The past week had been tough in Kirkland. I was sick and needed getaway. I have spent 7 years in the greater Seattle area. Its been 4 months since I crossed Washington state borders. I knew about Astoria from someone who grew up there at Timberfest the year before. So I made a plan the day before to just GO!
Astoria fitted my parameters in terms of:
- Around 3 hours driving time ✓
- Pretty pictures on the Internet ✓
- Out of Washington state ✓
- History and uniqueness ✓
- Lighthouse ✓
- Waterfront ✓
- Free parking ✓
- Reasonably priced place to stay ✓
- 2 days worth of things to do in an around the city ✓
- Safe ✓
Day 1 in Astoria, Oregon
I set out an hour late and stopped by for a meal on the way. I decided to go to Baked Alaska in the evening. I skipped checking in for the evening. Columbia Inn has 24 hour check-in :). Columbia River Maritime Museum, as they say takes 2 hours to browse. Even if you’re not a boat buff, its’s cool to know to know that the Columbia bar is the most dangerous place to sail, that the water could swell up to 40 feet in the air or that the big boats with protruding bows are tugboats. Some trivia is fun to look at even if you don’t retain the information like the flags or the lingo. Its a lot of reading if you’re into it. They have an actual torpedo and lightship but most of the other exhibits are models or replicas. I think it was sweet and respectful to even have a memorial for Japanese soldiers who lost their lives in WWII. Japanese soldiers carried a memento of the Japanese flag and signatures from well wishers. Some American soldiers showed them off as trophies after defeating them. Those flags are now being returned to their families at no cost. If you see one thing in Astoria this day, this should be it 🙂
The Fort Clatsop National Memorial was where the Lewis and Clark expedition stopped by for a bit. It has a log cabin where they stayed and some trivia. I walked to Netul’s landing because I needed a walk after all that driving but it’s something you can skip. Its a new one and I didn’t think it had a lot of exhibits. I spent less time here.
Stopping by at El Catrin for their delicious cucumber margarita (virgin) might just be my own palette :). I had my dinner there too although there were other places people rave about more. I love Mexican food. Their carne asada was presented really well, one of the best I have seen.
Though you can see the Astoria-Megler Bridge from just about anywhere in Astoria, driving on it is a different experience. The view while crossing it from Oregon to Washington border is lovely in the evening. I couldn’t take a picture obviously. You might want to skip if you don’t want to drive along the Oregon coast to see some of the parks. Because you will cross it on the way back anyway. I had other plans 🙂
I came across the 6th street viewing platform as I checked in Columbia Inn. Now Columbia Inn is basic and just enough. It was cheaper than some of the airbnbs the time I was booking so why not? My favorite thing about it might be it’s proximity to this platform. It’s quiet, not super touristy and I enjoyed the sunset from there. I was going to see it from the Astoria tower but I was too tired to climb stairs at this point. The park is open till dusk. The salmon/ quinoa in the picture is a special at Baked Alaska. The peppercorn chive butter was to die for!
I was too exhausted from the drive to check out the nightlife. Commercial street looked like a fun place to check out if you still have energy 🙂
Day 2 in Astoria, Oregon
The morning of day 2 might be the one thing I didn’t eff up on my trip lol. I looked up and found 14th Street cafe. Got some healthy breakfast and a large OJ included. As I walked to my car, I caught a glimpse of 14th street ferry dock and walked straight towards it. Watching the boats sail into the horizon relaxes me. Half an hour is probably enough here.
The Astoria Column is the highlight of Astoria. Can’t miss it. It is at an elevation as is and has stairs to climb all the way to the top. In addition to the views of Columbia river, boats, mountains and the Astoria-Megler bridge, it has relevant historical milestones and dates wrapped around it. Astoria is America’s first (non-native) settlement west of the Rocky mountains (1811). This lighthouse was built in 1926.
Flavel House Museum was next. I stopped by Astoria Warrenton visitor center to kill time before before the museum opened. They had a lot of good information for things to do, family friendly activities, trails around Astoria and the Flavel house itself. If you have antsy passengers in the car, their pamphlets are a good way to keep them busy 🙂 The Flavel house was the Queen Anne style home of Capt. George Flavel, one of Astoria’s most influential citizens in the 1800’s. He helped build a lot of the infrastructure of the city. His home was modern for its time with wall to wall carpets, indoor plumbing and central heating.
You have 2 options to see the waterfront, the trolley or just walk. I skipped the trolley because I didn’t want to spend over an hour at the waterfront and cram a lot of history in that time. It has great reviews though. I lied down on the grass till I saw tiny TINY bugs crawl up
I saw Hug Point State Recreation Site, Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site and Oswald West State Park in the evening. That is a lot and they are all on the Oregon coast. Sunset at South Cannon Beach would have been nice but I didn’t want to drive that late. Hug point has rock formations with algae around them and caves. Arcadia has rocks with corals and caves as well. South Cannon beach has a bigger rock formation if you think the bigger the better. See pictures of me in an umbrella ;). I just seated the back of my head on my purse and lied there under the Sun before my drive back. My favorite might have been Oswald West. For ocean views, this one had a horizon till my forehead. Wow! I just stopped on highway 101 for a quick look. If had to do this again, I would have skipped some of the other parks and spent more time there.
Dinner? Seaside seemed like a charming town on my way. I went to a seafood restaurant called Doogers. Really nice restaurant. When I asked them for raw oysters (not on the menu), I though they were going to be on the half shell. I think they were out of the bottle. Not bad, but a little…umm…weird. They were sweet enough to ask me if I was Ok with it but I was in no mood for fried or breaded food before driving. Their chowder was delicious. I was ready for the long drive back now.
My itinerary panned out differently from the one below. I spent time looking up things to do on the Oregon coast on the fly and spent a little less time doing them. The one displayed is what I would have done if I had to go again. Wet Dog cafe, Bowpicker fish and chips and Astoria trolley are the things I have not tried myself but recommend them based on user reviews. The trip costed me ~$250. It was a bit hectic but I like seeing lots of things 🙂
Short itinerary and logistics:
Day 1 (short)
|Leave Seattle||9:00 a.m.||~$30 gas|
|Lunch at Baked Alaska||12:00 p.m.||$30|
|Check-in your hotel||1:00 p.m.||$87.53|
|*Columbia River Maritime Museum||1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.||$14|
|Fort Clatsop National Memorial||3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.||$0|
|El Catrin||4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.||$11-$30|
|Astoria-Megler Bridge||5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.|
|Wet dog Café||6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.||$11-$30|
|6th Street Viewing Platform||Sunset||$0|
Day 2 (short)
|Breakfast @14th Street cafe||8:45 a.m.||$11-$30|
|14th street ferry dock||9:30 a.m.||$0|
|*The Astoria Column||10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.||$5 parking|
|Optional: Astoria Warrenton visitor center||~15 min||$0|
|Flavel House Museum||11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.||$6|
|Bowpicker Fish & Chips||12:30 – 1:30 p.m.||$11-$30|
|Astoria Riverfront Trolley/
Astoria river walk
|2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.||$1/ $0|
|Hug Point State Recreation Site||3:45 p.m.- 4:15 p.m.||$0|
|*Oswald West State Park||4:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.||$0|
|Dinner at Seaside||6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.||$11-$30|
|Drive back to Kirkland||7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.|
* Must see attractions