Simply put, on busy summer days The Spit is the real epicenter of Hood River. The downtown is simply the supply room and break area where you may go to recharge.
The Columbia River's white-capped, choppy waters and constant wind put Hood River on the national radar for outdoor enthusiasts starting with wind surfing in the 60s. Today, even though equipment has evolved to include kite surfing and SUPs (stand-up paddleboards), the sandy beach and bar known as ‘The Spit’ has remained the same. At nearly half a mile long, The Spit and its shallow waters are the perfect place to cool down on a mid-summer's day when the temperatures rise. And the beachfront couldn't be more easily accessible: it is just over the bridge from downtown Hood River, and there is plenty of parking nearby.
Further, should you be itching to try out any of the modern era watercraft or simply looking to explore the Columbia River, guides and vendors renting kayaks, SUPs, and kite boards regularly set up booths in the parking area on weekends.
Traveling with kids and want to give them some variety? If so, venture less than a half-mile west to the new, kid-friendly Hood River Waterfront Park. This park offers more beach, a nature-inspired playground, and outdoor showers.