It is barely June, and we have already hit ninety degrees! Chances are you have already broken out your sprinkler or headed to a pool, but if you are looking for somewhere new to swim, float, paddle, or play, here are five ideas to keep your family cool on the hot summer days to come.

Outdoor Pools

Nothing says summer like an outdoor pool full of splashing and diving kids! Many of the pools around Portland are getting ready to open after being closed last year. The seven outdoor pools in the Portland Parks and Rec system will open on June 22nd, and Beaverton’s two outdoor pools will open on June 24th. Things will look a little different at these pools when they open, so keep that in mind. There will be mask guidelines, social distancing, cleaning protocols, and capacity limitations. Some pools will require a reservation, so check your pool’s website before going, maybe even a few days ahead, to make sure that you can reserve your spot. 

Indoor Pools

There are benefits to choosing an indoor pool on a hot day instead of an outdoor one. You will not have to watch for sunburns or fight for shade on the pool deck. There are also more indoor options to choose from in the Portland area. Our favorite is the Chehalem Aquatic Center in Newberg. It has so many fun features that fit every family member, from toddlers to teenagers. The Mt. Scott Community pool is another pool complex that is fun for the whole family. It is currently closed but will hopefully open on June 22nd along with the other Portland pools. The same restrictions may apply to indoor pools that apply to outdoor pools. Call ahead to make sure they are open and make a reservation if necessary. 

Splash Pads

Splash pads are a summer staple for our family, and we are so excited that they are opening after being closed all last summer. These fun interactive water features are already up and running in cities such as Sherwood and Wilsonville, and the ones in Portland will start operating again on June 11th. These play areas are wonderful because they are often attached to a park, which gives you two activities for your children. The water stays shallow enough that no lifeguards are necessary, making them a safer option for younger children. We have also never seen two splash pads that are exactly the same, so it is fun to try a few new ones each summer, and no one gets bored. 


We are lucky to have so many rivers running right through cities across the state. These provide a host of fun water-related activities, from boating on the Willamette to floating on the Deschutes. If you want to take your kids to the river to play, there are several parks with river access and even some with sandy beaches like George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego. Rivers are obviously more dangerous than a shallow splash pad, so if you are going to play in the river, have life jackets available and take other safety precautions. 

Your Own Backyard

It does not take much to have a fun afternoon playing with water in the backyard. If you already have a play pool, sprinkler, or slip and slide, you can set them up and get playing, but don’t stress if you do not and the store shelves are empty. You can play many games with something as simple as a bucket and a large sponge that will leave kids soaking. You can play toss the sponge, where you play catch with a waterlogged sponge, or fill the bucket, where you take turns racing a wet sponge from a full bucket to an empty one where you squeeze it out. Wet sponge dodge ball is another fun one and gets kids moving and soaking simultaneously. 

We are all searching for ways to cool down this summer. Luckily, there are many options when you want to play in the water with your family. Whether you want to try a new splash pad or pool, make sure to plan ahead, play safely, and do not forget the sunscreen!