity.
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Dogs are truly exceptional creatures who have saved lives, advanced science, and generally been all round awesome. In fact, such is the contribution of dogs to the success of humankind that we are minded to propose a canine Mount Rushmore dedicated to the hound heroes of history. It’s a crowded field since there have been many, many brilliant dogs, but if there were to be a Mount Barkmore - and we think there should be! - these are the four furry faces we would most like to see carved thereon. Woof!