Hood River, Oregon
Great beer and the great outdoors within spitting distance of Portland
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful natural features in the Pacific Northwest, a winding stretch of river sandwiched between dense forests, towering cliff faces, and more waterfalls than a TLC tribute show. Its finest town is Hood River, a Rockwellian, hilly burg unofficially known as “Portland’s backyard.” It sits at the shores of the Columbia and on the foothills of Mount Hood, plopping you into fantastic hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing and kitesurfing. It’s also home to an inordinately large number of breweries, including Full Sail, pFriem, Logsdon Farmhouse, and Double Mountain, making Hood River one of the best small beer towns anywhere.
Every day, Portland’s traffic and rents are looking more like LA. Whether you land a job in Hood River itself, telecommute, or drive the (gorgeous) hour to Portland daily, you’re looking at rents a fraction of the big city’s (where a studio runs a ridiculous $1,500, easy). Plus you get friendly locals, great schools, fresh air, and some of the most breathtaking views in the state. It’s a wonder more people aren’t treating Portland as the weekend getaway and settling into one of America’s best, and most strategically located, small towns. -- Andy Kryza