Astoria is an adorable town in Oregon that sits on the mouth of the Columbia River. Washington state is right across the river, so visiting the town made me feel like I was close to home. It was founded by John Jacob Astor in 1811 and officially incorporated in 1876. It was the first permanent settlement on the West Coast in the country, as well as the first town to have a post office west of the Rockie Mountains.
The economy was mainly lumber, fishing, and fish processing. There were 30 canneries along the river in the 1940s, including the famous Bumble Bee Seafoods. Today tourism is big in the town and cruise ships even stop here. The location is perfect, as you’re on the river, close to the Pacific Ocean, and can drive east to the forest to camp if you want. I loved walking around and exploring the area. Here are my recommendations on what to do in the charming town of Astoria.
Sleep on a Pier
I stayed on Pier 39, which houses the beautiful Fishermen Suites. I was shocked that I could drive all the way up the pier to park my car, only to see that my hotel was over the water. My room was breathtaking, with windows replacing half of the walls. I was mesmerized watching the ships pass by on the river.
There was so much to do on Pier 39, I didn’t even have to leave. Rogue Ale House, one of my favorite breweries in Oregon, was on the first floor of the pier. I didn’t need much convincing to go down there for dinner! I also spent my mornings at the cute coffee shop, Girl Coffee. I loved sitting by the window with my coffee each morning while I worked on my laptop. Although I didn’t have time this trip, there was even a scuba diving shop on the pier! I plan on going there next time I’m in town.
Pier 39 also has the Bumble Bee Cannery Museum on it, which I found fascinating. The company was founded in Astoria and employed thousands of workers from the time it opened in 1875. You can see all the old equipment that was used to make it and some of the first ads for the company.
If you head towards the coast, you can see the Wreck of Peter Iredale. The ship ran aground in 1905 and part of it is still on the beach. You can walk right up to it and touch it, which many people were fascinated by. The shipwreck is included as part of the Graveyard of the Pacific.
Find Where Movies Were Filmed
This was the one fact I knew about Astoria before I came – so many movies have been filmed here! The most famous is probably “The Goonies,” and locations from the movie are all over the city. Stop at the Oregon Film Museum to see where the jail scene was filmed as well as finding out facts about the town. You can even see the Goonie’s house, but there are signs everywhere saying don’t go up the hill or park on the street since someone lives there now.
Parts of “The Ring 2” and “Kindergarten Cop” were also filmed in Astoria. I was most excited about the fact that the famous scene in “Free Willy” where Willy jumps over the rock wall was filmed here! If you want to go see it, it’s at the Hammond Boat Basin. I was surprised at how small the rock wall actually is.
See Where Washington and Oregon Connect
The Astoria-Megler Bridge connects Astoria to Megler, Washington. You can easily be in either state in less than two minutes when you drive it.
I’d also recommend walking along the boardwalk by the bridge to watch all the boats pass by. If you don’t want to walk or feel like covering more ground, a trolley is available as well.
If you’re looking for some adventure, head over to High Life Adventures. You’ll zip through the forest, ponds, and even over a lake. I loved this course, especially since it’s the first time I’ve ever ziplined over water. When you’re done, head back to the main building to enjoy an appetizer and a pint of beer.
Try Local Beer
I love Oregon for many reasons, but their variety of local breweries is one of the top ones. I haven’t tried any beer from there that I didn’t like. Rogue Ale House always has unique ones, such as the Paradise Pucker (the sourest beer I’ve ever had in my life!). I loved trying Fort George Brewery as well, which had a pub area, an outside area, and delicious wood-fired pizza.
Get a View From Above
If you want the best view in town, head to the Astoria Column. It’s one of the most visited parks in all of Oregon, and for a good reason. You’ll go up a huge hill, where you’ll finally get to the top and have an amazing 360-degree view. You can see downtown, Washington, the Columbia River, and the surrounding mountain range.
What’s your favorite charming town?
This post was in partnership with the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, but all opinions are my own.
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