Astoria, Oregon is a beautiful place to visit because of its unique position along the Oregon coast, nudged in the northwest corner. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Columbia River on the other, its tourist attractions include breathtaking nature and of course, The Goonies!
Astoria one of many amazing small towns to visit in Oregon, and frankly…America! Let’s talk about all the best things to do in Astoria Oregon.
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN ASTORIA OREGON
- Best For River Views: Bowline Hotel is a boutique riverfront hotel featuring amazing views, an awesome bar onsite, barrel saunas overlooking the river, and more. Enjoy locally sourced food and classic cocktails at The Knot bar.
- Closest to Breweries, Eateries, and Shops: The Norblad Hotel is a boutique hotel in downtown Astoria that’s close to all the best breweries, coffee shops, cafes and locally-owned stores. Located in a historic 90-year-old building, The Norblad Hotel is modern, charming, and insanely Instagram-worthy.
- Best Tried and True: Comfort Suites Columbia River is located in a historical beach area on the banks of the beautiful Columbia River. You’ll find a free breakfast, a great location near the best attractions, and Riverfront trolley rides are available for shopping and dining destinations, museum visits and historical tours.
ALL THINGS GOONIES
Goonies never say die! The 1985 American comedy, The Goonies, has to be first on the list and it deserves its own section. When you come to Astoria, you can check out all the spots that you loved from the movie, including The Goonies House!
There is also the Oregon Film Museum, which offers more than just information on The Goonies. Don’t forget Cannon Beach and its beautiful views.
OREGON FILM MUSEUM
The Oregon Film Museum is a remarkable must-visit when in Astoria, due to so many popular films over hundreds of years being shared here. In fact, there are over 400 films in the state of Oregon that you can learn about here at this museum. Fun for both kids and adults, it’s open year-round throughout most of the day.
Something that is even more fun than the museum itself is the Oregon Film Trail, which was made in partnership with the museum and OregonMade, the Creative Foundation. This is not the typical trail you can walk, as it spans from coast to desert. The trail includes unique and important film settings from several iconic movies, including the latest Free Willy and the Columbia River.
Cannon Beach is where The Goonies pull up their bikes atop the cliff and look for the treasure from up above. Being able to see the exact same views they did is not only stunning, but a surreal moment. Approximately 750,000 visitors and tourists come to this spot each year for this experience, as well as the views.
Should we mention that there are some seriously other famous movies filmed here? Twilight is one of them! When Bella and her friends go surfing at La Push, which is supposed to be Washington, they are actually here at Indian Beach, Cannon Beach. The gloomy days make for that perfect backdrop!
Point Break was another movie filmed here as well. Indian Beach in Cannon Beach was made to be the world-famous Bells Beach. Bells Beach is known for the famous Rip Curl Surf and Music Festival.
THE GOONIES HOUSE
The Goonies House is privately owned, but the owner has been great about letting visitors come by. Located at 368 38th Street, Astoria, Oregon, it is easily the most famous spot where they filmed. It’s important to know that visitors should park a few blocks away and not enter through the driveway.
However, welcoming guests is a recent thing, as the 20th anniversary drove the homeowner to put up signs that no visitors were allowed. This was due to tens of thousands of people standing outside the home and littering on the property. Now that the craziness has died down, you’re welcome to walk past and see it for yourself.
FORT STEVENS STATE PARK
Fort Stevens State Park appeals to two different types of tourists. The first person is the one who loves to run through open-stretched fields and take in beautiful views of the coastline. The second is the history buff. Fort Stevens Park has played major roles in American Coastal defense from the Civil War to World War II.
The state park has a whopping 4000 acres of natural beauty and offers one of the best campgrounds in the entire state of Oregon. By walking along its coastline, you can take in the famous Iredale shipwreck, along with 30 different military installations.
Fort Stevens State Park is the perfect combination of educational and recreational outdoor fun.
Another sight to see in Fort Stevens State Park is Clatsop Spit, which is an enormous sandpit that sits in the Pacific and the mouth of the Columbia River. It follows along Route 101 between Astoria and Tillamook Head.
