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14 Fun Things to Do in Astoria this Vacation

We come across many places that are an all-rounder that excels in everything. And one example of one such place in Astoria is worth visiting for everything from nature, great history, architecture, and beaches. The richness of the cultural attractions and the continuation of the tradition is the hallmark of Astoria, Oregon.

Astoria is a beautiful small Oregon city founded in 1811 on the Columbia River. There are many fun things to do in Astoria. It is a small place that helps tourists easily interact with the locals and experience their simple living.

5 Fun Things to do in Astoria

Many films have been shot in Astoria because the makers think that despite being at a waterfront location, the population is working and does not depend only on tourism. That means Astoria is pretty and not fancy.

Before any further ado, let’s move around and explore this beautiful city.

Some Kids-Friendly Places in Astoria

fun things to do in Astoria
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Astoria is full of artifacts, museums, and historical monuments. So, you can choose any of these to visit for historical knowledge with your kids! Because it’s a great starting point for your fun journey at Astoria. Here are some of the best places to visit in Astoria, Oregon: –

1. Columbia River Maritime Museum

The Columbia River maritime museum was founded in 1962 by Rolf Kelp, an avid artifact collector. This maritime museum speaks volumes about Maritime history and the national reputation it exhibits for being the first museum in Oregon. The museum collection exceeds 30,000 objects, 20,000 pictures, and 10,000 volumes of research.

On top of all these, the Columbia river maritime museum also includes great collections of pacific northwest maritime artifacts, life-size models, watercraft, paintings, weapons, and instruments used in different military maritime operations.

Some other famous things to look for in the Columbia river maritime museum are: –

Columbia River Maritime Museum | Astoria, OR

  1. Bridge of WWII
  2. 36 ft US Coast guard motor lifeboat
  3. 44ft lifeboat of another guard
  4. 32ft foot troller
  5. lightship of Columbia
  6. two gillnetting vessels
  7. bar pilot boat
  8. Fresnel lens, and many more.

This place has lots of information and knowledge for the kids to learn. Plus, this included the fun things to do in Astoria and enjoy with kids.

2. Astoria Column

fun things to do in Astoria
Photo by Geoff Chang/Unsplash. Copyright 2022

Astoria Column is a historic tower that holds a great history. It was built in 1926 by Vincent Astor to commemorate his family business history. Austria column stands 38 mt tall, covering 30 acres of the city park.

The inside of the Astoria Column has 164 step spiral staircase, which leads to the observation deck, which was removed for safety reasons from this tower but later added in 2009. The murals and granite plaza are later included in this beautiful historical monument. It is included as one of the best and most fun things to do in Astoria.

3. Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Andy’s Adventures: Astoria Riverfront Trolley

This is a 3-mile streetcar line ride in Astoria using an old freight railroad track along the Columbia River. If you want something exciting and kid-friendly, this trolley is perfect for enjoying time with your little one. Let’s know some basic information about this ride.

It can carry 3500-4000 passengers at a time, which offers seasonal and mainly operates in the spring season. The Astoria riverfront trolley is also voted as the main attraction of Astoria, also known as the symbol or icon of Astoria.

Volunteers from the non-profit Astoria Riverfront Trolley Association (ARTA) maintain the services of this trolley and the tracks, but sometimes Astoria city also provides funds for the cars. It is one of the fun things to do in Astoria and enjoy with kids.

4. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

This historical park also features a replica of the nearby Fort Clatsop National Memorial in memory of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and a visitor center.

It expanded its jurisdiction over multiple sites: – Fort Clatsop, Fort to sea trail, Netul Landing, Saltworks, station camp Clarks, and dismal nitch. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park visit will help you to have a learning getaway for your kids.

Art & Culture Spots to See in Astoria

Astoria is well known for its artifacts and cultural and historical monuments. If you want to explore the artistic side of Astoria, Oregon, and want to know more about its rich culture and history, then you should plan a visit to the below-mentioned places. Try the fun things to do in Astoria: –

5. Oregon Film Museum

Oregon Film Museum highlights and celebrates films shot or produced in Astoria, Oregon. This film Museum is famous for the 1985 film “The Goonies” because the opening scene shows a glimpse of this museum. The Clatsop County jail is also featured in free willy, kindergarten cop, twilight, and other movies.

The Goonies Goondocks • Oregon Film Museum Astoria

Oregon Film Museum is located in the old Clatsop County Jail in Astoria, Oregon, and registered on National Historic Places’ pages.

