Exploring Hood River, OR
In August 2020, we took a weekend trip to Hood River, Oregon to explore the natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge and try out some delicious food and drinks.
From Seattle, we took I-5 south to Vancouver, WA. We then took the I-205 to Washington Highway 14. Highway 14 is a beautiful, winding highway that hugs the riverfront to the south, and hillside to the east. For a faster route, you can also take the I-84 East which is situated along the river on the Oregon (south) side of the Gorge. Leaving early in the morning, we were able to avoid traffic, though we did stop along the way at Beacon Rock State Park for a hike. Hood River is only 60 miles from Portland, so it's an easy trip wherever you are in the region.
Hood River is a major hub for all types of outdoor recreation - hiking, mountain biking, camping, and water sports. It is one of the best areas in the Pacific Northwest for windsurfing/kite surfing and attracts athletes from all over the region. We were able to visit Beacon Rock State Park (WA) and the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail (OR) for great views of the water, forest, Cascade Mountains, and Columbia River Gorge. We enjoyed relaxing at Hood River Waterfront Park and watching the kite surfers throughout the day. We also toured a local winery - more about that below - to see vineyards, another important feature of the local landscape. There are plenty of great options for outdoor recreation, from a relaxing afternoon on the beach to high-intensity water sports, mountain biking, and hiking nearby.
Food and Drink
Oregon is filled with delicious and inexpensive food at great restaurants and cafes and Hood River did not disappoint. We were able to try delicious dishes, tasty beverages, all with waterfront or mountain views. Some of the places we visited were:
The tuna and avocado salad was delicious and their patio was beautiful with string lights and views of the Gorge
This ramen shop on the hillside in downtown Hood River has some amazing flavor choices for their fresh, beautiful soups. The fire fish ramen (with spicy, tempura salmon) was tangy, rich, and absolutely delicious.
I would highly recommend the charcuterie board if you come here. About half of the meats are made in house, served with house-made bread and crackers, the other ingredients are sourced from Olympia Provisions in Portland (all were delicious!)
A coffee shop and roastery right on the waterfront. There's nothing better than a warm cup of chai tea on a cool morning on the beach.
Who doesn't love a glass of wine with a view of Mt. Adams? The pinot gris was definitely our favorite so we took a bottle home with us. BONUS: enjoy a discount on your wine tasting fee when you purchase a bottle afterwards.
We love exploring all over the Pacific Northwest. Where should we head to next? Anything we missed in Hood River? Leave your ideas below.