See the city and region from the water on Portland boat tours that traverse the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Options include leisurely cruises and rip-roaring jet boats.
Portland boat tours
Tours onboard the Portland Spirit let guests soak in the sights of the Portland cityscape along the Willamette River while a veteran sea captain narrates the trip. Portland Spirit tours include downtown sightseeing cruises serving brunch, lunch or dinner; Early Escape Concert Cruises with a live local band every Thursday afternoon, July-September; a Flashback Dance Cruise every Saturday night; and holiday and other special event cruises. The Portland Spirit’s sister ship, the Explorer, provides high-speed river tours of 10 famous Portland bridges, from the St. Johns to the Sellwood Bridge.
For a thrilling ride, Willamette Jet Boats will show all the sights, with an open-cabin, 130-person boat that gives passengers a distinct view of Bridgetown. The two-hour tour departs from the dock near OMSI and takes passengers past downtown bridges, wildlife and houseboats on the way to majestic Willamette Falls. The one-hour tour heads north to show off the city’s shipyards, waterfront and more bridges. Offered Tuesdays only, the Columbia River & Lunch tour explores the mighty Columbia with a stop for lunch at a floating restaurant.
Want to work — and drink — while you cruise? BrewBarge’s human-powered paddle boats seat up to 14 people for 1.5-hour tours down the Willamette River from Riverplace Marina in downtown Portland. The trips are BYOB, but beer is available for purchase at the BrewStop, where you’ll check in for the tour.
Columbia River Gorge boat tours
The Portland Spirit’s Explorer offers the scenic Heart of the Gorge Exploration, a 120-mile journey that takes you from downtown Portland, through the port of Portland, into the epic Columbia River Gorge and through the locks at Bonneville Dam, with a stop for lunch in Cascade Locks.
Also under the Portland Spirit umbrella, the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler provides dinner, brunch and sightseeing tours departing from Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge. From the triple-deck paddle-wheel vessel, you can check out sights like the Bridge of the Gods, Bonneville Dam, native American fishing platforms, windsurfers and kiteboarders.