Cairns Adventures: Kayak Camping Women’s Weekend

About This Event

Join Kim McDonough and Beth Woolsey for a small group women’s weekend via the Willamette River in Oregon. Geared toward folks looking for a tranquil getaway in the beautiful outdoors, this trip will teach kayak camping basics — what to pack, how to plan, how to read a river map, where to sleep, and, most importantly, how to breathe deep and relax away from the bustle of regular life.

This is a perfect trip for people who like to camp and kayak but may not have much experience with either. We use sit-on-top kayaks for their ease of use — they’re extremely stable, nearly impossible to flip, easy to navigate, and can take quite a bit of gear.

SAMPLE SCHEDULE (subject to small changes)

Thursday, June 13 — Meet together at 2PM in Salem (location will be provided to participants) to prep and pack kayaks together. Shove off at 3PM. Short paddle (1 hr) to our paddle-in-only campsite where we’ll show you how to unpack gear, secure boats, and set up tents for a fun evening next to the river. We’ll cook dinner and dessert together over the campfire.

Friday, June 14 — After hot coffee (with cream and sugar if desired) and a continental breakfast, we’ll break camp and head back to the water. Shove off by 10:30am. We’ll spend the middle of the day paddling leisurely (and just floating when we want to), stopping for lunch, and eventually pulling out at a lovely local winery for the night. Paddle will take 4-5 hours depending on how much we float. We’ll set up camp together next to the vineyard, pick the wine we’d like for the evening, and gather together for dinner and watching the sun set behind the grapes.

Saturday, June 15 — After hot coffee (with cream and sugar again, because this is not a Suffering Trip ????) and a continental breakfast, we’ll break camp and pack up for our longest river day, paddling and floating 6-7 hours to eventually pull out near St. Paul around 6pm. Sunday is the perfect day to sit back, relax, chat, take photographs, and soak up the beautiful Oregon countryside from your kayak.

Here are a few more details you may find helpful…

FOOD: All food and beverage from Thursday dinner through Saturday lunch (including evening wine and snacks on the water) is provided for you.

EQUIPMENT: You may choose to either bring your own tent, mess kit (plate, bowl, flatware, mug), and kayaking gear (boat, paddle, PFD, dry bags, tie-downs, etc.) or we will provide those items for a fee; see two price choices based on your preference for procuring equipment.

WHAT TO BRING: A full packing list will be provided after registration, but the main pieces you need to plan on will be sleeping bag and pad, pillow, small camp chair or pad to sit on, clothes, and toiletries.

And, finally, FAIR WARNING: Last time Kim and Beth took this trip, it changed their lives. During two long, lovely days on the water, they decided they needed to create a space for EVERYONE to be able to relax and rejunivate. Five months later, they bought Cairns Farm with their partners, and the rest is history. ????



Come away with us. Rest. Play. Run free. Live out loud. Bring your people. We’d love to welcome you to our home.

Venue Highlights

Cairns Farm is a 9-acre private park and open space offering sanctuary, a place to gather, recreational activities, and educational opportunities in the middle of Oregon’s gorgeous wine country. Located just 15 miles from Portland and easily accessible via Interstate 5, our family-owned farm is the realization of a long-held dream to create an inclusive, welcoming space for all comers. We offer expansive places to picnic, roam, gather, play, learn, and breathe in clean, clear air as you rest in the shade of our Douglas Fir trees and ancient oaks or hang out in our barn shelter or on the decks overlooking the farm. Our 3-acre Wood is open and ready for laser tag and other recreational games, as well.

Cairns Farm is open by private appointment during daylight hours.


On site at Cairns Farm, we offer day retreats and day-use rental space for gatherings of every kind.

Off site, we host both “Cairns Farm Adventures” like guided kayak camping trips, Oregon Coast weekend retreats, and international adventures for youth and adults. For more information on our Adventures, please visit the Cairns Farm website at (contact info blocked).


Cairns Farm is just 15 miles from downtown Portland — a 40 minute drive from Portland International Airport — and easily accessible via Interstate 5.

Reviews     To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).

  • Sara Schaeffner   December 10, 2019

      Such a pleasure to {re}TREAT Myself at the Oregon Coast

    Care, friendship, peace, openness, pampering, freedom, acceptance, beauty, perspective, awareness - I got all these things and more during my few days with a remarkable group of ladies that I'm now proud to call friends. There's no pressure to be any particular way, or do any particular thing.This lovely retreat can be whatever you choose to make it.

  • Jenny Phillips Schroeder   November 13, 2019


    Everything was wonderful and unforgettable. Hats off to the organizers for fabulous food, top-notch accommodations, meaningful sessions, and enjoyable excursions. All this combined with new friends and a gorgeous setting made for an experience I hope to repeat again soon. Much love to the retreat crew!

  • Emily Chlumak   June 18, 2019

      The most enjoyable adventure!

    The co-owners and co-leaders of Cairns Farm adventures have a unique ability to ensure the experience is relaxing & joyful. I had never gone on a kayaking overnight trip. They were brilliantly prepared, the food was delicious and the company was warm, supportive and encouraging. I don't believe I would go on adventure like this, without it being a Cairns Farm adventure with amazing women leading it. I am so grateful for this experience!

  • Bethany Caruso   June 18, 2019

      A beautifully curated experience

    This trip was so enjoyable, and well planned. As a beginner, I felt comfortable on the river, with their expert instruction. The food was excellent, and the scenery priceless. Highly recommend this trip for anyone needing an escape into nature.

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