The best kept secret of the Pacific Northwest is how beautiful the summers in this region are. While the area has been known for rain, locals know that the year-round temperate weather makes this one of the more desirable regions for enjoying the great outdoors. Whether your family is looking to enjoy a playground, get out for a strenuous hike or everything in between, Vancouver is able to offer a multiude of parks. While summer is always the ideal time to get outside, with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s and hardly a rainy day, the parks in this region can be enjoyed year-round.
Vancouver, WA is uniquely situated to have an amazing landscape of beautiful parks. There are multiple mountains for skiing, climbing and hiking within driving distance (Mount Adams on the Washington side, and Mount Hood across the stateline in Oregon). The ocean and coast are not too far away either – just a quick drive to see the waves and the sand! If you are looking to stay close to home, the Columbia River separates Vancouver from Portland. But before getting in your car. And then there are the parks right within our hometown. Below are some of our recommendations for the best parks you can find, as a Vancouver resident.
Best Parks for Exploring the Mountains:
- Mount St Helens in Gifford Pinchot National Forest: This park may be most famous for the volcano, known for a large eruption in the 1980’s. The silhouette of the volcano changed significantly that day, with the peak of the mountain now missing. But that is not the only attraction worth seeing in this park. From lava flows and caves to Spirit Lake, this park has a lot to offer.
- Trout Lake Guler Park: Looking to camp near Vancouver? Mount Adams is an underrated location in the Vancouver area. While tourists and locals like to flock to Mount Hood and St. Helens, those in the know prefer Mount Adams. Trails at Mount Adams are less crowded than those on the Oregon side of river, and offer a variety of different options for easy to hard hikes and climbs.
Best Park for Exploring the Coast:
- Cannon Beach: Want a fun day-trip from Vancouver? Look no further than Cannon Beach. A popular destination for Vancouver locals – this beach has everything you could want. From a stunning coastline to great restaurants and coffee shops to indulge before your trip home.
Where to Enjoy the Vancouver waterfront
- Wintler Beach Community Park: Located right on the shore of the Columbia River, this park offers beach access and community trails that can be enjoyed year-round. If you happen to go on a clear day, don’t miss the view of Mount Hood! This park is both kid and adult friendly and offers the only water access in Vancouver, WA.
Other Parks within the City
- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: For a non-traditional park experience, look no further than the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This park boasts beautiful gardens and a rich history. Explore the Fort Vancouver Barracks, to the Japanese Castaway’s memorial, to a playground. This park can offer kids both an educational experience and the opportunity to run around.
- Esther Short Park: Located in the heart of Vancouver, this park offers a vibrant community experience. From a playground to farmers markets and a rose garden. This park is easy to stop by as you run errands and go about your day.
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