There are lots of little towns dotted along the 80-mile Gorge, but Hood River easily wins as best hub for family fun with its laid-back, artsy and outdoorsy vibe. Head down to the river where you can find several outfitters who provide lessons and rentals for kayaking and paddle boarding or faster-paced personal watercraft and the new sport of flyboarding. If you have younger children, head to Waterfront Park for a swim area, playground and a good chance of watching windsurfers and kiters zip along the river. You’ll also find lifejacket loaner boards (where you can borrow kids’ lifejackets for free) and the community’s visitor center on the waterfront. Downtown includes cafes, boutiques (including a toy shop) and breweries.