Who is ready for finding the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon?

There are many things to do in Astoria, Oregon. It is an eclectic riverfront town that may surprise you as a highlight to your Oregon Coastal road trip. It is hard to get bored here as there is a variety of things to do in Astoria, Oregon. Whether you enjoy exploring the nearby state parks, or get filled up with the the food scene and scenery of the town known as “Little San Francisco”. You may find the town looks familiar. If you have seen movies like The Goonies, Free Willy, Kindergarten Cop, or Short Circuit that is why.

The city of Astoria is situated on the northwest corner of Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean, across from the state of Washington. It’s such a unique place and if you visit the state, you should add this to your Oregon Coastal Road trip itinerary.

Read more: Things To Do In Astoria, Oregon: The Most Eclectic Town on Oregon’s Coastal Highway 

*Disclaimer:This Post May Contain Sponsored Content And Or/ Affiliate Links. This Is A Way I Make An Income From My BlogI Am A Participant In The Amazon Services LLC Associates ProgramAn Affiliate Advertising Program Designed To Provide A Means For Sites To Earn Advertising Fees By Advertising And Linking To Amazon.Com  Thanks to the Bowline for hosting me. All opinions are my own and honest review of my time in Astoria Warrenton.

History of Astoria, Oregon

Sea Lions resting in harbor of Astoria.

They say Astoria is “the oldest city west of the Rocky Mountains”, formed in 1810. It’s also close to the Lewis & Clark Trail. The Astor family started their West Coast beaver and fur trade business here and Bumble Bee (now a Museum) had a massive fish canning plant here, the building still stands and houses many local businesses and a great coffee shop.

Astoria Oregon Accomadation

King suite with view at the Bowline Hotel.
My Room at the Bowline Hotel

We stayed here for 3 days to explore the area at Bowline Hotel on the riverfront. This boutique hotel has period accents of the town’s fishing past, with luxury rooms, some with free-standing bathtubs, and fireplaces. Our room also had a small private deck to look out over the river. Robes and slippers were also provided that were great for going out to the riverfront barrel-shaped saunas. It also had the Knot Bar with Norwegian-inspired food selections to enjoy a good meal. This was a real treat.

Where is Astoria, Oregon?

Astoria with its population of just over 10,000 people is only 95 miles from Portland, the state capital, and has such a different vibe from the big city. It’s on the river’s edge near beautiful coastal Oregon and has a strong maritime and fishing history. From the riverfront, it jets up into the steep hillside where many homes remind one of San Francisco, many call it the Little San Francisco of the Pacific Northwest. I can see why. 

If you are driving from Seattle, Washington it can take you around 3 hours.

Rent a car to get to Astoria

Stand in Awe of the Astoria Megler Bridge

Journey’s End Coffee Shop in front of Astoria Bridge to Washington State

Make sure you stroll downtown and see all the eclectic shops, restaurants, and cafes, and then maybe take a drive up into the hills to see some Victorian homes that are in the area. It truly is a newly hip town to see. You will also see the massive 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge that connected Astoria and Oregon to the state of Washington on the other side of the Columbia. Some get a kick out of just driving over this steel cantilever thru-truss bridge, the longest of its type in the nation. 

Below you will find some of our favorite places to eat, drink, and enjoy during your visit. We really enjoyed our 3-day visit here and truly enjoyed it and have a strong feeling I’ll return one day to this unique town.  

Astoria Oregon Restaurant Guide

Coffee shops in Astoria: 

Coffee Girl (www.thecoffeegirl.com)We had coffee and morning snacks at Coffee Girl, on the historic Bumblebee Canning factory on Pier 39, with a great view of the water. You can sit inside or on the waterfront. On this pier (Pier 3) is the Bumblebee Museum and some shops. You can also at times see (and hear) seals, etc. near the pier.

Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe www.bluescorcher.coop: This local bakery makes artisan bread, delicious baked goods pastries, and breakfast foods, along with some awesome lattes. It is also part of the North Coast Food Trail. Notably, this is a cooperative owned by the employees. They utilize organic and local ingredients and the coffee is supplied by Astoria Coffee Co. We enjoyed it. Interesting that they used actual cloth napkins and they are eco-friendly.

