Pool and Spa
The hotel's heated outdoor pool offers riverside views of the Columbia River and rolling hills on the Washington side. That makes it especially alluring for parents who'd rather snag a lounge chair and soak up spectacular sunsets across the gorge than play Marco Polo. Even kids will likely enjoy the river views -- especially if boats are sailing by or they can spot someone trying out water-powered rocket boots.
The pool, which is located on the hotel's east side, stays sheltered from wind and cold by clear walls. They also heat the deck in winter, making it possible to enjoy it through most of the year -- especially with a steamy whirlpool that also offers sweeping views.
Pool depths range from about 3 to 5 feet, so bring water wings, life jackets or floating devices for young children. It's not a huge pool, but that can make it easier to supervise more than one child and be the parental lifeguard. The pool opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until 10 p.m. daily.
There is a bathroom, shower, sauna and indoor spa in the fitness facility next to the pool. It's a handy place to change into dry clothes. Otherwise, it can be a long, drippy walk through the lobby and past the restaurant to reach west-wing hotel rooms.
The hotel has a beach along the river that can be used for swimming or paddle boarding. There are outfitters along the riverfront west of the hotel that can offer lessons in kite surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and kayaking, for a fee.
The BEST WESTERN PLUS Hood River Inn offers free seasonal bike rentals. They're a good option for rides along the river or biking into downtown for shopping, exploring and grabbing pie or ice cream. The paved trail along the river in front of the hotel does have some buckles and bumps, so don't let the scenery get too distracting.
Skiing and Rafting
For families craving high-adrenaline adventures, the hotel offers ski packages for Mount Hood Meadows (2,150 skiable acres and 2,777 vertical feet) about 30 miles away and discounts on whitewater rafting on White Salmon River's rapids.
The hotel offers free wine tasting passes for guests who want to visit a dozen participating wineries in the Columbia River Gorge. Besides being good for complimentary wine tasting at the vineyards, it also can be used for 25 percent off a bottle of local wine at the hotel restaurant or lounge.