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The long, long RV trip, Week 22: Riverfront camping in Portland, OR; Hood River Fruit Loop

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Those who have been following along on this journey already know that whenever possible, I avoid commercial RV parks in my travels. But sometimes it’s necessary, depending on where I want to go and how long I want to stay there. Such was the case with Portland, Oregon. Little did I know when I started searching for camping in Portland, that I would find one of my all-time FAVORITE campgrounds.

Reeder Beach offers scenic Columbia riverfront camping in Portland (see photo above).  Well, not IN the city, although the address is still considered Portland, but on Sauvie Island, just outside of town.

It took me a while before I settled on Reeder Beach as my home base for Portland area explorations, including the Oregon Fruit Loop. I was also meeting my family, who are relocating to the Pacific Northwest and who were there to check out various areas.

La Uva Fortuna Farms
La Uva Fortuna Farms, Battle Ground, WA

I checked Harvest Hosts. There were some options but not as close as I would have liked.  I did stay at one, La Uva Fortuna Farms in Battle Ground, WA, on the day we drove parts of the Hood River Fruit Loop, as it was on the way. Our hosts were welcoming and hospitable and the vineyard and forest views made for a peaceful place to park at night.

We ended our day here, but not before enjoying a delicious wood-fired pizza dinner.  Unfortunately, the winery part of this operation shut down during the pandemic, but is starting production again this year. Nonetheless, other wines are offered along with the restaurant fare.

La Uva Fortuna is in the process of putting in more RV parking and will be offering spaces with electrical hookups next year, so if you’re on the road and visiting this area of Washington/Oregon, this spot is only going to get better. And it’s already pretty darn good.

Portland Camping at Reeder Beach Campground

Camping in Portland at Reeder Beach Campground

But back to choosing Reeder Beach as my overall Portland camping home base.

Since my Harvest Host options were limited, I went on Campendium to see what else was available.

Some of the Portland campgrounds were outrageously expensive. One that, according to the reviews and photos, was not much more than a tightly packed cement parking lot was $85 a night! YOWZA!

I briefly considered staying at a nudist campground that was more reasonably priced. I was down for it as long as I personally was able to exercise the “optional” part of “clothing optional.”

However, after reading their website it was clear they did not want people who were using their campground as just a home base, but rather those who wanted to participate in the community, activities, and lifestyle. Fair enough, but that wasn’t me.

Then I happened upon Reeder Beach. The reviews and the photos looked great. The price was also great, especially in comparison to other campgrounds in the area: $40 for a waterfront spot with a jaw-droppingly beautiful view of the river and the ships navigating it, or $35 for a back row campsite with the beach and water still easily accessible and nestled near and among huge shady trees like all of the camp.

Besides the views, one of the things I liked most about this campground was that it did not feel like a campground. Sure, it offered full hookups, but it was not originally built to be a campground, so it’s about as far from those overcrowded cement slab places as you can get.

camping in Portland, OR - view from Reeder Beach campground

To this day, Reeder Beach is a working farm. They just set aside a portion of it to build a campground.

Besides the green trees and the constant mesmerizing show of freighters, recreational boats, and even paddle-wheeler cruise ships traveling on the river, the benefits of RVing on a farm include free-range chicken and goose eggs, and in-season farm-fresh produce at the campground store. They also serve prepared sandwiches.

Reeder Beach campground is located on Sauvie Island, the largest island in the Columbia River and approximately 10 miles north of Portland. Situated at the junction of the Columbia River to the east, Willamette River to the south and Multnomah Channel to the west, the Sauvie Island’s northern half is a wildlife refuge and the southern half is predominantly rural farmland with small residential enclaves.

Drivable access to the island is via the Sauvie Island Bridge on Highway 30. Once you park your RV in the campground it’s easy to get around the area and even go into the city. Although there is not a lot in the way of restaurants and businesses on the island itself, there are a few.

I will definitely use Reeder Beach as a home base again, next time I visit Portland.

Sauvie Island Corn Maze

Once you get off the bridge, farms line a lot of the road to the campground, many with seasonal farm stands. In the fall when I was there, we also enjoyed pumpkin patches and a corn maze.

The Sauvie Island Corn Maze was a new experience for me. We did it near dark, although bright moonlight also helped light the night. It was terrific fun winding our way through the tall stalks of corn looking for clues and an exit from the elaborate maze.

Gales of laughter from other parts of the maze, and startled screams followed by laughter from the “haunted” corn maze next door, permeated the night air.



Hood River Fruit Loop

hood river fruit loop

My family and I spent the following day looking at towns and neighborhoods they were considering relocating to.

We set aside Sunday for driving at least part of the Hood River Fruit Loop, something my niece Tracy, an avid gardener, had been wanting to do for years.

A 35-mile self-guided driving tour of 27 farm stands, wineries, breweries, cideries, and fields of fresh flowers, the Hood River Fruit Loop is like a wine-tasting afternoon with farm-fresh produce thrown in for good measure.

Hood Rover Fruit Loop Brussels Sprouts
Me and some Brussels sprouts!

Many of the farms have stands and tasting rooms. Some have U-pick options as well. It all made for a fabulous relaxing Sunday afternoon surrounded by farms, rivers, mountains, and fresh Oregon air.

For a gardener like Tracy, it was heaven, and it was lots of fun for the rest of us too.

We enjoyed hot-from-the-fryer apple cider donuts, freshly picked apples and pears, and bought a HUGE tree of Brussels sprouts to cook up later.

Of course, if you visit the Fruit Loop at another time of year, you will have an entirely different experience with different produce.

I left my trailer behind at La Uva Fortuna Farms. However, some of the stands do have RV parking. Call ahead to check for accessibility. Find more information on the Hood River Fruit Loop here.

Next Week: Portland cannabis consumption lounge, a cautionary propane tale, fishing in Cottage Grove, and getting WAY off the grid on an Oregon mountaintop.

Previously in Cheri’s long, long RV trip:

##RVT1077

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Duane
1 month ago

@Cheri Sicard , don’t overlook State Parks for camping. I had a trip planned that passed through the Portland area. Milo McIver SP was $26 for a site. South of town about as far as your campground was northwest of town.

Jim Schrankel
1 month ago

Am really enjoying your travelogue! Thanks for sharing!