Journey’s End Espresso: This small ‘drive-thru’ coffee shop is located in a log cabin-shaped building with a metal roof as you are heading toward the town’s massive bridge. We stopped here as we headed south to explore more of Oregon’scoast. Besides the drive-thru thru it also had a walk-up window.  We found many coffee places had just drive-up/walk-up service.

Custard King: Instagram @custardkingastoria  While the Custard King sells great hamburgers, fish tacos, etc., we came here for the ice cream. Be sure to check when you want to go since they are closed on certain days. It reminds me of the movies from the 1950s and then found out it was originally established in 1951 and later re-established in 2015. So glad it was.  (Note: They do have a Facebook page too.) 

Astoria Oregon Places To Eat 

Astoria has a good mix of restaurants in the town and if you want to enjoy a larger meal than say one in a cafe or fast food, here are a few we ate at since we stayed in town a few days. I would note that many of the restaurants close by say8-9 pm, so you may want to take that into account. We found that it stayed sunny later in the Pacific Northwest, plus we had so much fun exploring, so it seemed earlier at a time!

Fort George Brewery- An Astoria Oregon Brewery

Fort George Brewery  (www.fortgeorgebrewery.com): The first night we ate at the Fort George Brewery, located in the historic Fort George Building, and had some tasty burgers. We also heard that the pizza offered on the floor above was great since the folks on the table next to us in the brewery had pizza and then burgers. Besides the indoor seating, they have great outdoor seating depending on the weather. This is a favorite Astoria Oregon Brewery among locals and tourists alike.

Knot Bar at Bowline

Knot Bar at Bowline (www.bowline.com): Our hotel had a restaurant onsite and was great to have breakfast or dinner without a fuss so you could have more time to enjoy the beautiful views of the room or sauna. The menu is Nordic inspired paying homage to the history of Astoria.

Mo’s Seafood and Chowder Astoria

Mo’s Seafood & Chowder Astoria (www.ilovemoschowder.com): We had some great fish and chips at Mo’s restaurant right on the waterfront. We loved it here and later discovered they had a few locations on the coast. Having lived in the northeast for a time, I am a fan of good chowder and I did enjoy their chowder. If you are a fish person, they also had burgers, pasta, etc. but we came for the chowder and enjoyed it. It was a beautiful sunny day and they had ample windows on the waterfront.

Bowpicker Fish and Chips

Bowpicker Fish & Chips (www.bowpicker.com): This beer-battered fish and chips is served in a converted stationary boat with a walk-up window. We didn’t get to eat here but several people mentioned it and it gives me a reason to return to the great Oregon coast. I just thought the boat idea was so cute and they are open, weather permitting. 

Places to Visit in Astoria

There are many cool places to visit while you’re in Astoria, some are free and some like museums may cost a little, but are fairly affordable. We also enjoyed walking the streets downtown with eclectic shops and enjoying the Astoria Riverwalk.

See the City From Above at The Astoria Column www.astoriacolumn.org

The Astoria Column is a tall column/tower that is located high above the city where you can get great views of the city, water, mountains, etc. There is a fee of $5 a car to park there and you can see the tower that was erected in 1926 by the Great Northern Railroad and is dedicated to those brave folks that settled this part of the country. At the top, there are seats to relax and take in the picturesque view and there is a small gift shop. Notably, it is free to walk up the hill to the area, but if you park there or bring a car it is $5. 

The Goonies House

In 1985, the Goonies was released and is kind of a kids’ classic. I know we watched it and many fans flock to see the house at 368 38th Street in Astoria. It is a dead-end street, with some parking limits. Be mindful of the neighbors and it’sgood to pay attention to the street signs that show where you can and can’t park. I know it came out when my mother was young and we sat and watched it while traveling Oregon’s coast. It’s cool to see some of the spots from the movie. 

Note: From reading recent stories, it sounds like the new, current owner may one day make it possible to go on the property. It seems that new generations have an interest in visiting the Goonie sites. My mom’s 61 and she remembers it well I watched it with her when I was younger and also when I was visiting the great Oregon Coast. Goonies say“Goonies never die”.

