The weather is nice and warm, your kids are done with this year’s version of school, and summer is officially here.
But you’re still stuck inside, or if you’re outside, there are limited things to do (unless you really really like walking the same walk every morning and afternoon). With all the hoopla surrounding the state re-opening, there may be some added options coming, but for now this is the best we can hope for.
This website is a great tool to see what’s out there and actually open. If you had your heart set on swimming in a public pool this summer, that’s not happening, but there are plenty of other outdoor activities you can enjoy. If you’re looking to get in the water somewhere, the boat launches/docks are open; you’ll just need to arrange a boat if you haven’t already. Just make sure you stay at least six feet apart from those not in your family/group.
City gardens, disc golf areas, drinking fountains (REALLY?!) golf courses, picnic areas, and skate parks are all open to the public, so long as those making their way to these places adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The state of Oregon made restricted camping options available as of June 9th, and while most cabins and yurts are staying closed, tent camping is an option for those that like to get the full experience of nature when they spend the night in the woods. This link is a great way to find out if the area you want to go to is both open and has available spots. The great outdoors might just be the breath of fresh air we all need right now. Just make sure to bring your own water and supplies, many areas either do not offer or have kept public water service and restrooms shut down. And be good wherever you go; pick up and dispose of your waste and garbage properly.
Many public trails are now open, but be sure to check out this link first to make sure the area you’re interested in is in fact open for visitors. While you’re on any trail, make sure to practice social distancing for anyone not in your party. The goal is to let everyone enjoy the great outdoors and be comfortable in their personal space without worrying what others might be doing. Remember we’re all in this together—apart.
Oh, you didn’t think you could see a movie in public yet? Guess again. You won’t be going indoors—no, those days are not in front of us yet. However, you can still see one or two in your car. The 99W Drive In Theater in Newberg is now showing double features Thursday-Sunday, and this week is quite the event, as they are showing Shrek and Back To The Future Thursday Friday and Sunday nights. Saturday they will skip the movies and show a Garth Brooks concert that is already sold out. Tickets for the drive in are first come first serve, and they recommend you arrive at least 90min prior to showtime to get a spot, but please do not arrive any earlier than 6pm. First 200 cars through the gate get to see the movie(s).
The Oregon Zoo in Portland and Aquarium in Newport are still closed, but they may open again soon. The zoo will hopefully open sooner than the Aquarium, as it offers mostly outdoor areas and is a great attraction for locals and their young kids when the sun is out.
Shopping – Most malls and shopping centers are open on limited hours and with limited capacities, and masks are required for any public indoors spaces as of yesterday. So if you need to get some retail shopping done, make sure you understand and follow the rules.
Beaches – Most beaches are open to the public now, with strict rules on social distancing and masks are required unless you meet specific exceptions. Make sure to bring your own food, drinks, and hand-washing supplies, as public access to most of these items is not quite there yet, not on every corner like it once was anyway. While the sand and sea are yours to enjoy, many local shops and dining remain closed or on very strict hours or service levels. Make sure you know what to expect before taking a trip to just about anywhere these days.
While there are bound to be some unknown gems out there, for most of you, this is the list to stick to. Your local city or neighborhood might have some better options, and to find them it’s best to check out your city’s website or chamber of commerce to find out what businesses are open and what services are still available. Most indoor services like libraries and schools are closed, and parks might be open while play structures and most high contact areas are closed.
There’s adventure to be had out there, you just might have to do a little more planning, packing, and preparing than usual. Have fun, stay safe, wash your hands, and where required, wear a mask. Remember what Batman told us:”The mask is not for you. It’s to protect the people you care about.”
Casey Mabbott is a husband and parent first, and also an experienced and dedicated writer and researcher. Born and raised in the Portland area, when Casey is not spending time with his family gallivanting around Portland and the surrounding areas, he genuinely enjoys helping people (especially families) find the “hidden gems” in the Pacific Northwest. In today’s world of lightning fast information at our fingertips, it’s truly a wonder to stumble across a place, an experience, or an activity you’ve never heard of.