If you're looking to get up early on a weekend or take just yourself or your family out mid-day for a cruise, but don't want to stray too far from home, there are several places that surround Hermiston that can make for a great day trip.
McNary Recreation areas, Umatilla
Surrounding the McNary Lock and Dam on the Columbia River's Oregon side are plenty of places for people to get away from it all.
McNary Beach Park and the Lewis and Clark Commemorative Trail along East U.S. Highway 730 are open from dusk-till-dawn and are a little more than 10 miles from Hermiston.
McNary Beach offers places to swim, eat a picnic lunch, take a long walk boat and fish, while the Lewis and Clark Commemorative Trail, hiking, horseback riding, camping opportunities with beautiful views of the Columbia River.
For more information, call 541-922-2268.
Irrigon and Umatilla Fish hatcheries, Irrigon
Eighteen miles west on U.S. Highway 730 and open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week, the Irrigon and Umatilla Fish hatcheries outside of Irrigon are unique places to go for a day.
The hatcheries are located at 74135 Riverview Lane and 73959 Riverview Lane respectively.
Both hatcheries have visitor's centers with information on the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge, but the main attraction is outside.
Adults and children can enjoy a chance to see the fish in the "raceways" outside, when they're ready to be on their own, and a viewing pond, where rainbow trout and sturgeon are located.
Signs surround areas, offering visitors a self-guided tour.
Kids and adults can also feed the fish in the viewing pond, paying 25 cents for a handful of fish food.
Those looking to do a little fishing can take a short walk behind the Irrigon hatchery, to a platform that offers a view of the Columbia River.
For more information, call the Irrigon Fish Hatchery at 541-922-2762.
Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, Irrigon
Located 18 miles from Hermiston off South highway 730, the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge surrounds the Irrigon and Umatilla Fish hatcheries with its dusk-till-dawn access on Patterson Ferry Road, outside of Irrigon.
Depending on the season, the refuge offers nature enthusiasts the chance to view a variety of wildlife and a quiet location to get away from it all on a daily basis.
For more information, call the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge office in Burbank, Wash., 509-546-8300.
City of Echo
Eight miles south of Hermiston on Highway 395, the City of Echo offers both historical and recreational opportunities.
Travelers can enjoy spending time in one of the city's two parks, George Park on Dupont Street, or Fort Henrietta Park, just past the U.S. Post Office on Main Street.
Both are open from dusk-till-dawn, with George Park having a covered lunch area and picnic tables close to Main Street. Fort Henrietta Park offers historical displays, access to the Umatilla River for river hikes, swimming and fishing.
Fort Henrieta is also right across from the Echo Skatepark for kids and adults to enjoy from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.
Travelers can also stop and enjoy lunch or a walk through the Oregon Trail Arboretum at 801 E Gerone St.
The aboretum is next to the Echo Schools football field and is open from dawn-till-dusk and is home to a variety of trees.
For more information, call Echo City Hall at 541-376-8436.