Beat the Heat, Four Watery Local Holes for Swimming

All around the Heart of the Valley lies the closest natural source of respite you can hope for on a hot summer day – a swimming hole. Here are the ones we recommend. 

Avery Park 

Our first swimming hole of note sits along Marys River just behind the Parks and Rec office on the northwest side of Avery Park. While keeping an eye open for poison oak (yep, it’s out there), take the path to the left of the building for about 200 yards – or about 183 meters for the metric among us – and you’ll find a rocky outcropping with access to the river. There’s a rope swing, places to lie in the sun, and a plethora of deeps and shallows to play the day away. It can get crowded here, but a swim up or down river may get you away from others. 

Willamette Park 

Looking for a way to relax your waterway away? Head over to the south edge of Corvallis, at the end of Goodnight Ave., where you will find Willamette Park. From the parking lot, there are three trails that’ll take you down to the river. You can get a good two-to-three hours’ worth of floating in on the average day, with the occasional sandbar or beach for a break from the monotony of chilling out. Land at Michael’s Landing – behind the Old Spaghetti Factory – and you can Uber-it back to the car (or, you know, pre-arrange for a pickup from a friend). 

Pioneer Park (Brownsville) 

If rivers behind buildings aren’t your thing, then maybe you’ll like to take a hop-skip-and-a-30-minute-jump to the southeast across I-5 to Brownsville’s Pioneer Park. This place is a gem of a spot to rest your weary bod into the Calapooia under the trees.  

Foster Lake 

If you’re up for a little longer drive to start the soak, then you can stretch yourself out for a 45-minute trek along Hwy 34 through Lebanon, along Hwy 20 over to Lewis Creek Park where you’ll find Foster Lake. Bring a picnic because there are plenty of spots to sit down and eat, as well as a large, cordoned off swimming space protected from boats. 

Be Careful! 

Regardless of where you enter the waters of Oregon on a hot summer day, remember to be safe.  

Let someone know where you’re going. That way, if something goes wrong, they’ll know where to look. For that matter, bring your cell phone – most of them are waterproof these days. 

If the plan is to be out in the sun for hours on end, bring sunscreen. It’s all about not getting skin cancer. 

And, of course, if life vests are recommended, wear a life vest 

By Marissa Roberts 

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