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 makes me feel like I was close to home. I’ve stopped here several times over the years because there are so many things to do in Astoria.
The town was founded by John Jacob Astor in 1811 and officially incorporated in 1876. Astoria 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 area is also considered one of the best places to visit in the Pacific Northwest.
While you can easily come here on a day trip from Portland, I recommend staying for 3 days in Astoria. Here are my recommendations on the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon on the weekend.
Astoria Travel Tips
Astoria is about 3.5 hours southwest of Seattle and 1.5 hours northwest of Portland, making it a perfect stop on a West Coast road trip or the start of an Oregon Coast trip. The city is set right on the Columbia River with the Pacific Ocean bordering it.
Due to its secluded location, you’ll want to have a car when you come here. While you can walk around downtown Astoria just fine, you will need a vehicle to get out to the coast. If you’re from out of town, I recommend renting from Alamo, Hertz, or Thrifty.
Astoria is also a fun place to add to your Seattle road trip to California.
Where to Stay in Astoria, Oregon
You have a variety of options to stay in Astoria during your Portland weekend trip, including hotels and vacation rentals. Here are a few places I recommend.
- Best Western Astoria Bayfront Hotel is near the water and has a pool and hot tub. (rates start at $119 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Hotel Elliott comes with a rooftop deck and is close enough to walk around to many restaurants and stores. (rates start at $149 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- This two-bedroom house is close to the Columbia River so you’re close to beautiful views. (rates start at $190 per night)
10 Things to Do in Astoria, Oregon
Astoria is one of the more unique Pacific Northwest getaways. There are plenty of fun things to do in Astoria when visiting for a weekend.
1. Tour an Old House at the Flavel House Museum
This beautiful house was built in 1885 by one of the area’s first millionaires, George Flavel. You can now visit the museum to learn about the family that lived here. If you’re a Goonies fan, you’ll notice this is the place where Mikey’s dad supposedly worked. Whether you take the tour or just walk by, it’s a fun activity to add to your weekend in Astoria itinerary, especially during winter in Portland when you’re looking for activities to do.
2. Sleep on a Historic 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.
3. Walk or Drive on the Beach
You’ll want to visit Fort Stevens State Park when looking for fun things to do near Astoria, as this is a place you could spend the whole day. This was an active military site for around 100 years in the mid-1800s until they relocated to Bainbridge Island in 1939 due to better interception for listening to Japanese messages.
You can now camp in the park, walk along the beach, and even drive your car down the beach if you know what you’re doing. This is the perfect activity during summer in Portland as well.
4. Discover the History of Astoria
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. This is one of the best free things to do in Astoria, Oregon.
5. Visit the Wreck of Peter Iredale
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.
6. Check Out Old Movie Locations
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 during my weekend in Astoria (clearly they added some magic to the movie back in the day).
7. See Where Washington and Oregon Connect
The Astoria-Megler Bridge connects Astoria to Megler, Washington, and is one of the best things to see in Astoria. 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 during your 3 days in Astoria.
8. Go Ziplining Through the Forest
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.
Ziplining is one of the best things to do in Astoria with kids if you’re on a family vacation, as it’ll get their energy out. When you’re done, head back to the main building to enjoy an appetizer and a pint of beer.
9. Try Out the 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, so I recommend stopping there during your weekend in Astoria.
10. 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.
3 Days in Astoria, Oregon: A Suggested Weekend Itinerary
Three days in Astoria is the perfect amount of time in my opinion. I’ve been here several times, so here’s what I recommend based on my multiple stays there.
Day 1: Explore the Riverfront
Once you get settled at your hotel or Airbnb, take time to enjoy the slow pace of the town and walk along the river. You’ll likely see a mix of tourists and small cargo boats delivering goods down the Columbia River. If you don’t feel like walking, jump on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley for a tour of the area.
Take time to explore the town and pop into some of the shops. They have a large number of antique shops if that’s something that interests you.
For dinner, head over to Fort George Brewery for wood-fired pizza and local beer. There are different levels here, but I recommend grabbing a seat upstairs to have a view of the water.
Day 2: Head to the Coast
In the morning, stop at Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe for a quick bite and coffee. After that, head out west to the coast and stop at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park along the way. You can learn about the role they played in history and see replicas of older buildings.
When you’re done, head over to Fort Stevens State Park to explore the trails. You’ll also want to see the Wreck of Peter Iredale, which is a ship that ran ashore back in 1906 and has been stuck ever since. I recommend packing a lunch so you can spend most of the day walking around the beach.
When you’re ready to go back into town, stop by Rogue Pier 39 Public House. This restaurant and brewery is over the water on a pier and will give you an amazing view as the sun goes down.
Day 3: Find Filming Locations
On the third day of your weekend in Astoria, visit Astoria Coffee House & Bistro to fuel up for the day. I recommend taking the time to relax and enjoy the morning.
After that, walk down to the Oregon Film Museum to see the role the town had in movies over the years. This is also one of the more exciting things to do in Astoria with kids so they can see the “behind the scenes.”
If you’re a huge Goonies fan, you may want to see the house from the movie. The address is 370 38th St, but you’ll have to park a street down and take a photo from afar, as it’s a private residence that is very strict on not allowing close-up photos.
If you have time for lunch before you leave, stop by Bowpicker Fish & Chips. They’re rated the top place in the area for seafood and you’ll have your choice of fresh seafood to pick from.
There are plenty of things to do in Astoria, Oregon on the weekend, so take your time and enjoy this charming town!