Astoria, Oregon is a picturesque settlement dotted in Victorian-era homes and perched on the hills along the Columbia River. Astoria is the oldest city in Oregon making it rich in history and culture.
Its iconic bridge over to Washington dominates its shoreline making for a beautiful sight as you walk along the Riverfront path.
And for those after adventure, you can expect hilly hikes, old forts, shipwrecks, and even famous movie locations. These are just a few of the cool things to do in Astoria!
11 Adventurous Things To Do in Astoria
1. Astoria Riverfront—Top Thing to do in Astoria!
For a real sense of Astoria history, riding the Historic Trolley along the waterfront is a must and should be number one on the list of things to do in Astoria, Oregon. The ‘Old 300’ was built in 1913, so it certainly has been around for a while, and today is maintained and operated by a volunteer crew.
Pay just $1 to ride for as long as you like or $2 to hop on and off all day.
On average, a round trip will take you about an hour, with a guide narrating your journey the whole way. It runs from the East End Mooring Basin to the West End Mooring on the original tracks, past restaurants, docks, and piers.
There are plenty of shops and eateries along the route, making it an easy and cost-effective way of seeing the city without having to worry about getting in and out of a car and finding multiple places to park.
The view from the trolley is amazing and ever-changing, from the different angles of the Astoria-Megler Bridge through to see seals and sea lions on the docks.
If you prefer to stretch your legs rather than take the trolley, take a stroll along the Astoria River Trail. You’ll pass museums, restaurants, and breweries, with great views of the river along the way.
One of our favorite stops is at Astoria Brewing, Astoria’s oldest microbrewery. It has been overlooking the Columbia River since 1997 and provides great food accompanied by some amazing views and brews. At the least, you’ve got to pop in for a quick brew and a to-die-for marionberry cobbler!
Astoria is also very well known for the incredible Astoria-Megler Bridge that connects Oregon to Washington. It is a beautiful addition to the city’s skyline, and when crossing, the views of the Columbia River are breathtaking.
2. Airport Dike Trail and Bayfront
The Airport Dike Trail is a 4-mile out and back easy. This pleasant walk will take you through a lush estuary, a prime bird habitat, so bring your binoculars.
As you stroll, you’ll have stunning views of Astoria and Youngs Bay. Every so often, as the name suggests, you’ll see aircraft land at the Astoria Airport.
Start the trail at the end of the Lewis and Clark Bridge along a small access road, where you can also park. From the access road, it is an easy, flat walk along a grassy road that is very well maintained.
The last half of the hike actually runs parallel to the airport runway, offering exceptional views of landing and take-offs. Once you reach the end of the trail, you can continue along the Bayfront Dike Trail by carefully crossing Highway 101.
The Bayfront Dike Trail is an enjoyable hike with a nice distant view of Astoria and the magnificent bridge. You’ll be hiking through the wetlands on this 2-mile flat path, with plenty of opportunities for birdwatching.
You can choose to make this whole trail at once or pick out parts of it to admire Astoria from afar.
RELATED: 17 Breathtaking Oregon Coast Hikes
3. Cathedral Tree Trail and Astoria Column (Most famous Thing to Do in Astoria)
When looking for what to do in Astoria, Oregon, hiking is often one of the first things that come to mind. This hike begins at the Astoria Column parking lot, taking you to the towering Sitka spruce known as the Cathedral Tree.
The tree is just around half a mile from the trailhead, leading through a dense forest, although the route is very well marked. It is a relatively easy walk, although there are some short hills and stairs to tackle.
The Cathedral Tree itself is a massive Sitka spruce tree, said to be around 300 years old, and it is quite a spectacle to behold. It is not clear how tall the tree is exactly, although it is estimated to be around 200 feet, making it one of the most impressive trees on the Oregon coast. One of the most interesting features of the tree is the large, natural opening at its base.
If you are up for extending your adventure, you can continue for an additional mile to the top of Coxcomb Hill and enjoy the 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding area.
As well as checking out the human-made attraction of Astoria Column, this is the perfect way of combining two things to do in Astoria, Oregon, in one trip.
4. Goonie Trails
This stunning coastal city is actually full of secret sidewalks that are not quite forgotten. Over the years, the state and the city have changed with the times and constant battering of the land, so what were once houses and streets are now set back into the forest, once again taken over by the power of nature.