Columbia River Maritime Museum www.crm.org 

The Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Lightship Columbia is a unique museum where you can learn about maritime history on the Columbia River Bar that is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific, visit board on the river the last floating lighthouse called Columbia and learn more about the maritime and the US Coast Guard. The point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean can have some intense waves and violent winter weather for sea vessels. The museum goes into some detail about the past shipwrecks and Coast Guard history.

Notably, the Columbia River gets many freighters that “park” on the river, but they must have a Pilot Boat direct them to the docks. This is a higher level than a pure tug boat since the Columbia Bar can be difficult at times. Even if you’re not a “museum person” this was quite interesting and rather new facilities with a shop, etc. and it looks like it will be expanding in 2026.

The museum admission of $16 (kids under 5, active military, and members are free); the museum admission includes going onto the Columbia floating lighthouse. Additionally, they do have a Theatre with movies like the current Shark Kingdom for an additional $5.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park www.nps.com

At this national park, you can see a replica of the stockade and trails that the “The Corps of Discovery”, i.e. Lewis & Clarks expedition spent a winter before heading back east. It’s a great place to spend at least an hour or more to see the fort, walk some trails, etc. It was pretty walkable for those who have mobility issues. We enjoyed seeing this national park before heading to see more heading on Route 101 in coastal Oregon.  Depending on your time, they also have a place where you can launch a canoe or kayak. The standard pass is $10, while if you hold an American the Beautiful Annual Pass it is free.

Flavel House Museum (www.astoriamuseums.org)   

The Flavel House Museum is the former home of Captain George Flavel who lived from 1823-1893. He was one of the most influential Astoria citizens during the 1800’s and a Columbia Bar pilot. This house was completed in 1886, includes 11,600sf, and is a fine example of a Queen Anne home with period furniture that gives you a great idea of the style from that period. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places. Adults are $7, seniors $6, and youth $2.

Walk the Historic Astoria Riverwalk Trail or take the Historic Trolley (www.old300.org)

The riverfront walk is approximately 4.9 miles and fronts the mighty Columbia River. Also along the riverfront is the Trolly which is run by volunteers. The “Old 300” Trolley was built in 1913 and is still running. The cost to ride is $1 per boarding or $2 for the entire ride day. The schedule is subject to change depending on the season. While I didn’t use it, reportedly the little trolley has a GPS and you can check the location on the website. While we were there there was a little construction going on, but it was still running. (It was great, the Astoria Riverwalk and the Trolley train stop were right next to our hotel.)

Pier 39 Astoria, Oregon

Visit Pier 39 in Astoria Oregon to learn about the canneries and also have a great spot for Breakfast and coffee in town.
Astoria Oregon Pier 39

Pier 39 in Astoria, Oregon, is a historic waterfront destination that offers a unique blend of past and present. Originally built in 1941 as part of the Bumble Bee Seafood cannery, it has been transformed into a vibrant hub featuring shops, restaurants, and attractions. Visitors can explore the Cannery Museum to learn about Astoria’s rich fishing heritage, savor fresh seafood at local eateries, or enjoy panoramic views of the Columbia River. The pier is also home to a working marina and serves as a gateway to the scenic beauty and cultural depth of the Pacific Northwest.

Hiking Astoria Oregon Guide: Discovering the Trails Near Astoria

Nestled where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, Astoria, Oregon is a gem for hiking enthusiasts. This charming town offers a variety of trails that cater to different levels of adventurers, from serene coastal walks to challenging mountain hikes. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a scenic stroll, Astoria has something special to offer.

1. Fort Clatsop National Memorial

Fort Clatsop perfect for a short hike near Astoria Oregon

Step into history and nature on the Fort to Sea Trail.

Start your journey at the replica of Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-1806. The 6.5-mile Fort to Sea Trail winds through lush forests and open meadows, capturing the essence of the explorers’ journey. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and take in the serene landscapes that tell the story of this historic expedition.

If you’re looking for a shorter hike, the Fort Clatsop Loop is a 1.5-mile trail that offers a more compact but equally captivating experience through dense woodlands around the fort.

2. Cape Disappointment State Park

Venture across the Astoria-Megler Bridge into Washington for coastal trails with stunning ocean views.

