Kayak

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Dams have basically eliminated rapids on the Columbia, but currents, windsurfers, and shipping lanes still complicate life for paddlers. The Gorge Paddling Center in Hood River, Oregon, is on a calm river inlet and rents kayaks and standup paddleboards in summer. gorgekayaker.com

Fishing Boat

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Charter a salmon, sturgeon, or steelhead charter for help deciphering the rules of where and with what license you can fish. Pro guides like Benton City’s Dell “Doctor Death” Burton will share their own secret spots where the quarry congregates. 509-539-3091

Houseboat 

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The flat waters of Lake Roosevelt are ideal for double-decker vessels that often come with slides and hot tubs—and beginner manuals with instructions such as: “Do not houseboat race.” ­lakeroosevelt.com

Sternwheeler 

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The three-story Columbia Gorge sternwheeler offers sightseeing, brunch, and dinner cruises out of Cascade Locks, Oregon, on a red-trimmed boat that looks like it belongs in Mark Twain’s neck of the woods. portlandspirit.com/sternwheeler.php

Cruise Ship 

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Weeklong voyages on the S.S. Legacy, an 88-­passenger replica of a steamer ship, depart from Portland but stop at museums and wineries from the coast to Snake River, making it the most enriching way to float. un-cruise.com

 

Illustrations by John Roman

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