If you’re looking for a nearby place with wide-open spaces, river views, and access to the water, Broughton Beach could be the ticket. Located just north of the airport and Marine Drive in NE Portland, it is a surprisingly great place to experience nature, too.
In addition to the wide, long sandy beach, there is easy river access for boat trailers, and our favorite amenity: trails that run the length of the river. There is a packed dirt trail that runs along the levy through beach grasses, cottonwoods, and wildflowers that is regularly visited by flocks of swallows chasing insects with their acrobatic maneuvers. We often see osprey hunting, too, and interesting species of ducks and other water birds. You might want to bring binoculars, if you have them, for the best views of all the action.
Along the top of the levy is a paved mixed-use trail for biking, running, rollerblading, etc. It is one of the highlights of the exciting 40-Mile Loop around Portland that is almost complete. Check out other highlights of it linked on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40-Mile_Loop.
The park is open from dawn to dusk, and our favorite times to visit are first thing in the morning and the evening. It can be very quiet, but just be ready for an occasional plane taking off or landing nearby, too. The airport is just far enough away that it isn’t too loud, but it is fun to watch them and wave.
The parking fee is $5/day, payable at the self-serve station by the beach, but we recommend you get a $40 annual pass if you’ll be able to visit enough. It is good for all the terrific Metro parks.
Enjoy and stay safe!