Follow the Columbia River
The Columbia River is an amazing body of water. It stretches from its headwaters in British Columbia to the mouth at the Pacific Ocean on the border of Washington and Oregon states. Following the Columbia River on your next road-trip would be an amazing way to experience the wild beauty and raw power of one of the United States' great rivers. You could drive from the headwaters to its mouth and have the opportunity to see much of Washington State. When you arrive at the border of Washington and Oregon stop for a while in Hood River, Oregon, where you can enjoy the great windsurfing at this Oregon hotspot.
On its way to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia winds over 1200 miles from British Columbia into Washington and runs along the Washington and Oregon border. The Columbia is fed by many tributaries throughout the Columbia Basin. The Columbia River Basin is about 260,000 square miles and includes British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and a little bit of Utah and Nevada.
Along your path from British Columbia to Oregon you will see some amazing sights including the Grand Coulee Dam. This dam is almost a mile long and took over 40 years to construct. You can take in a laser light show which tells the story of the dam with lights flickering across the span of the dam. You can also take a guided tour of the dam. After you pass the dam, you will discover Lake Chelan.
On Lake Chelan you will find many recreational opportunities. In addition, the Chelan area has many fantastic vineyards with locally produced Washington wines. If you spend a few days on Lake Chelan, you can enjoy boating, swimming, and jet skiing.
When you reach the Washington-Oregon border, you can cross into Oregon and drive west on the Columbia River Highway or follow the River on the Washington side along the Lewis and Clark Highway. If you continue westward toward the Pacific Ocean, you will find yourself in or near Hood River, Oregon. Once you reach Hood River, plan to stay for a while.
Hood River, Oregon is now known as the windsurfing capital of the world. The area is also known for its fruits and its proximity to beautiful Mt. Hood. You can visit Mt. Hood or check out one of the areas orchards, but the real excitement in Hood River is to be found on the Columbia River. Windsurfers come from all over to ride the waves on the Columbia. There are great spots for windsurfers of all experience levels. The wind in Hood River is best during the middle of the day. You can even take windsurfing lessons if you have never been lucky enough to try the sport before.
In Hood River you will find everything for your windsurfing adventure. You can also experience other wind and water sports. One growing sport you can enjoy is kite-boarding. Kite-boarding is similar to wake-boarding, but a kite, which you use to catch the wind, propels you instead of a boat. The winds in Hood River are excellent for kite-boarders as well as windsurfers. There are many businesses that provide windsurfing and kite-boarding gear and instruction. These local businesses can also direct you to the best spots on the river to experience your sport in this beautiful town.
After you finish learning or mastering windsurfing,continue your trip along the Columbia River towards its mouth at the Pacific Ocean. Along the way you will pass by the Mt. Hood National Forest and head into Portland, Oregon. Portland has all sorts of interesting activities, from performing arts and a great nightlife to exciting neighborhoods and excellent dining.
The last stop on your trip along the Columbia is Astoria, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River. Astoria is located in a temperate rain forest and it is also historically significant as the western end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. You can ride the Astoria Riverfront Trolley and learn about the rich history of the region while admiring the beauty of the Columbia River's mouth.