Small but mighty, the town of Hood River is idyllically situated along the Columbia River and offers outdoor fun for the entire family. In 2015, Sunset Magazine awarded Hood River as the “Best Adventure Town” and it is easy to see why. Hood River has it all – wine tasting, water sports, mountain biking, hiking trails, scenic views, breweries, spas, and so much more!
We had 72 hours in this awesome little town. Below is a list of our favorite spots and activities. This guide is entirely family-friendly, as we never leave the kids behind!
There are SO many trails to choose from in the Columbia River Gorge region. If you’ve never experienced the lushness of the PNW before, you are in for a real treat. Greenery, everywhere. Waterfalls, everywhere. Spectacular views, everywhere. The scenery is absolutely mind-blowing and it is still one of my favorite regions to this day.
Latourell Falls (3 miles, Loop, 728 ft. elevation gain)
Little effort, high rewards. You get not one, but TWO waterfalls in this 3-mile loop. The region is so lush and green, it was an absolute pleasure strolling along this trail. You can get up close and personal to both waterfalls which makes for great photo ops. There is some elevation gain (728 ft), but my 4-year-old had no problem completing the loop on her own two feet.
An absolute PNW classic. Multnomah Falls is very popular and it gets extremely busy. I recommend making it your first stop of the day and arriving in the early morning to guarantee a parking spot. We didn’t hike the entire trail, but we did hike up to the bridge to appreciate its awe-inspiring greatness.
Tom McCall Point (4.8 miles, Out and Back, 1309 ft. elevation gain)
This hike took me by surprise. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did! We went during peak bloom season (middle of May) and the wildflowers were abundant! The popping purple hues of lupine, the vibrant yellows of arrowleaf basalmroot, and the radiant reds of Indian paintbrush blanketed the surrounding grasslands. And not only that, but the views during the entire climb were so impressive! From up above, you will see the gorge and the Columbia River while across the way is Mt. Adams. Along the backside, you will see Mt. Hood as well. Truly a 360° experience. Be prepared for a good workout. This trail is 4.8 miles long and 1309 ft. in elevation gain – but oh-so worth it.
The wine in this region is good. Period. Good wine paired with stunning mountain views, you can’t go wrong. Before our trip, I tried to find the most kid-friendly spots. These two wineries were both very welcoming and they did not disappoint!
Marchesi Vineyards & Winery
Marchesi was phenomenal! The staff made my family feel so welcome and they went above and beyond to make the kids feel at home. We loved sipping our wine while the children frolicked in the vineyards. Overall, it was a 5-star experience!
Smiles all around!
Phelps Creek Tasting Room
Not as incredible as Marchesi, but still a great little spot! The woman who served us was very friendly and we loved the outdoor space. They had a couple of picnic tables that were perfect for the children to spread out and enjoy their coloring books. The wine was alright and the location is a bit noisy with it being close to the highway, but we really appreciated the good service and cozy atmosphere.
pFriem had great service, beer, and food! It’s worth a visit!
Ferment Brewing Company
This was a fun location. We loved the open layout and the communal fire pits. The beer and food was good as well!
Great Coffee. Great Service. It quickly became our favorite spot to grab a cappuccino before heading out on the day’s adventure!
Solstice Wood Fire Pizza
The pizza here was tasty! That’s all we ordered, so I don’t have much else to say except for that it was delicious and worth the hype.
Mike’s Ice Cream
Maybe this place is a bit overrated? But it was still a fun spot to treat yourself to a scoop of ice cream!
A word of warning, they only accept cash or check and they do offer IOUs for those who only have credit card (which I find very interesting and trusting!). There is a cute little tree house for the kids to play on while you wait in the (very long) line for ice cream.
Fun Around Town
Hood River Waterfront Park
We loved this spot. As the name indicates, the park is located on the waterfront. There is a small cove for people to swim and splash about on a hot day. You can also stroll along the river or let your kids play at the playground. If you feel the need to refuel from all the fun, breweries, coffee, and restaurants are right across the street!
This wonderful playground is nestled in quiet neighborhood that’s walking distance from downtown Hood River.