When these streets have become too difficult to maintain, they slowly transform into strange and rarely documented trails known as the Goonie Trails, one of the most fun things to do in Astoria. The trails are named after the famous movie, The Goonies, as most iconic movie scenes were filmed in Astoria, and many filming locations can still be seen around the town today.
Be sure to check out the County Jail, which was used in the film as a jailhouse, and is now home to the Oregon Film Museum. The most famous filming location is probably the Goonies House, and while the house is actually still there, it is not recommended or possible to get close to the house, as people still live there.
Data’s House is right next door but is also located on a private road. There are many other places around the town that you might recognize from the film, such as at the crosswalk opposite Astoria Coffee Co, where the car chase scene takes place, or the Flavel House Museum can be seen in the movie the Goonies cycle down the hill.
5. Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park is just a 20-minute drive from Astoria and is a stunningly diverse park that is well worth the drive. There is so much to do within its 4200 acres, looking out over both the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.
It is one of Oregon’s busiest summer vacation spots with activities such as swimming and fishing in the freshwater lakes, riding on the 9-miles of paved bike trails, walking on the 15-miles of open, sandy beach, hiking on the 5-miles of hiking trails, and watching the birds from one of the many designated viewing platforms, or whales during the winter months.
Visitors can also enjoy the human-made attractions in the park. The area was once a primary military defense at the river’s mouth, and Fort Stevens was an important military installation that can still be explored today. The incredible Peter Iredale shipwreck dominated part of the beach and has been lying on the coast since 1906.
READ MORE: Your Guide to Fort Stevens State Park
Astoria is well known for the huge number of seals and sea lions that can often be spotted frolicking along the river. In fact, Astoria often puts well known American sea lion hotspots, such as San Francisco, to shame.
Huge whales can be seen all along the coast here, like in nearby Fort Stevens State Park or Ecola State Park, making their way down to warmer waters. It is fairly common at Ecola State Park to see huge Roosevelt Elk slowly emerging from the trees to graze. The state parks are also a great spot for spotting every Northwest bird imaginable.
Thousands of birds live and migrate through the coastal town of Astoria, where they take advantage of the lush wetlands where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.
One of the best places to catch sight of Bald Eagles is the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, where you’ll see them hunting over the open water from your roadside observation deck. You also have a good chance of spotting the Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Canada Geese in the winter.
Things to Do Near Astoria, Oregon
7. Young River Falls
If you’re looking for a nice and easy walk down to a stunning waterfall, the Youngs River Falls area is for you. It is a beautiful place to explore a beautiful stretch of river hidden by dense forest.
The falls are a scenic 50-foot plunge on the Youngs River, just about 15 minutes outside Astoria. A short 0.25-mile trail starts from the signs and winds downhill to the waterfall’s base.
It is the perfect place to relax, with a nice little swimming hole a few feet downstream of the falls and a rocky beach at the base of the falls. The deepest spot of this swimming area is 5.7 feet.
The stop makes for a popular roadside attraction for those exploring this part of Oregon, as you can stretch your legs on the trail and even take a dip in the warmer weather. Part of the allure of these falls is their fame, having featured in several movies such as Free Willy 2.
RELATED: 29 Stunning Oregon Waterfall Hikes
8. Cannon Beach
As soon as you set eyes on Cannon Beach, you will be able to see why it is one of Oregon’s most favorite coastal destinations. It is stunning, with plenty for everyone to enjoy.
Just a stroll along the sand is reason enough to make the trip to this striking beach, just 40 minutes south of Astoria. Haystack Rock is the real attraction here, towering a majestic 235 foot out of the ocean just off the coast.
At low tide, the pools at the base of the rock are filled with a huge variety of colorful sea creatures, while the birdlife around the rock is sure to satisfy even the most avid birdwatcher. Common sightings include Tufted Puffins, Brown Pelicans, and Bald Eagles.
READ MORE: 14 Adventurous Things To Do in Cannon Beach
9. Ecola State Park
The viewing area at Ecola State Park offers one of the most stunning vistas on the Oregon Coast. It is easy to miss this coastal beauty if you are on your way to more well-known sights such as Cannon Beach, but if you have time to make a stop, you certainly will not be disappointed.
The drive to the park is beautiful in itself, winding through stands of Sitka spruce and western hemlock. The views stretch all the way south past Cannon Beach and north towards Seaside.
Have a picnic, a stroll, or if you’re up for a little more of a walk, take the Tillamook Head Trail or the Clatsop Loop Trail, taking you to dramatic ocean viewpoints.
