Astoria is a seaside port city at the northern tip of Oregon. It features lots of small business, a quaint downtown area, a variety of architectural styles, and several unique attractions. From Washington you cross the mighty Columbia River on the 4+ mile Astoria Astoria–Megler Bridge. This bridge seems to hover above the water for most of its length but reaches aloft nearly 200′ near Astoria.
When visiting Astoria I like to stop at the Bowpicker for some fish and chips. This tiny takeout venue is a small boat located at the corner of 17th & Duane Street. They have only one item available, namely, albacore tuna fish and chips. There always seems to be line and they only accept cash. Getting your food takes awhile but it is worth it. Nothing fancy here, it is just very good fish and steak fries. From the Bowpicker you can head down Commercial Street and just park when you see cool, old shops. Get out and just wander around the quaint shops, antique stores, galleries, pubs, and eateries. One shop that I particularly like is Pat’s Pantry at 1153 Commercial Street. They have a variety of fine teas, spices, herbs, salts, peppers, and other really nice culinary stuff. Many of the products are mixed right there and the owners are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I like to brew the tea and chill them for iced tea.
One of the coolest places on the entire Oregon coast is the Astoria Column. The column was completed in 1926 and towers 125′ above Coxcomb Hill. The views from the parking area are impressive but the view after climbing the 164 steps in the Column is even more impressive. An annual parking pass cost $5 and the views are worth the cost. There is also a small gift shop in the parking area. Particularly impressive is the view of the Astoria Bridge and mouth of the Columbia River. The column itself was closed due to COVID-19 but the views of the column and the views from the parking area are still very impressive.
Just south of Astoria is historic Fort Stevens. This 4,300 acre State Park includes historic building, disc golf course, large campground, hiking/biking trails, beaches, wildlife area, old military batteries, and a ship wreck. The fort was in service from the Civil War until WWII. Be sure to bring a good flashlight when exploring the batteries.
A favorite sight at Fort Stevens is the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. She was a four-masted steel barque sailing ship that ran aground on 10/25/1906. The sea has reclaimed most of the ship and its remains get smaller as time marches on. I prefer viewing the wreck in the early morning before crowds of people block my photos. You can also get some good photos if you climb the hill between the parking lot and the shipwreck.
Other Places Near Astoria
If you drive about 14 miles south from Astoria you get to the tourist town of Seaside, OR. Seaside has very nice beaches and lots of tourist attractions, shops, arcades, pubs and eateries, etc. Seaside is a bit too crowded for me but it is a fun place to stop.
Not far from Seaside is Ecola Park and Cannon Beach. Ecola Park has some incredible shoreline views and you can often seen parasailers soaring overhead.
Cannon Beach is right outside of the road to Ecola Park and it is home to Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is an upscale tourist town with lots of shops, restaurants, and a marvelous beach.
Click here for more detailed blog about Ecola Park and Cannon Beach
If you want a longer day trip you can head farther south and get to Tillamook where you can visit the cheese factory (HIGHLY recommended), an aircraft museum, and the Cape Meares lighthouse (click here for Tillamook blog).