The city of Hood River has a lovely, cool climate and temps rarely go above 82 degrees Fahrenheit even in the height of summer. This climate is a great opportunity for your family enjoy a relaxing Hood River vacation rentals. Hood River not only offers the traditional pursuits found on a river, such as canoeing, kayaking, and fishing but the winds that sweep through the nearby Columbia Gorge make the river a great site for windsurfing. For dining out, sample the steaks at Riverside, and the pizza at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar. The Egg River Cafe not only serves hearty American fare like hash browns but has a gorgeous view.

Vacation rentals include houses with all the amenities and enough bedrooms for even a large family. There are even log-cabin style tree-houses that offer breathtaking views of the forest and the mountains, including Mount Hood to the South.

1. Rowena, Oregon

Your kids will love the fact that Rowena is near the ghost town of Ortley. Make sure a trip to this former apple orchard is on your list, even though only remnants of it are left. Rowena is also close to Mayer State Park with its gorgeous lake. There’s also a beach, space for picnics beneath the pine trees, swimming, fishing, and boating.

2. Odell, Oregon

This little town is found about 8 miles south of Hood River via State Highways 281 or 35. If you’re inclined to cook for your family in your vacation rental, visit Duckwall Fruit or Diamond Fruit Growers for the freshest fruits and veggies. If you’d rather treat your family to dinner out, Chubys’s restaurant on Odell Highway is famous for its Mexican food, including chicken enchiladas.

3. White Salmon, Washington

The Columbia River is shared by Oregon and Washington, and White Salmon is found on the Washington side. If possible, find a vacation rental with views of both Mount Hood and Mount Adams. The anglers in your family will love the fact that salmon is still plentiful in this part of the river. Other activities include skiing in the winter, hiking, and biking. Brave types who love hang-gliding can take advantage of the strong winds that blow through the Gorge.

4. Bingen, Washington

Another town found on the Washington side of the Columbia is Bingen. Hike the Dog Mountain Trail, which rewards a somewhat arduous climb with unbelievable views of the river, the sky, and the mountains. Find that thing you didn’t know you wanted at Antiques and Oddities on West Steuben Street, and, take the kids to sample the deep dish pizza at Beneventi’s Pizz or the Mexican fare at Ayutlense Family Mexican Restaurant.

5. Cascade Locks, Oregon

This beautiful town is just the thing for kids, with its Historical Museum, its Oregon Pony Engine and especially the Sternwheeler. This is a triple-deck paddle wheeler that cruises up and down the Columbia Gorge. Other activities include the requisite fishing, sailing, hiking, and biking among the surrounding mountains.

6. Husum, Washington

If you’re wondering how to get across the mighty Columbia River to Husum, drive across the Hood River Bridge at Hood River. Travel another 10 miles north and find it nestled in the White Salmon River Valley. Visit the beautiful Husum River Falls. If rafting is your thing, Wet Planet Rafting and Kayaking has all the equipment you’ll need for a thrilling and safe trip down the White Salmon River.

7. Mosier, Oregon

Snug on the banks of the Columbia along Interstate Highway 84, this town is full of orchards whose blossoms sweeten the air in the spring. Climb to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint for a magnificent view or hike the Columbia River Highway State Trail. Memaloose State Park offers a swimming beach and is far north enough for you and the family to see the gorgeous Aurora Borealis — the Northern Lights — at night.

8. Home Valley, WA

Find Home Valley by crossing the Hood River Bridge and heading west on State Highway 14. The city is found where the Wind River empties into the Columbia and has a lovely, large park with picnic areas and playing fields. Nearby is the Wind Mountain Trailhead for hiking.

9. The Dalles, Oregon

The Dalles is what is called a big city in this part of the state, with vacation rentals tucked in among the conifers and its own airport, though the airports in Washington. Take the kids to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum and the Wonderworks Children’s Museum of the Gorge. If they visit the Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead, they can even churn butter by hand. You and the hubby can partake of the wines at the various wineries around town, including The Pines 1852, 15 Mile Winery and the Sunshine Mill Winery. You can also join a wine tour.

10. Parkdale, Oregon

Parkdale is just southwest of Mt. Hood and not only has a view of the mountain but enjoys the climate that comes from being on the other side of the mountain: its summers are warm and dry. In the winter, come to the Mount Hood Meadows or the Cooper Spur Ski Area for skiing and snowing, and take the kids to pick apples at the Kiyokawa Family Orchard or Mt. View Orchards in the fall.