We recently day tripped to Astoria, Oregon and my only regret was not staying longer.
Usually on our trips I do a lot of research and make a list of sights to see and places to go, but this time we decided winging it might be fun!
Here are my ten absolute musts for your trip
1. Stop for SAKE on your drive- if your coming from Portland, Oregon
Though we hit the road early in the morning, we figured its never too early for SAKE. We made a quick stop at Sake One The nice thing about going early was we were the only people in the tasting room. The tasting room attendant was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. We each got to taste six hefty portions of sake according to our taste palette we provided him with. The tasting also was only 5 bucks! It was a total score, and totally worth the minor detour. If you stop by later in the day, enjoy your sake on the quiet and sunny patio. Maybe even take a bottle home with you!
2. Fort Stevens
This state park is filled with trails, rock ledges, and an expansive beach for exploring. You can even drive on it! I LOVE drive on beaches- mostly because you don’t have to pack anything in or out!! We walked along the main beach where kids were wildly running through puddles along the shore and using a massive ship wreck as a jungle gym. After relaxing for a bit, we drove a little further into the park and spent a good chunk of time at the South Jetty. We ate a packed lunch on top the rocks, and strolled aimlessly around where the ocean meets the river. After being in the sun all morning, we were ready to head into town and explore.
3. Walk the boardwalk
Upon arriving into town, we were hot and read for a drink. We decided to walk down the old fashioned boardwalk which lines itself parallel to the Columbia River. As massive ships pass by, you cant help but be content in just watching it all. As we walked along the river we noticed a brewery booming with business and figured that would be the spot!
4. Brew with a view (Buoy Brewing Co.)
Buoy brewing is your standard brew pub with a more seaside vibe. The atmosphere was bright and cheery, and their beers have unique and refreshing flavors. The real seller here though is the view. Massive windows back the bar, and as we sat on stools and cooled off we stared off into the water and leisurely decided what to do next. In any town you go to, always ASK THE LOCALS. We motioned over the bartender and asked her where we needed to go to get the freshest and most superb seafood. She told us where we absolutely HAD to go. After a quick google search, we realized the seafood joint was closing in just thirty minutes. We chugged our beers-literally, and ran across the boardwalk over to car and headed to by far the best seafood experience I’ve had in Oregon.
5. Northwest Wild Products
So as the story continues we rushed to what looked like an empty parking lot. We were sure we followed the bartenders instructions. We decided to each go a different direction and sure enough, around the back side of the pier was a small little shack with a small little door and a no frills sign, reading “fresh seafood.” Don’t let the simplicity of this place fool you. Ron the owner, a local fisherman brings his freshest finds and cooks up pretty much anything you want. We went with razor clams on a stick, clam chowder, and a big ol bowl of steamers. People with amazing food in hand, and giant picnic tables line the back of the boat dock. Eating this food, under the bridge, in the coziest of docks couldn’t have been a more perfect moment. If you only do one thing in Astoria, Oregon-go to Northwest Wild Products, and remember to order clams on a stick!!!!!
6. The Town
Quaint but cute is how I would describe the small shops and few downtown streets. Quirky bookstores and knick knack shops were among my favorite.
7. Visit The Sea Lions
We could have spent the rest of our night here, literally. Dozens and dozens of sea lions lay loudly at Pier 39. As we watched and snapped photos, we had the most wonderful time studying these creatures, and laughing as they flopped each other around and loudly let everyone know they were there and there to stay. DO NOT GO TO ASTORIA without visiting this pier. A true wildlife encounter that will leave you smiling and in awe.
8. Astoria Column
As the sun began to set over the sea lions we had about fifteen minutes to catch the sunset from what another bartender told us was the best view in town. We winded up the hill and parked in front of a massive column. We did not want to miss the sunset up top, so we booked it up 164 steps and walked out onto the viewing deck. Large enough to hold only about twenty people comfortably, we almost had the whole thing to ourselves. The views spanned 360 degrees and left you feeling like you were melting right into the sunset as it slowly drifted down into the coastline. What a jaw dropping end to our day. The views from the bottom are gorgeous but if you’ve made the journey there, definitely go up top. very worth the haul.
9. Grab coffee on your way home!
Before hitting the road we figured we could use a pick me up for the drive back to Portland. We were so warmed by Astoria Coffee House and Bistro. We got there pretty close to closing time, meaning coffee most likely wasn’t just brewed, and they gave it to us for FREE! Adorable little seats line the outside of the shop and open doors allows indoor/outdoor seating. What an adorable little spot. Make sure to unwind from your big day here.
10. The Goonies House, IF YOU DARE!!!
As most people know, Astoria, Oregon holds the house from the movies the Goonies. Driving up to see the house can be risky. The current owner DOES not like people peeping her house- as the locals told us. We decided to dive by anyway, the driveway looked tempting, but we got spooked and didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Maybe you wont be as chicken as we were, and you’ll scope it out.
Well thats all I got! Happy Travels