Life in Hood River, Oregon revolves around water and mountains. With the Columbia River bordering the city to the north and Mount Hood, a stratovolcano in the Cascades, to the south, the small city is a playground for people who like to be active outside year-round. The destination has all the hiking, biking, and skiing you could want, but it may be best known for a sport that’s a bit more niche: windsurfing. Thanks to the winds that funnel up the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River has been nicknamed the “windsurfing capital of the world,” and windsurfers and kiteboarders come from all over to play in the wind, especially between June and September. But travelers with other interests are sure to enjoy Hood River as well.
“Known as Portland’s backyard, Hood River is not just for skiers, mountain bikers, hikers, and kiteboarders, but also for art lovers, beer and wine enthusiasts, and foodies,” says Ashley Huckaby, a Hood River local and account manager with DVA Advertising & Public Relations who spoke with Travel + Leisure via email.
The rich, volcanic soil of Mount Hood make the Hood River Valley a paradise for farmers and locavores, too. This region is the largest producer of pears in the U.S., and local growers also produce award-winning apples, cherries, and grapes. The latter crop has made the Hood River Valley home to some of the best wineries in the Pacific Northwest, and locally made beer is just as prevalent. In fact, Huckaby notes that there are “more than 20 wineries, 13 cideries, and the most craft breweries per capita in the nation” here. Many can be visited by traveling the area’s iconic Hood River Fruit Loop (more on that below).
To help you explore this rich destination, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the Hood River community (which has a friendly population of under 10,000 people), including what to do, where to eat, and how to get around.
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