Oregon film museum also features some hands-on & green screens which were used in different films. Visitors can also make their short videos there. In addition, there are memorabilia, costumes, and various collectibles on display in the Oregon film museum. So, that means this film museum has many fun things to do.

6. Captain George Flavel House Museum

Coming down to the beautiful museum in Astoria and the best-kept museum. With perfectly carved wood furnishings built by a well-known fortunate real estate entrepreneur as a retirement home.

This museum was constructed in 1885 by George Flavel. He was a maritime pilot and entrepreneur. Captain George Flavel House Museum has many beautiful masterpieces to praise and a garden to roam and sit in to get along with nature.

6.1. Fort Stevens State Park

fun things to do in Astoria
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Fort Stevens was built to protect the integrity of the vanguard of Columbia. This was a military installation camp to protect the country from external attacks during WWII. Fort Stevens consists of many recreational adventures like fishing, beach visits, camping, wildlife, studying historic shipwrecks, and underground tons of military batteries.

Fort Stevens comes under the jurisdiction of Fort Stevens State Park, which also comes under Lewis and Clark national historical park.

7. Heritage Museum

Heritage Museum is regarded as Astoria’s best-kept museum. Heritage Museum was just a two-story building that was selected as the focal point for the armory building. The Clatsop County Historical Society Heritage Museum was earlier called the Old Astoria Hall.

In 1960 the organization left the building vacant. In 1963, the building turned into Astoria’s first Columbia River Maritime Museum. But later, after 20 years, it shifted to another location and then renamed to heritage museum.

Historical Places in Astoria with Uncovered History

fun things to do in Astoria
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Astoria is full of histories and stories behind the architecture. Suppose you want to explore the historic sites in Astoria. Then it would help if you roamed around more to explore this place’s rich culture and historical beauty. Below are some of the best historical places to include on your bucket list. Though they are not fun things to do in Astoria but an informative trip Astoria:-

8. Uppertown Firefighter’s Museum

Uppertown firefighters museum is under the jurisdiction of the Clatsop county historical society. This museum was built in 1989 and is one of the historic buildings in Astoria, Oregon. This firehouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This museum also features firefighting equipment like hand-pulled, horse-drawn, motorized fire engines, fire-fighting memorabilia, and photos.

9. Fort Columbia State Park

Fort Columbia State Historic Park in Washington State

Fort Columbia is a public recreation center in the area of Fort Columbia located at chinook point, which is at the mouth of the Columbia River. Fort Columbia State Park is spread across 618 acres of area with twelve wooden frame fort buildings.

It was built to support the defense system of the Columbia River. It was constructed at the fire triangle with Fort Canby and Fort Stevens. It is the best place for hiking trails which are 5 miles away up Scarborough hill.

This park has three artillery batteries, two guns, and many picnic facilities. The commanding officers’ quarters are decorated with wood furnishings. If you plan to stay here, Steward’s House and Scarborough house are provided for rental.

10. Wreck of the Peter Iredale

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale (Oregon, 1906)

On October 25, 1906, the Peter Iredale, a four-masted steel bark sailing vessel to the Columbia River, ran ashore on the Oregon coast. It was abandoned in Clatsop spit near fort stevens state park near the Columbia River Channel.

It has also become a popular tourist attraction and is included in the shipwrecks graveyard of the yard. It has been a century since the ocean’s sands had washed off the ship, but its rusted bow and masts are still visible.

This wrecked ship has been under the jurisdiction of Fort Stevens state park, which is a part of the Lewis and Clark national historical park. This is not in fun thing to do in Astoria but definitely a piece of history to feel.

Exotic Outdoors to Hang out with your Loved Ones

After roaming around Astoria’s famous museums and art & cultural places, we now move to some outdoor activities to experience adventure and fun. Surely below mentioned are fun things to do in Astoria, Oregon: –

11. Astoria-Megler Bridge

fun things to do in Astoria
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Astoria-Megler Bridge is a steel cantilever truss bridge situated in the northwest USA. It covers the lower Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon, to Megler, Washington. Astoria-Megler Bridge was built to overcome the weather conditions and travel delays that caused the ferry service a big loss. This bridge stretches for 14 miles.

Astoria Megler Bridge is built for faster and more efficient service to the people. This iconic Astoria Nagler bridge got the frame by featuring free willy, kindergarten cop, short circuit, and the goonies.

Pedestrians are allowed to walk on this bridge only 1 day per year. Motor vehicles generally pass through this bridge to Washington for transportation and other traveling reasons.

12. High Life Adventures Zip Line Tours

If you are an adventure seeker, the high-life adventurous zip line tours are just for you. These eight zip-lining sport is all about majestic landscape, forest, and ponds that make you forget the tiredness of your journey.

