5 FREE Activities to Do in Vancouver, WA

5 FREE Activities to Do in Vancouver, WA

Every time people ask me where I am from, they automatically assume I mean Vancouver, Canada which is the only Vancouver the entire world knows about except for those of us that actually live here.  LOL, It can get rather annoying when you’re traveling.

For those that don’t know, Vancouver, WA is kind of a suburb of Portland, Oregon. We cross the interstate bridge over the Columbia River and wa-la, we’re in Portland.

There are so many free activities to do in Vancouver, WA but these are the ones that stand out to me.


Esther Short Park

This is 5 acres and located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. There’s a watering area for kids to play in to cool off during the summer months. A gazebo area and lots of grass and trees which hold festivals year round. They even do a movie night in the park during the summer, which is free for all to enjoy.  There’s, of course, a playground for kids to run around and bathrooms if needed. And on the weekends, the farmer’s market is held right next to the playground on the roadway.

Little known Fact: Esther Short Park is the oldest public square in the state of Washington.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Fort Vancouver was a 19th-century fur trading post that was the headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Columbia Department. We used to go here on field trips in Elementary school. Not sure if they still do that though. It was cool seeing inside and exploring the grounds.

We actually just had a visit there recently. Didn’t go inside because it’s not open, but we went for a walk across the land bridge that connects the grounds to Columbia River which goes over the highway. I’ve lived here all my life and never really knew the history of this place in detail. It’s so neat to have something like this in close proximity.

Officer’s Row

Sits on 21 acres of land north of the Fort Vancouver Barracks Parade Grounds. You’ll find twenty-two fully-restored 19th-century homes. These homes are now used as offices and residences with several open to the public.  You’ll even find the General Ulysses S. Grant House as a restaurant! It’s cool to take a peek through history.

Vancouver Lake

I have many memories of Vancouver Lake as a child. I remember being able to be out in the middle of it and standing in some parts that were very shallow. I haven’t been out in it as an adult but maybe I will have to try someday when we get a boat.

It’s now a great place to have a picnic, windsurfing, and to play sand volleyball. I didn’t know this until I road out there on my bike one day, but they host many rowing competitions out there through the year. It’s pretty cool to watch. On clear days, you can catch views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Saint Helens.

I envision numerous bike rides down there this spring/summer since it’s only about 5 miles from my home.

Downtown Farmer’s Market

Everyone knows farmer’s markets are fun and unique. There’s always different shop vendors, food, and fresh veggies to be had. Although not free, some do give some samples to try to encourage you to buy. It is a nice way to spend an early afternoon day just browsing through the goodies then relax in the park with a bite to eat.

Hoped you love taking a peek into the city I call home. Let me know if you ever visit 🙂






  1. / 3:08 PM

    What some great things to do and I love they are free! The historical site sounds right up my street!

  2. / 8:05 PM

    So many beautiful places to explore there. The Farmer’s Market would be my favorite, for sure.

  3. / 6:50 AM

    Vancouver is on my list of places to visit! It looks wonderful to explore. I’ve never been to Canada and cannot wait!
    Katie Kinsley recently posted…FRIDAY FIVE | 13My Profile

  4. Danik
    / 11:12 AM

    There’s another Vancouver in the world? Did America copy the Canadian city or vis-versa? But by heck, I would love to hit up that farmers market first if I ever stop by.
    Danik recently posted…Refreshing stay at Prime Hotel, BeijingMy Profile

  5. Adaleta
    / 1:15 PM

    What fun little things to do! It seems like a lovely place 🙂

  6. / 2:26 PM

    All of those options look like they would make for a memorable visit. I’ve never been here before but it looks like I would love it!

  7. / 5:51 PM

    There are some pretty nice places to visit with great scenery in Vancouver, Washington. I would love to visit their farmer’s market. Looks like fun.

  8. ricci
    / 7:14 PM

    I’ve never been to Washington before but your pics are fantastic!! I need to put this on my list of places to visit!!

  9. uprunforlife
    / 9:05 PM

    I love free activites when I am traveling. I wasn’t fortunate enough to go to Canada with my family. I had gotten married and moved off. One day, I want to make the treck up there preferably when its not cold.

  10. / 4:42 AM

    I have never been to Washington, but this looks like a great place to visit. Maybe one day I can get there.

  11. / 5:22 AM

    Thanks for the list. We love exploring historical sites and if we get the chance to visit Vancouver someday, the fort and the Officer’s Row would be the first on our list, for sure.

  12. Oyinkan Ogunleye
    / 7:47 PM

    I’ve never visited Washington before but I definitely have an interest in seeing what it’s all about.

  13. Terri Beavers
    / 12:05 PM

    I’m interested in history and everything historic. I’ll have to check out these fun, free, activities the next time we’re in Vancouver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.