Beat the Heat: Splash Pads, Spray Parks and More

The annual summer heat wave has hit the Pacific Northwest and you are likely looking for ways to cool off while keeping the last days of summer break fun. Splash pads, waterparks, and nearby beaches are the way to go. Don’t let the high temps stop you from staying active and enjoying the outdoors. We’ve compiled some of the best places to go before the summer season starts to cool.

Splash Pads, Spray Parks & Interactive Fountains

If you don’t have time to get a break from the city splash pads, spray parks, and interactive fountains are the way to go. Portlanders don’t have far to go to get wet and wild. There are options for water play everywhere and they stay open during park hours. You can find a location near you on Portland Parks & Recreation website where they keep a list of the locations of fountains and splash pads.

Families can enjoy cool areas like Essex Park in the Mt. Scott/Arleta neighborhood, which features sprays toddlers can walk under and sprinklers older kids can run through. Jamison Square has a fountain that acts as a tidal pool with water cascading from rocks and a large wading pool. The options are endless.

Photo via Tyler B. on Yelp

Similarly, Seattle has no shortage of splash pads. From the famous International Fountain at Seattle Center where kids can run through streams of water launched into the air to the beat of music, to smaller and localized parks where little ones can wade for hours—there are plenty of family-friendly options.

For families living in the Spokane area, the city is home to 17 splash pads that are spread out across the city and open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Newer splash pads with interactive features can be found in Audubon Park, Glass Park, and Thornton Murphy Park. For a full list of places to cool off visit the Spokane City website.


There’s nothing like kicking back on a sandy beach on a hot, sunny day. The Pacific Northwest has an array amazing coastal towns that line its shores. Seaside, OR is about an hour drive away from Portland and has long stretches of beautiful beachfront. There is plenty of room for kids to run, splash, and build sand castles while parents relax. The town itself offers plenty to do with an arcade, ice cream shops, and a fun promenade.

Photo via Megan Hayes

Approximately three hours from both Portland and Seattle, Seabrook, WA is a lovely little town with beach access for hot afternoons and fun spots to eat, shop and swim in town. This location is perfect for a weekend or weeklong getaway. Get that last family vacation in before the first school bell of the year rings!

Plenty of lakes and rivers provide families with a place to kick back and enjoy some water play as well. Scout Lake is located near Sisters, OR and is warm enough to provide hours of swim time and cold enough to get your crew through sweltering afternoons. Walton Beach on Sauvie Island is another great spot to splash around, and when you are done with the water there are nearby farms and wild lands to enjoy.

When you’re out in the heat, make sure to stay hydrated and use these tips to help avoid dehydration.