The Cape Disappointment Trail is a 2-mile path that leads to a historic lighthouse, offering breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River Bar along the way. For those seeking a longer adventure, the 8-mile North Head Trail provides panoramic views of the coastline and a peek into the area’s maritime history.

3. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Discover multiple trails rich in history and natural beauty.

This park is a treasure trove of hiking options. The Netul River Trail is a gentle, 1.5-mile path that follows the river’s edge, perfect for a peaceful stroll. Meanwhile, the 2.5-mile Clatsop Loop Trail meanders through forested areas, featuring interpretive signs that bring to life the experiences of the Corps of Discovery during their winter encampment.

4. Saddle Mountain State Natural Area

Challenge yourself with a hike to Saddle Mountain.

For a more strenuous adventure, the Saddle Mountain Trail is a 5.2-mile round-trip that climbs 1,600 feet. This hike takes you through old-growth forests and colorful wildflower meadows, culminating in a summit with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Range. It’s a rewarding trek for those up for the challenge.

5. Astoria Riverwalk

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Columbia River.

The Astoria Riverwalk is a 6-mile trail ideal for those who prefer a relaxed pace. Following the Columbia River’s edge, this path weaves through historic landmarks, charming shops, and scenic viewpoints. It’s a perfect way to soak in the sights and sounds of Astoria’s waterfront while enjoying a gentle walk.

Tips for Hikers

  • Weather: Astoria’s coastal weather is famously unpredictable. Dress in layers and always bring rain gear.
  • Safety: Carry a map, plenty of water, and a snack. It’s wise to inform someone about your hiking plans before you set out.
  • Wildlife: Respect the local wildlife. Keep a safe distance and enjoy observing animals in their natural habitat.

Astoria’s trails blend history, natural beauty, and adventure, making this area a top destination for outdoor lovers. Whether you’re looking for a vigorous hike or a peaceful walk, the trails around Astoria are waiting to be explored.

How are Astoria Oregon Beaches?

Sarah Fay standing in the Peter Iredale Shipwreck- Things to do in Astoria

While there is a lot of talk about the water in Astoria with the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, there are no beaches right in town. The closest beaches are DeLaura Beach and Sunset Beach, very close in Warrenton, Oregon, about 5 miles away from Astoria. 

At DeLaura Beach, the remains of the famous Peter Iredale Shipwreck are still on the beach which has very soft sand.It’s located near Fort Stevens State Park. Just remember that there may be some 4x4s around, but driving on with a car may not be advisable since the sand is soft. Many go here to click a pic and it does look kind of stunning during the golden hour. We enjoyed walking out to see it and clicking a pic.  

Another beach that isn’t too far is Sunset Beach, at the Sunset Beach State Recreation Site. It also is sandy and cars or 4x4s do drive on it, but without a 4×4 you could get stuck so be careful. Lastly, if you want more beaches you can go to the Seaside, OR (18 miles from Astoria), which is a cute village/town with beaches. 

Astoria, Oregon Weather

What can I say, the weather in the Pacific Northwest is certainly fickle and can change a lot. One minute it can rain or mist, the next minute bright and sunny. I visited just before the summer season, so I do advise you to bring layers of clothes since it can change any time during the day. Also, you may want to bring a raincoat or at least an umbrella. Sometimes it was just a light mist, but then could change when the wind blew into town. Either way, the community of Astoria grew up with this weather and many aren’t stopped by a little rain. Depending on the time of year there are different events in the city. I recommend checking out the tourism offices website as well for Astoria Warrenton.

What to pack for Oregon Coast Weather

The weather is unpredictable on the Oregon Coast, which is why I always recommend having some layers even if you are there in the Spring and summer. It rains a lot so it is always a good idea to have a rain coat. But check out my Amazon storefront where I curated an entire idea list of things to pack with you to the Pacific Northwest.

Map of Where to stay in Astoria, Oregon

Is Astoria Oregon Worth Visiting and How Long Would Visit

I would stay at least 2-3 days depending on what you’d like to see while you are there. It’s not too far from Portland or other cute Oregon coastal towns and State/National Parks, so a great jumping-off spot. This was our jumping-off spot for our journey on Oregon’s Coastal Highway.

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Travels of Sarah Fay

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June 14, 2024

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