Saint Helens, Oregon has an adventurous backstory that it still lives up to today. Lewis and Clark's expedition took them through the area in the early 1800s. Back then, its primary residents were Native Americans and it wasn't an actual town on any map. Eventually, the town was named after what gave it its beauty: the snow-capped peak of Washington’s famous volcano, Mount St. Helens.
Almost right on the Oregon-Washington border and only a quick drive south to Portland, Saint Helens is in the prime location for anyone wanting to rent a motorhome in Saint Helens and explore the Pacific Northwest. But the riverside town also has its own thriving community with plenty of nature to explore and lively "old town"-style downtown entertainment.
The Great Outdoors
Saint Helens is in Columbia County which follows the Columbia River for more than 60 miles. The flowing river provides a place for all kinds of water-related outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating, and sailing. A popular spot along the river is Scappoose Bay in Warren, an estuary with a calm, flat surface, perfect for paddleboarding, canoeing, or kayaking. You can even sign up for classes where an instructor teaches yoga on your stand-up paddleboard or fishing from your kayak.
For a family picnic area and a playground for the kids, visit Columbia View Park. Not only does it give you access to the river, but it also has a variety of floral plantings and a lovely gazebo. If you want BBQ grills, ball fields, and a Veterans Memorial to visit, drive over to McCormick Park. This park also has a skateboard rink, a BMX track, and various trails to hike. The Columbia Botanical Gardens also offers visitors a nature trail so green and decorated by wildflowers that you will be stopping for photos more often than hiking. Nearby Dalton Lake is of storybook beauty, with songbirds echoing from the surrounding woods.
South towards Vancouver and over a bridge is an island that you should most definitely bring your St. Helens camper rental over to explore. Previously only accessible by ferry, Sauvie Island now has a circa-1950 bridge that crosses a channel of the Willamette River near Portland and makes visiting the island a breeze.
The island consists of predominantly farmland and a wildlife refuge. With plentiful farms, nurseries, and gardens, you'll leave stocked with fresh fruits and veggies. A no-spray farm produces raw honey for purchase and a nearby lavender farm sells lavender teas, scones, or sachets of the wildflower. Activities for the kids include hay rides, cow trains, and mazes. Due to its flat topography, the island is loved by bicyclists. So leave your luxury RV rental near St. Helens and rent a bike for your island adventures. Afterwards, you can take your bike to downtown Saint Helens for dinner and bar-hopping.
But before you take off in search of dinner, you’ll need to figure out your lodging for the night. Bayport RV Park and Campground is your closest option in nearby Warren. The park does not offer hook-ups or a dump station, however there are fire pits, picnic tables, and river access. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, or stay on land and hike or bike the nature trail instead. Not far away, in Scappoose, is Scappoose RV Park. This site provides full hookups and a dump station. Fire pits and picnic tables are available for your enjoyment.
If you must have a river and all necessary amenities, you’ll have to make a loop around the Multnomah Channel to get to Island Cove RV Park in Portland. Located next to Sauvie Island, this RV park offers sandy beaches, natural wildlife, and a market with food, drinks, and RV supplies. RV hookups and a dump station are also available. Short stays are of course welcome as well, but book in advance because this popular parks can get booked many months in advance. While here, you’ll have the big city of Portland right nearby to explore.
Exploring the City
But before you head too far out of town, make sure you park your RV rental in St. Helens' scenic downtown and explore your local entertainment options. Have some pasta with the perfect wine pairing at one of the Italian restaurants right by the water, or for more casual fare, head to one of the taphouses for a brew and a shepherd's pie.
If shopping's something you like to do when vacationing, take your St. Helens travel trailer rental over to the 2Cs Vendor Mall. With over 50 vendors, you can spend hours looking through trinkets to take home. Keep an eye out for Twilight souvenirs if you're a fan, as St. Helen's is where some of the vampire movies were filmed. The Disney movie "Halloweentown" was filmed in Saint Helens too. Now the town is known as Halloweentown and celebrates a month-long Halloween-themed festival that is fun to attend.The town also has a Festival of the Fairies during the weekends in May. With storytelling, archery, and a giant wishing tree, it is a magical event that folks from nearby towns like Scappoose, OR and Ridgefield, WA love to come see.
Whether you want to follow in Lewis and Clark’s footsteps or have kids who loved the Twilight series or Halloweentown, Saint Helens is a great town to explore in your home on wheels. Book an RV in Columbia County and visit the town on your next vacation!