Vacation doesn’t mean that you have to spend tons of money to have fun. In fact, sometimes the best things to do are completely free. You can get outside, become one with nature, see the scenery, and spend quality time with your loved ones. And we think that Hood River in the Pacific Northwest is the perfect place to do just that.

Hood River in Oregon is near plenty of natural attractions such as the Columbia River Gorge, snow-capped Mt. Hood, Horsetail Falls waterfall, plus lavender farms, cute cafes, cheap restaurants, and much more. Keep reading to see the best things to do in Hood River worth adding to your itinerary that won’t cost you thousands for a fun and exciting time.

Hit the Trails

Arguably, the best thing to do in Hood River and the entire state of Oregon for free is to go hiking. Whether you’re a beginner walker or you have experience tackling mountains, there is something for everyone here in the PNW. Hood River offers tons of spots to go hiking, like the Columbia River Gorge, cascading waterfalls, Lost Lake, and Hood River Mountain.

For those who want to see breathtaking waterfalls and a shaded trail, we recommend going to the west of Hood River along the Historic Columbia River Highway. If you are more interested in flowing mountain peaks, head to the south towards the Hood River Valley. For those keen on alpine environments and a more challenging hike, head north towards Mt. Adams.

If you are a person with moderate fitness who wants to see spring wildflowers, breathtaking views, and far-reaching vistas, Coyote Wall Trail is the best bang for your buck. Coming in at just 6.2 miles and 2,050 elevation gain, this isn’t anything to laugh at, but it isn’t a full-day trek. You Can complete this trek in 2-3 hours depending on your pace, and the views are unbelievable.

For beginners who want to spend time with their kids and teach them how to hike, we think that the Memaloose Hills is the best place to do so. This trail is just 2.8 miles long, which can take 1-2 hours, and offers 600 feet of elevation gain. This lollipop trail is a moderate path that is great for families and dogs. Since it is just 10 minutes from Hood River, you can get here in no time at all.

Interested in something a little more challenging? Well, if 3,000+ feet of elevation gain seems right up your alley, then you will love the fitness-inducing hike of Dog Mountain. People often do this hike to see how fast they can get to the top or even run to the park! But we don’t blame them — the views over the Gorge and Hood River are incredible. This week is 6.5 miles and is considered difficult for most hikers.

Lastly, for waterfall lovers, Dry Creek Falls is a fun trek to do with kids or older adults when you want an easy path. This 4.4-mile hike offers just 885 feet of elevation gain and an out-and-back trail, so you won’t get lost. We love ending the trek at the waterfalls and sitting to have a nice picnic lunch under the shade.

Visit the Hood River Lavender Farms

The Hood River Lavender Farms has been a local staple since it opened its doors in 2003 to the public. As soon as you drive or step foot onto other property, smell the lavender, view the wildflowers, and see this now-capped Hood in the background, you may never want to leave.

This locally owned and organic farm offers 100% distilled essential oil for you to buy if you want a cheap gift to bring back home. The gift shop offers tons of products for you to purchase as a gift or reminder of your holiday, like lavender mega therapy cream, lavender silk lotion, and lavender body wash with aloe vera. Plus, visitors here can come here during a U-pick month to bring home a bundle during the summer months.

Wake Up with a Cup of Coffee

The Pacific Northwest is not only known for its craft beer but also for its tasty coffee. Leave the East Coast cups of Joe behind and try one of the best roasters in the entire state. We love going to Doppio Coffee in the morning to pair a latte with a flaky croissant to start the day. Or head to Ground Espresso Bar and Cafe to chill with your friends after a tough hike. STOKED Roasters is also ideal for strong espresso shots.

Stay with Us at Arrived

Not sure where to stay during your upcoming trip to the PNW? We have you covered. Instead of searching for hours and hours online, Arrived can help you choose the ideal vacation rental condo, apartment, mansion, home, or cabin for your stay. We match you with a home based on your party size, preferences, and price point—you will never pay more than you want for an exciting and unforgettable vacation in Hood River, OR.

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