The rugged Oregon coast is among the most beautiful shorelines anywhere. Although it may not have the sunbaked beaches of a tropical locale, there’s not much that beats a day on the Oregon coast. And this holds true not only for sunny summer days, but wonderful winter days as well.
A perfect winter beach trip can be made to the historic town of Astoria, Oregon, which sits just inland from the coastal spot where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific. Founded in 1811 and steeped in history, Astoria is home to some incredible scenery — giant freighters plying the Columbia, vantage points that make the ocean look endless — as well as a unique culinary and retail scene. The city is also just a few miles from incredible beaches, waterfalls and hiking trails.
So ditch the flip flops but pack your shades — sun breaks can be glorious this time of year — and head to beautiful Astoria, Oregon. Here’s our guide to some of the area’s highlights.
Take a Hike
Astoria Column: No trip to Astoria would be complete without a climb up the 164 steps of the Astoria Column. The 125-foot monument sits 600 feet above sea level and offers an immaculate view of the Columbia River, the Pacific Ocean and everything else around.
Forest Hikes: Nearby forest hikes include the 3-mile roundtrip stroll to the Cathedral Tree, the 4.5-mile Clatsop Spit Loop near the mouth of the Columbia and a 1.5-mile amble along the Lewis and Clark River.
Beach Hikes: Great beach walks abound at the nearby Fort Stevens State Park, including one that takes you right up to the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a sailing vessel that ran aground in 1906.
Eat and Drink
Downtown Astoria has undergone a revival in recent years, bringing new culinary options to town while also revitalizing longtime staples. Blue Scorcher Bakery, Silver Salmon Grille and TPaul’s Urban Café offer healthy, locally-sourced meals alongside hearty variations of the fish and chips, while other options like the Columbian Cafe and the Bridgewater Bistro help round out the scene. By far, the best fish and chips in town come from the Bowpicker, a funky little stand that serves its fare out of an old fishing boat.
Check out the Sights
There’s plenty to see and do all over Astoria, visiting the Columbia River Maritime Museum to learn the story of the daring Columbia River bar pilots or taking in all the history at Fort Stevens State Park. The stunning Youngs River Falls are a short, but worthwhile, drive just outside town, and when it’s running, the Astoria Riverfront Trolley is a great way to get a good perspective of the historic waterfront — including the barking sea lions that have taken over some of the river docks.
Just don’t try to get a peek at the “Goonies” house. The owners were overrun by onlookers and had to shut it down for their own safety, sanity, and privacy. Instead. head to the Oregon Film Museum for a look at film history.
Have any favorite spots along the Oregon coast to escape to? Please let us know in the comments below!
Liberty Theatre photo courtesy of Marie (m-gem) via Flickr. Mouth of the Columbia River photo courtesy of Aaron Hockley via Flickr. Silver Salmon Grille photo courtesy of Mary Anne Thygesen via Flickr. Goonies House photo courtesy of Ryan P77 via Flickr.