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Sometimes you just need to get out of the city, and experience nature. Hood River is the perfect place to do that! It’s only a little over an hour drive from Portland, which helps you feel like you’re getting away (without really getting away). These days everyones trying to hold onto their dollars. Whether you’re saving for a new house, or you’ve spent all your money online, this list will help you get outside without breaking the bank. Here’s a list of some free things you can do, as well as a mini bonus list of some inexpensive activities.
- Go Hiking
There are lots of beautiful trails that are great to hike out here. In the Fall you can take in the beautiful foliage, and in the Summer & Spring, you’ll see gorgeous, colorful flowers. Some notable trails worth looking into are Mirror Lake Trail, Dog Mountain Trail, Indian Creek Trail, Sandy River Delta Loop Hike, Latourell Falls Loop Hike, Bridal Veil Falls Hike, and Tom McCall Point Hike.
- Search for Waterfalls
Witness the true beauty of nature in person and check out all the waterfalls this great area has to offer. Some of these waterfalls are along the hiking trails so it’s a 2 in 1! I’d recommend visiting Multnomah Falls, Latourall Falls, Bridal Veil, Wahchella Falls, and Dry Creek Falls.
- Rowena Crest
One of the most photographed places in Oregon is Rowena Crest. It’s located along the Historic Columbia River Highway and makes for a beautiful scenic drive. Drive over to the trail and take a nice easy walk up to the lookout point to take in the views. Don’t forget to take your Instagram worthy picture as well!
- Mount Hood
Check out this beautiful mountain, it’s the highest point in Oregon and you get an amazing view from here. There’s a small chance that this is still an active Volcano, but it hasn’t erupted in over 170 years so you should be fine.
- Hood River Fruit Loop
You can drive around this beautiful area and take in the vineyards, farms, fruit and vegetable stands. It’s at the base of Mount Hood and a 35 mile drive. They also put on some fun events throughout the year that are worth checking out.
- Hood River Farmers Market
The Farmers Market has lots of free activities, such as musical performances, cooking demonstrations, and kid friendly activities. The market is open from May- Nov and opens part-time, indoors during the winter. They typically have over 40 vendors which can include Farmers, Ranchers, Chefs, and local artists.
- Vista House
These days Vista house is a museum, but back in 1918 this was originally a traveller’s rest stop. It functions as a memorial to remember Oregon’s pioneers, mainly for those that went down the Columbia River. It’s a must see if you’re into historical sights and want to learn about the history of this great state. You can go inside and check it out for free, or there’s a paid tour if you can take if you want the full experience.
Here are some notable mentions that are easy on the wallet: Check out the local breweries, there’s lots to choose from. This will run you about $5- $10 (dependsing on how thirsty you are). Andrew’s Pizza and Skylight Theater is great because it’s ONLY $6 on Tuesdays to catch a movie. Food and drinks are extra. And the last thing I recommend would be to explore restaurants during their happy hour. This way you can sample a few different options at less of an expense. Happy exploring!