Astoria has gained notoriety as the preeminent historical city on Oregon's coast. The first US settlement west of the Mississippi, Astoria is a place graced with recently renovated Victorian mansions and views of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-6 at nearby Fort Clatsop after following the river to its terminus in the Pacific, leaving comment on the rain in Fort Clatsop (never unexpected on the coast), as well as the shortage of food and drinking water - obviously modern visitors may still have to contend with the former but there's certainly no shortage of fine dining possibilities or potable beverages these days.
Astoria itself is a modest city, though it's not difficult to fill a long weekend seeing the historic attractions in town and exploring the sites collectively forming Lewis and Clark National Park a few miles outside the center. Before going coastal, take a tour through one of the historic houses in down-town Astoria, enjoy a trip through the Columbia River Maritime Museum and then climb the 164 stairs of Astoria Column for a view of the Columbia, the Pacific and on a clear day even Mt. St. Helens. While at altitude, keep your binoculars handy for some bird spotting- the Astoria area is located along the flight-pattern of over 200 types of fowl.
Six miles south of Astoria is Fort Clatsop National Memorial. There, replicas of the buildings that Lewis and Clark spent their soggy winter in have been reproduced based on drawings from their journals. When you've had your fill of canoe-building or candle-making demonstrations, pitch a tent or enjoy your picnic at Fort Stevens State Park. Bring a bike along and explore 9 miles of trails or walk a mile from the campsite and explore the abandoned gun batteries at Fort Stevens Military Reservation. There are miles of sand accessible from Fort Stevens State Park, and if the weather cooperates, a refreshing dip Coffenbury Lake isn't a bad way to rinse of sand and salt.
Astoria is 72 miles northwest of Portland International Airport and just over 60 miles north of Tillamook on Highway 101. To learn more about the area, please select a topic of interest from the navigation bar on the left.