Splash Spots: The Best Places for Waterplay in Clark County

Splash Spots: The Best Places for Waterplay in Clark County

Adapted from 2020’s summertime “Waterplay Wednesday” posts on our social media, featuring the best cool-off splash-around spots in Clark County.

Klineline Pond at Salmon Creek Regional Park

1112 NE 117th St., Vancouver

A designated swimming section supervised by lifeguards 11 am-7 pm July through early September, plus free loaner life vests make Klineline a popular and safe summertime spot for little ones and their grownups. Fishing is also popular, with the season typically kicked off by Klineline Kids Fishing event each spring (2020 and 2021 events were cancelled due to COVID-19). The splashpad is tentatively scheduled to open in July. Meanwhile, the pond and its sandy beach, a reservable covered shelter, walking paths, and picnic tables are always open. Parking at the pond is $3 per day for most vehicles. Note: Clark County Public Health monitors area water quality and advisories may be in place. Find updates here. Note: paddle boards, rafts or pets are allowed at Klineline.

Lacamas Lake Regional Park

NE Everett St. and NW Lake Rd., Camas

A popular spot for swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking, this park has it all for fun in the sun: picnic tables, barbecue grills, playgrounds, walking trails, a picnic shelter (first come, first served), and of course Lacamas Lake itself, which is long and narrow with various inlets and spots for launching boats or hopping in feet first. Note: Clark County Public Health monitors area water quality and advisories may be in place. Find updates here.

Want to explore more? Find tips for hiking Lacamas Heritage Trail (part of Lacamas Lake Regional Park) here.

Battle Ground Lake

18002 NE 249th St., Battle Ground

Tall evergreen trees surround Battle Ground Lake, providing an idyllic Pacific Northwest environment for a summer day outside. A small sandy beach and picnic tables border a roped-off swimming area (no lifeguards), and fishing is popular along the loop trail bordering the lake. Bathrooms and a foot wash station are open, and loaner life vests are often available. For longer stays, Battle Ground Lake State Park does offer camping at sites a short walk away from the lake shore. Washington State Park Discover Passes are required to park vehicles at Battle Ground Lake: $10 per day or $30 for an annual pass. Note: Clark County Public Health monitors area water quality and advisories may be in place. Find updates here.

Want to explore more? Learn more about hiking the loop around Battle Ground Lake here.

Paradise Point State Park

33914 NW Paradise Park Rd., Ridgefield

Across I-5 from ilani Casino Resort, Paradise Point State Park offers easy access to a gentle, no-rapids section of the East Fork Lewis River. The park is a fun spot for a wide range of kiddos, with shallow river entrance, sandy beach and a small rock face for experienced swimmers to jump off. There’s no ignoring the loud freeway and bridge that directly border the park and riverfront, but the same bridge also provides plenty of shade. Picnic tables, grassy areas and vault toilets are on site, and the park also includes campsites for overnight stays. Washington State Park Discover Passes are required to park vehicles at Paradise Point: $10 per day or $30 for an annual pass.

Horseshoe Lake

Park Rd., Woodland

Horseshoe Lake, named for its perfect U-shape, is a northside favorite for families from all over Clark and Cowlitz Counties, with plenty of shade, a sandy beach and comfortable water. The park is 6.5 acres in total and the lake is open to swimming (no lifeguard on duty), fishing, and no-wake watercraft such as canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. Bathrooms and playgrounds are also on site. Note: For current water/algae safety conditions, go here.

Lewisville Park

26411 NE Lewisville Highway, Battle Ground

Clark County families have been making memories at Lewisville Park for generations—ever since the 159-acre park was developed in the 1930s. The East Fork Lewis River provides plenty of space for swimming, tubing, kayaking and more, with a shoreline that is sandy in some parts, rocky in others. Bathroom facilities, slow river current areas, loaner life vests and lots of shade and seating make the park comfortable for families. Sports fields, 13 picnic shelters, a basketball court, playgrounds, bike racks and several miles of gravel and paved trails make for all day fun for everyone. For added adventure, check out VFM editor Nikki Klock’s tips for a fun river float from Lewisville Park to Daybreak Park here. Parking at Lewisville is $3 per day for most vehicles, or $30 for an annual pass that also covers parking at Klineline, Frenchman’s Bar and Vancouver Lake.

Cottonwood Beach

Index St., Washougal

Each summer the shoreline of the Columbia River at Captain William Clark Park in Washougal reveals a special place that only exists for a few months out of the year: a long sandy beach, perfect for a day on the water with the whole family. The beach at the gateway to the Gorge isn’t exposed during the winter and spring months when river water levels are high, but families flock to the beach as soon as it appears. Bathrooms and foot washing stations, BBQ grills, picnic tables and two picnic shelters are open for use at the main park. Sand is plentiful but shade is scarce, so it’s best to bring an umbrella or canopy for long days. Parking at Cottonwood Beach is free. To add a family hike to your beach day, check out details for hiking or biking the trails throughout Captain William Clark Regional Park and Cottonwood Beach here.

Wintler Park

6400 Beach Dr., Vancouver

Wintler Park is the only City park in Vancouver with public water access, making it a very popular spot for cooling off in the Columbia River. Set on 12.5 acres of sandy beach, grassy areas and walking paths the beach offers beautiful views of Mt Hood on clear days. Restrooms are open April-October, and benches and picnic tables are on site. Be sure to arrive early on sunny weekend days—parking is scarce and strictly enforced. Fees are occasionally collected, $5 per vehicle.

Want some history of this special place? Go here to learn about the witty and relentless Ella Wintler, who was born and raised in Vancouver, taught school for 25 years, then served in the local legislature in the years just following women winning the right to vote. Her family is the namesake of Wintler Park.

Honorable mentions:

Frenchman’s Bar Park

9612 NW Lower River Rd, Vancouver: Sandy beach on the Columbia River, with playground, miles of paved paths and volleyball nets. Restrooms and sand rinse station on site. Parking: $3 for most vehicles.

Moulton Falls Regional Park

27781 NE Lucia Falls Rd, Yacolt: Located in rural northern Clark County with lots of shade, waterfalls and a bridge. Free parking and restrooms on site.

Water features at Vancouver Waterfront and Esther Short Park: Now open for summer!

Which family favorite splash spots would you add to this list? Comment below!

Nikki Klock became co-owner and editor of Vancouver Family Magazine in September 2006. She grew up mainly in the Northwest and graduated from Utah Valley University. She is an avid reader and insists that a book is (almost) always better than a movie. She has lived in Vancouver with her husband, JR, and two daughters since 2003. Check out Nikki's Editor’s Picks here.

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