One of the most iconic sights at Ecola State Park is ‘Terrible Tilly,’ a decommissioned lighthouse that sits on a rock out to sea, named for the severe weather conditions that often batter the lighthouse.
10. Town of Seaside
The town of Seaside is close to Astoria and has plenty of adventurous things to do that will keep you entertained for a day or two.
You can’t visit the town without taking the famous Promenade Walk. It is a 1.5-mile paved walkway that runs alongside the ocean, with lovely views on one side and cute cottages, coffee shops, and eateries on the other. At the end of the prom, you’ll find one of Seaside’s historical landmarks, the Lewis and Clark Monument.
For those that want to take to the water, there are a few options in Seaside. The Necanicum River is the perfect place for kayaking. Alternatively, there is Quatat Park, which offers a range of different boat rental options, from stand-up paddleboards to floating trikes, which can be a lot of fun.
This part of Oregon has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest, making it a hotspot for surfers. There are plenty of local surf shops that provide both rentals and lessons. Seaside Cove is one of the most popular spots, as in the winter, the surf is huge and stormy, but smaller and more gentle in the summer.
There are lots of places to eat or grab a drink in town, and once you have tired yourself out with all the adventurous activities on offer, take a soak in the Ashore Hotel’s saline pools; there is nothing more relaxing.
11. Scenic Drive Over To Washington
Once you’ve tired of walking all around the city, hop in the car and take the scenic drive over to the neighboring state of Washington. The drive will take you over the Columbia River mouth, starting at Astoria.
You’ll cross the stunningly scenic and famous Astoria Bridge, where the river merges with the Pacific Ocean, and then catch Washington 101 on the other side.
Carry on along the 2-mile wide Long Beach Peninsula to Seaview. The area has made a name for itself for having the ‘world’s longest beach drive,’ thanks to its 28-miles of sand.
Once you reach the southern end, make sure you spend a little time exploring Cape Disappointment State Park. The drive ends at Leadbetter State Park for even more hikes and scenic viewpoints.
Lodging and Camping Around Astoria, Oregon
Fort Stevens State Park Campground
The campsite at Fort Stevens State Park is huge, one of the biggest in the Oregon State Park system. There are over 300 campsites available, many of which come with full hookups.
All of the sites have electricity and water, and on-site, you’ll find flush toilets, hot showers, and a dump station. Although the campground is big, it is pretty popular, especially in the peak months, so it is best to book in advance.
If you don’t have an RV or fancy a bit more of a luxury camping experience, Fort Stevens also offers yurts. They are spacious and have weatherproof canvases, so it will almost be like you are in a tent, but with a little extra added comfiness.
There is enough space to sleep 5 people, and it comes with a fire ring and picnic table like the other camping sites.
RELATED: 21 Amazing Yurts on the Oregon Coast
There are also deluxe cabins, offering a picturesque place to spend the night under the trees. They come with heating and electricity and are kitted out with beds, tables, chairs, kitchens, and their own restrooms with showers.
The Float House at Jack Creek
Located literally on the John Day River, just minutes from Astoria, the Float House makes for the perfect base to explore all the things to do in Astoria, Oregon. The house was once a floating store but has been lovingly converted into the perfect little place to enjoy a stay in this part of the state, for river recreation and relaxation.
The house has a full kitchen, laundry room, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, and modern and convenient amenities like high-speed wifi and smart TVs. If that’s not enough, any guest that stays here is also welcome to use the kayaks and rowboat to explore the river.
Since the house is actually floating, it will be affected by the tides, meaning it will go up and down with the river’s level, which is quite a cool thing to experience.
Shipping Container Glamping
For a seriously cool glamping experience, consider staying in this awesome shipping container. This shipping container will give you a tiny piece of luxury, just 6-miles south of Astoria. The indoor space has a full kitchen, laundry, bath, and a huge, 900 square foot wrap-around covered deck.
The accommodation sits on a private, partially wooded property, with a small creek meandering through. Although small, the interior is plush, with a queen-sized comfort sleeper and a flat-screen TV.
If you are traveling in a bigger party, the hosts also provide an eight-person tent and up to six sleeping mats. The outdoor dining area can also accommodate up to eight people, and there is a firepit nearby where you can enjoy s’mores and drinks around the campfire.
Oregon native, photographer, videographer, adventurer.