This place is perfect for spending an adventurous trip with your lovely family and is counted among the fun places in Astoria, Oregon. Guides are there to assist every person with all the equipment to be used. Though if you are less than 18, then you have to get an agreement signed by your parent or guardian before.

13. Richard Fenscak Cathedral Tree Trail Trailhead

fun things to do in Astoria
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After paying a visit to the Astoria column, you can visit this place with your family. The cathedral tree is spike spruce which is 300 years old. Spreading across its shade to all the visitors.

The trail leads you to the lush green forest with wildflowers and shrubs. There are little signs which point out different species of trees and plants.

Moving on the same trail, you reach the hill now coming from the Broadwalk, and you reach the cathedral tree. This tree has its own stories, and now, crossing the tree, you come down to Irving Avenue.

14. Youngs Bay

Young's Bay Resort 2016

Young’s bay was founded in 1792 and was named after Admiral Sir George Young of the royal navy. Two road bridges were constructed to cross the bay, but this bay is the busiest, located in the northwestern USA.

The old youngs bay is to the east of the youngs river bay. This bay is famous for fishing salmon and sturgeon according to their season. The rising and falling of tides affect the structure of this bay. The bay’s water meets the Columbia River, which later meets the Pacific Ocean in the west.

Cheap Hotel Stay in Astoria to Enjoy your Staycation

If you are planning a long vacation in Astoria, Oregon, then you would also prefer to choose some hotels to stay in.

There are a lot of accommodations, from expensive to budget hotels, to plan a stay in Astoria, Oregon. So, for a better understanding, here are some of the hotels enlisted for you: –

1. Cannery Pie Hotel and Spa

This is one of the luxurious boutique hotels of Astoria, Column. As they say, this hotel is Astoria’s jewel on the sea. It is located 600 feet deep in the Columbia River, the beauty and luxuriousness of Astor regular bridge.

Every room has a private balcony with a beautiful view of the local Astoria life. You get to live with all the facilities of free parking, free wi-fi, early breakfast, wine, freshly baked cookies, and many more perks.

You can also choose to drive cruiser bicycles, get active in the exercise room, and feel relaxed in a Finnish sauna. Apart from the basic facilities, warm and friendly staff with 24-hour front desk help is available for all its customers.

2. Holiday Inn Express and Suites Astoria, Oregon

This is a perfect and comfortable accommodation in Astoria. All the basic facilities like an indoor pool, gym, and free Wi-Fi in all the public areas.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Astoria - Astoria, Oregon

You can also enjoy a spa to relax during your vacation. You can book rooms according to your preference from all the choices provided.

This hotel is a 5-minute walk from the Astoria Riverfront trolley and some miles away from the Oregon film museum and George Flavel house museum. Apart from the basic amenities, the room’s comfort, cleanliness, service, and staff are also very efficient.

3. Comfort Suites Astoria, Oregon

Comfort Suites are comfortable accommodations if you want somewhere to stay near the Astoria column.

This hotel also features an indoor pool, gym, free self-parking, and free public Wi-Fi for all its visitors. You can also enjoy the sauna and spa area of the hotel during your stay.

You get to serve with free buffet breakfast (what else do we need!). The upper town firefighter museum is a 10-minute walk from this hotel as the children’s museum and Hanthorn cannery museum are nearby. In case of emergency, Columbia Memorial Hospital is also a few miles walk.

With all the basic amenities, the free local calls, housekeeping calls, efficient service, and friendly staff is also a plus point for all its customers.

4. Historic Downtown Cottage

You are given all the basic facilities at this accommodation fully furnished furniture, sofa beds, tea and coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves/ovens, utensils, and bathrooms with showers and tubs for all the visitors.

It is a few miles away from the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Reach break breweries, Heritage Museum, Ft. George, and Astoria Riverwalk. This cottage also provides off-street parking, laundry, and a full kitchen.

This is one of the best hotels in downtown Astoria. In short and simple words, you would feel at home while your stay in Astoria, Oregon.

Over All

Astoria is a good option for a staycation. The rich culture, historical monuments, state parks, and other outdoor sites are majestically breathtaking. If you are planning to visit with your friends or family and kids, here are the fun things to do in Astoria.

Astoria is set in an Anne-style Victorian mansion with perfectly manicured gardens. The murals, architecture, and military base camps represent the historical past of Astoria.

I hope you are going to have a great getaway at Astoria. Instead of being at a waterfront location, local Astoria people prefer fishing over tourism.

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Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Susanta Biswas