Citadel at the Border

JUST 164 MILES south of Seattle and a hop, skip, and a swim from Oregon’s Rose City, Vancouver is Washington’s own historic citadel, bordering the Columbia River. Fort Vancouver (, as it was originally known in the early 1900s, still serves as a base camp— but now it’s for sports and recreation. Less than two hours from Mount St. Helens, windsurfing mecca Hood River, and the coast, day trip options from the city abound.

Vancouver itself offers adventures aplenty. For the history buff, the old stronghold preserved much of its wartime heritage. Visit historic homes on Officers Row (, and eat at the Grant House: the first house built on the row is now an award-winning restaurant. The fort itself delights all ages with shows of weaponry, tours of housing, and explorations of everyday life. For a slightly spookier spin, take the nighttime lantern tour and discover what went on within the fort walls after the sun had set.

Meanwhile, the nearby Pearson Field ( and Pearson Air Museum ( let aspiring aviators explore one of the oldest running airfields in America, as well as see vintage airplanes. Twice yearly, free plane rides are available for youth.

The city is also packed with parks, shops—including the nearby Pendleton Woolen Mills outlet, in Washougal— swimable and fishable lakes, hikes, and foodie destinations. —STEPHANIE RUBESH

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Read More About The Gorge

6 Side Trips

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On the state's southern border, Vancouver has earned itself a reputation as a destination.

Tour the Gorge

Forming much of the border between Washington and Oregon, the Columbia River cuts through a dramatic, windswept gorge, with steep cliffs, mossy side canyons, and thundering waterfalls.

From our Archives

The Scoop

WHILE IT’S HARD to step away from the breathtaking beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, the surrounding area is full of other remarkable, not-to-bemissed gems.

Trail Mix

Lewis and Clark laid down the first of many trails that now traverse Vancouver.

Binge On

Besides a love for the local playground, hikers, windsurfers, and bikers in the Columbia River Gorge have one thing in common: big appetites. Here’s where to chow down after a day at play.

Gorge on Beauty

A DRIVE ON HIGHWAY 14 alongside the Columbia River provides spectacular views of natural wonders, but plan for an occasional stop to visit some manmade beauties.

Monasteries to Mars

PERCHED MILES ABOVE the Columbia River is the small farm and timberland town of Goldendale. Getting there and away may be half the fun.

Scene It

A MAJESTIC RIVER, vines clinging to windswept canyon walls, and unusual art set the stage for breathtaking adventures along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway.

Time Traveling

TOUR HISTORY, from lava-plug trails to modern-day microbrews, on a Columbia River Gorge drive.

'Couver Town

Vancouver—with the Columbia River for a southern border—is a hotbed for kayaking, boating, hiking, and biking, but the city also offers other fun family pursuits.

Citadel at the Border

JUST 164 MILES south of Seattle and a hop, skip, and a swim from Oregon’s Rose City, Vancouver is Washington’s own historic citadel, bordering the Columbia River.

Gorge Grandeur

SAM HILL had a dream. The turn-of-the-century gas and electric magnate wanted the world to “realize the magnificence and grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge.” So he built a town...

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