When the ocean level rose after the last Ice Age ended 8500 years ago, the river flow from the Colombia River brought sediment to the coast — forming the Clatsop Spit. While there is a trail, crews have limited walking as they are trying to repair the jetty. You are able to walk as far as Parking Lot D, which is for wildlife viewing at the blind.
Thanks to Astoria’s beautiful downtown, it remains one of the top small towns in Oregon to live and visit. While it’s home to the George Flavel House Museum, The Liberty Theater, and the Oregon Film Museum, Astoria offers so much more. With boutiques, galleries, and tons of other shops, someone who loves souvenirs can be occupied all day.
It’s also home to some pretty amazing restaurants and cafes that sometimes offer live music. There is also quite a bit of live music on the streets which makes walking around a lot of fun!
Keep your eyes open because Mama Fratelli (The Goonies) is still wanted. At least that’s what some of the signs say!
YOUNGS RIVER FALLS
Youngs River Falls is located just 10 miles south of Astoria and is still in Clatsop County. This is the perfect spot to explore for families and tourists who love nature. The waterfall itself is a 54-foot drop, which features warm water from the Youngs River flowing into a beautiful swimming area that attracts quite a lot of people.
Lush greenery and forest surround the little swimming area, which gets as deep as 7 feet in some areas. You’ll need to take a little hike there. From the parking lot to the base of the waterfall is .025 miles with clear directions. You can even see the waterfall from the parking lot.
The Astoria Riverfront is a must-see, as it stretches three miles along the Columbia River. While walking on the pedestrian path, you will come across tons of waterfront activities, museums, and good eats. For those who don’t want to walk all that much, the Astoria Riverfront Trolley is fun to hop on between the months of March and September.
The sunset is one of the most spectacular views to take in, but seeing the big ships light up at night isn’t too shabby either. The two main museums you’ll come across while walking are the Uppertown Firefighters Museum and the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
COLUMBIA RIVER MARITIME MUSEUM
The Columbia River Bar is one of the most dangerous water passes in the world, and when you visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, you get to learn all about it and its history.
Learn about times when they were using only canoes, to the age of sailing and even present-day maritime information.
For those who want to add a little bit of artistry to their visit, they offer classes from beginner to intermediate where you can illustrate the Pacific Northwest landscapes and waterways. For kids and families, they also offer interesting hands-on exhibits, like baking food that was a staple for surviving at sea in the past.
CAPTAIN GEORGE FLAVEL HOUSE MUSEUM
The Captain George Flavel House Museum truly is one of the best-preserved houses and artifacts from Queen Anne architecture. Immediately upon arrival, it’s a sight to marvel at.
The house comes from 1884-85, and was built for Captain George Flavel, who was a Columbia River Bar Pilot. He also was well known for his real estate investments. The house was meant as his retirement home, and has since been restored to reflect true Victorian-era living through the eyes of the Flavel family.
Interestingly enough, during World War II, the Red Cross, Public Health Department, and other crucial organizations held offices in this very home. This made it not only important to Astoria, but also to the country. Whether looking from the outside or taking a tour inside, this site should definitely be on your list.
The Astoria Riverwalk is a great trail for those who love smooth pedestrian ways. It’s roughly 6.4 miles, and you can either walk it or ride a bike! The Riverwalk stretches along part of the Astoria & Columbia River Railroad.
As you walk, you’ll notice there are a ton of breweries, restaurants, and fun things to see and do. There are also information kiosks so you can have a sense of where you are and what’s around you.
It’s also home to the famous 1913 trolley that you can hop aboard. When you get on this trolley, you get a full narrative on the history of the sights that you pass. If you follow the trail long enough, you will be taken under the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which is a great sight for photos!
CATHEDRAL TREE TRAIL
Oregon, and particularly Astoria, are home to some beautiful hiking trails. One of these beauties happens to be the Cathedral Tree Trail, which spans just over one and a half miles. It’s open to all skill levels and has amazing views of nature and wildflowers all along the way. Locals here love to take their pups on a walk here since dogs are allowed.
