Blaine + Bethany Photography
There aren’t many places you can travel to in the United States where you can experience life on the river, life in the mountains, and life among the orchards. As if by magic, the small town of Hood River, Oregon—population: 8,011—offers all three. Established in 1848 and originally known as Dog River, this river and mountain town nestled along the state’s northwest border offers an adventure for every type of weekend getaway.
Those looking for a fruity getaway will want to spend their days driving the Hood River Fruit Loop, which offers plenty of opportunities to sample fresh apples, pears and cherries from the grove. (Fun fact: Hood River County provides 50% of the world’s supply of Anjou pears and is America’s largest supplier of winter pears.) Prefer ready meals and drinks? Wineries and breweries abound, as do seasonally inspired gourmet restaurants. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of mountain hikes, waterfalls, and water activities (the Columbia River Gorge offers ideal conditions for wind and kitesurfing), and you don’t need to be an avid shopper to take advantage of the top quality, and often locally made, independent boutiques in town.
So if you’re looking for a great little town to visit this summer, you’ve come to the right place. Our Hood River, Oregon travel guide is packed with the best restaurants, shops, sights to see and more! Here are 21 ways to take advantage of the season to make the most of a hot summer day – or a full weekend! – in one of our favorite small towns.
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The 35 miles Hood River fruit loop meanders through an abundance of self-service apple, pear and cherry orchards. Plan to stop at draping for girls country farm, where you can also sample hard cider, shop in the self-service farm store (it works on the honor system!), and craft a bouquet from the wildflower field. Another must visit: Mount View Orchardsa 50 acre apple and pear farm.
Pistil Drawings specializes in outerwear accessories such as lightweight cotton-blend scarves, while rugged backpacks and duffel bags offered at alpine sea Co. (photo) are made directly in the store. Focused on fair trade Red Thread & Co. works with Ecuadorian artisans to make their brilliantly patterned blankets and pillows, and Chemistry Jewelry is popular for organic looking balls.
Come for lunch, cross the Hood River Bridge and the Washington State border to enjoy tasty smoked beet and grilled brie and gouda sandwiches at Nina Jimenez (pictured) and Jure Poberaj’s White Salmon Baking Co.
June marks the start of lavender season in Hood River. Collect a set of 10 different strains, or just pose for the perfect Instagram, on Lavender Valley Farm.
Mount Hood marks the highest point in Oregon. When summer comes, the nearby six miles Elk Meadows Trail crosses a forest of Douglas fir and flowery meadows.
Hood River Valley is full of wineries such as The White House of the Gorges (pictured), where you can sip heritage pear wine made with a Bosc grape grown on the property. To Hiyu Wine Farm, former French Laundry sommelier Nate Ready tends to over 80 varietals and curates dinners inspired by the seasons. Rather beer and cider? Add Ferment Brewing Co., Pfriemand Fox tail cider to your route.
While waterfalls abound in the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area, Multnomah Falls is a must visit. Towering at 620 feet – the highest in the state! – it flows over two levels of basalt cliffs and is best viewed from the bridge that runs directly through its center.
Located in the city center, the historic Hood River hotel welcoming visitors since 1888. Seven miles south of the luxury farmhouse Sakura Crest, the guests share the land with the grazing sheep. Across the river at White Salmon, Ruby June Inn has PNW charm in spades, and proximity Bingen company hotel also houses a spa and public baths.
Name your favorite small town!
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