Hood River is known for its wind-loving super athletes, craft breweries, epic Columbia River and Cascade Mountain views, but what Portland families need to know, is that it makes for a next-level location for a family getaway. From gorgeous U-Pick orchards with wineries to sprawling farms, magical museums, and more, there’s more to do and see than your crew can fit into a weekend. Spring, summer, winter and fall, we’ve put together an epic Hood River family vacation itinerary with where to stay, go and play when you need to get away.
Hood River offers families breathtaking views of the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains. Finding a place that lets you take in the surrounding landscape from the comfort of your room is a must, and Hood River Hampton Inn & Suites does not disappoint. Right off I-84, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, this hotel is just five minutes from central Hood River and within a mile of waterfront restaurants, bars and parks. Hood River Hampton Inn & Suites features well-appointed rooms that are pet-friendly and have plenty of room for everyone.
Some of the perks your family will enjoy when they stay at Hood River Hampton Inn are a free breakfast served every morning, a fitness center, indoor pool, and whirlpool to relax in after a long day.
There is a walking path outside of the hotel that takes visitors over the river and to the Hood River Museum. Also nearby, Mount Hood Railroad awaits families just a half-mile away. The walkability this hotel provides is a huge bonus for families with children who have happy, but busy feet.
Visitors can choose from standard rooms or roomy suites featuring a single king or double queen beds. Rooms start around $152/night.
Farms & Orchards
There is an endless number of activities for your crew to enjoy while visiting Hood River regardless of the time of year or the weather you encounter while there. For families looking to take in the area's beautiful outdoors, nearby farms and orchards are a must-experience option to add to your family getaway itinerary.
Just a 25 minute drive away, Mt. View Orchards is a 50-acre apple and pear farm nestled just north of Mt. Hood in the quaint town of Parkdale, Oregon. During the U-Pick season, this gorgeous spot is home to trees that hang heavy with every kind of apple and pear you can think of. You can wander up and down the rows of Gala, Granny Smiths, Fujis, Anjous and other's you've likely never heard of, choosing perfectly ripe fruit to take home. When the little ones get squirrely, let them play in the on-site playground or head across the way to the orchard's sister site Grateful Vinyard, which features a sweeping lawn with jaw-dropping views of the Mountain. You can order pizza and have a picnic before returning to town.
Packer Orchards Farm is another nearby spot you'll want to visit during the spring, summer and fall months through the end of November. From U-Pick fruit opportunities to a petting zoo and play area, this Farm offers visiting families a day full of play. But that's not all, they have a bakery full of their very own homegrown goodies you'll want to eat on site and fill your pantry with at home.
Insider Tip: If you plan to visit Packer Orchards in Fall, make sure to plan your stay over their fall festival. It's a huge event that features a haunted corn maze, pumpkin bowling, a bouncy house and more.
Museums & More
The fact that you can pepper in a good amount of education while you are having fun with your kiddos in Hood River is sure to be a bonus for Portland families. Hood River has awesome museums that will thrill young automobile and airplane lovers and give the whole family an opportunity to learn about the area's rich history.
The Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) is full of thrills and has one of the largest collections of still-flying antique aeroplanes and still-driving antique automobiles in the country. The items on display at this museum are full of history, so much so that every member of your family is sure to learn something new while there. Visitors enjoy an extensive collection of antique aircrafts and over 130 cars in the collection. While there, you might even get the chance to catch a ride in one of the exhibits. Insider Tip: Plan ahead because on the second Saturday of the month, WAAAM has volunteers fly and drive the artifacts for visitors' enjoyment.
Just a short stroll from your hotel, Hood River History Museum awaits! Your kids will love the paddle wheel of the steamboat "Henderson" that is prominently displayed outside the Museum. Your family's imagination will be sparked by engaging exhibits, that include Indigenous culture, pioneer settlers, timber and logging, agriculture, recreation, the Hood River Japanese American Story, and the Luhr Jensen & Sons: Where Legends Were Made story.
If you are feeling adventurous, check out the Mt. Hood Railroad and experience one of its themed excursions. During the winter months, you'll want to board their Christmas train right where you are sure to experience the magic of the season. And if you just want to let your kiddos run free while you enjoy the beauty of the waterfront area, Hood River has some impressive playgrounds including the Children’s Park at 9th and Eugene and Waterfront Park on the river. The Children’s Park is a fortress of wood with twists and turns, turrets and tire swings, sand and slides. Imaginations will run wild. Waterfront Park rocks all kinds of cool climbing, spinning and general smile-inducing joy with a heart-stoppingly-gorgeous backdrop.
With all of the activity, you'll fill your play days in Hood River with, you'll need to fuel the family right. Portland families are used to the elevated food scene that their home base is known for, but Hood River does an excellent job of holding its own with incredible restaurants and eateries.
Mt. View Orchards and Grateful Vineyards offer far more than a U-Pick experience. While you can enjoy pizza with the kids outside, Grateful Vineyard's tasting room has a gorgeous indoor/outdoor venue that offers food and flight pairings you won't soon forget. If you are on a family trip and have older kids or someone who can sit younger kids this spot is highly recommended for a romantic night out. All of the food is seasonal, regional and impeccably prepared. Paired with a stunning view of the sun setting on the mountain, this spot offers an experience you'll want to relive again and again.
If you find yourself strolling in downtown Hood River, you'll definitely want to stop at Mike’s Ice Cream. This beloved spot may be seasonal (closing after Halloween) but during the warmer months it has the best cones in town! Later in the evening, grab a nightcap at Hood River Common House a wine and bottle shop with excellent sips and a cozy atmosphere. Insider tip: You can enjoy a glass of wine while the kids get messy with a double scoop at the outdoor seating located between the two shops.
If you want a meal to bring back to the room or bites for a picnic lunch in the park, stop by Boda’s Kitchen a gourmet delicatessen, market and catering company that is passionate about using high quality, seasonal ingredients sourced locally when possible. You'll feel good about noshing on their sandwiches and salads while watching the kids run and play.
For breakfast, there's simply no better place to dine than Broder Øst. This restaurant has a gorgeous atmosphere, and some of the most friendly service you'll find in Hood River. And while that in itself makes this restaurant worth mentioning, the food is incredible. Broder Øst sources local resources to bring Scandinavian flavors and baked goods to your breakfast experience. Your family will enjoy menu items that include seasonal fritters, baked egg skillets, and Danish pancakes. that are all delicious and served up beautifully on your plate.
Finally, a trip to Hood River just wouldn't be complete without a stop at pFriem Family Brewers. Located on the waterfront, this brewery has become a bit of an iconic spot for visitors for a good reason. Pfriem Family Brewers was founded in 2012 and has become one of the most well-regarded breweries in the Northwest since. Its beers are influenced by the best of German, Belgian, and Northwest brewers and the restaurant's menu includes items like clams, muscles, an array of delicious burgers, and a brat plate to die for.
Only an hour's drive from Portland, Hood River offers families a quick weekend (or weeklong) getaway option that can be repeated year-round. Whether your crew loves the great outdoors, cultural delights or adventurous excursions, there's something for everyone to enjoy and you are guaranteed a family experience that won't soon be forgotten.
Editor’s note: Travel expenses were paid for by Visit Hood River but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.