Of course when on this trail, you need to see the magical 300-year-old cathedral tree. It is a Sitka tree that is often marveled at by hikers, and is one of the main reasons for going on this trail.
Other extraordinary sights include the Astoria Column, which is at the top of the hike and offers views of Astoria. It’s roughly 125-feet high, so not too scary for those afraid of heights.
ASTORIA MEGLER BRIDGE
If you are looking for a beautiful backdrop, then there is no better spot than the Astoria-Megler Bridge at sunset. It was the final addition of Route 101 connecting Oregon to Washington, sitting right over the Columbia River. The bridge stretches 4.1 miles and is a cantilever truss bridge. If you aren’t taking pictures from below, it’s also worth the ride up top.
The bridge construction started in 1962. The steel structure was made 90 miles away in Vancouver, Washington, and put on barges to go down the Columbia River to Astoria. Four years later in 1966, the bridge was open to traffic.
THE LEWIS AND CLARK NATIONAL AND STATE HISTORICAL PARKS
If you want a firsthand experience with the Lewis and Clark expedition, then Astoria is the place to be.
At the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks, you will find tons of hiking and walking trails that lead to several important historical sites within the grounds. During the summer months, you will find park rangers dressed up in costume for history demonstrations at these sites.
If you really want to see the best views of all of Astoria, then you need to make your way to Coxcomb Hill. There you will find the Astoria Column, which has been offering views from 125 feet into the air since 1926 when it was constructed. Warning — it is 126 stairs from the bottom to the top! While it’s not too bad, it’s still a workout.
At the top, you’ll find telescopes that help you see unparalleled views of the Columbia River, the Pacific Ocean, and the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
When you make your way down, feel free to eat at one of the surrounding parks’ picnic tables. After that, you can choose from any of the nearby hiking trails including the Cathedral Tree Trail!
UPPERTOWN FIREFIGHTERS MUSEUM AND CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
The Uppertown Firefighters Museum and Children’s Museum are fun for the entire family. The museum has a lot of space and features interesting firefighting equipment from hundreds of years ago. You can find equipment from 1873 to 1963. From horse-drawn engines, to the updated motorized engine, this museum exhibits it all.
There is also quite a lot of memorabilia and photos to help visitors understand the timeline of how firefighting worked from back then to its modern-day today. The most interesting fact? The building was originally a brewery and closed down during the prohibition.
PAINTED LADY LAVENDER FARM
This property certainly is unique. The Painted Lady Lavender Farm has been owned by the same family for over 40 years. More than 25 years ago, they opened it up to the public because visitors wanted to see all the lavender that they were growing.
They also make homemade lavender products right there on-site for visitors to buy as souvenirs and use as home products. Their good-smelling dryer packets are especially popular with the locals.
You’ll need to drive over the Astoria-Megler Bridge and head into Ilwaco, Washington to see this spot!
DAY TRIP TO CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT
At the Mouth of the Columbia and just a little bit into Washington, you will find a beautiful landscape and state park called Cape Disappointment. Ironically, it’s anything but that.
Full of history, this area is most notable for Lewis and Clark as well as the voyage of Captain John Meares’. You can head into the Lewis and Clark Interactive Center or explore military bunkers among other historic sights on the grounds.
You can also take in the beauty of the nature found here, with a hike through the dense forests overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s 2023 acres so make sure to leave the day open for all the activities and exploring.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO OREGON
- HOT SPRINGS OREGON: 16 Hot Springs In Oregon You Must Visit
- ALL THINGS OREGON: 38 Absolutely Phenomenal Things To Do In Oregon
- SEASIDE: 14 Amazingly Fun Things To Do In Seaside Oregon
- OREGON COAST: 16 Gorgeous Oregon Coast Towns You’ve Got To Visit
- PORTLAND: 15+ Perfect Things To Do In Portland Oregon
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WHERE TO STAY IN ASTORIA, OREGON
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