Sunset over the 4-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington.
Sunset over the 4-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington.

At Oregon’s edge and cultural center, Astoria melds maritime history, art and recreation

written by Ryn Pfeuffer

Located at the northwestern tip of Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, Astoria beckons with maritime tales in the Columbia River Maritime Museum. But it’s not just history—expect stunning river vistas, hikes along the Astoria Riverwalk Trail and escapes to Fort Stevens State Park.

Discover Astoria’s brewery scene at Fort George Brewery and relish Pacific Northwest flavors in fresh seafood. Wander through Victorian downtown charm, peruse art galleries and embrace the welcoming community. Whether you crave history, outdoor thrills, great food or cultural immersion, Astoria has it all for an unforgettable coastal adventure.

Upon arrival, check into the chic and pet-friendly Bowline Hotel, which sits right on the river, then start your day with a leisurely walk along the Astoria Riverwalk Trail. The views of Youngs Bay and the Astoria-Megler Bridge from the 6-mile trail are magical. If it happens to be Sunday, explore the local crafts and treats at the Sunday Market. While downtown, wander through shops and galleries. And don’t miss the chance to climb 164 steps to the observation deck at the Astoria Column for a panoramic view of the Columbia River.

Climb up to the Astoria Column in town.
Climb up to the Astoria Column in town.
Photo by Don Frank/Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce

Here’s the scoop: The Astoria Riverfront Trolley is your ticket to a history lesson with a view. From March to October (weather permitting), it cruises along the riverfront, letting you hop on and off as you please. Get ready for tales of maritime history, fish canning lore, Columbia River log jams and even a peek at the Goonies house and a Free Willy movie spot in an old fish cannery. It’s a slice of living history—and the scenery’s top-notch.

Later in the day, swing by the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Before diving in, catch the movie in the auditorium—it’s like a backstage pass to Columbia River history. Once inside, buckle up for a time-traveling experience through various eras, from pioneer and fur-trading days to the WWII era and right into the present.

From there, it’s a three-minute walk to the Bowpicker. It’s a food truck, but not your usual kind. It’s set up a fish and chips shop in an old gillnet boat. But there’s a twist—they use tuna instead of the usual cod or halibut in their signature dish. Expect a line, but it’s worth every minute. Check their socials before you go ( It’s open until they sell out, so bring cash and go big with the whole order, not just a half.

Fish and chips from Bowpicker, a unique foodboat.
Fish and chips from Bowpicker, a unique foodboat.
Photo by Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce

Just a quick jaunt up the road, you’ll hit Fort George Brewery & Public House, a whole city block packed with goodness—three restaurants, a tasting room, breweries, a cannery and even music venues all under one roof. Dive into an Electric Surfboard Double IPA—the can art by Larry Shuler of Shuler Surfboards is worth it. Or, for something bold, grab a Michelada by the Foot, a concoction of fruit purée, tomato juice, hot sauce, lime juice, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Before heading to bed, slip into one of the Bowline’s little private saunas on the pier.

Rise and shine the following day at Blue Scorcher Bakery & Café. From French classics to specialty loaves, this worker-owned cooperative has it all. Indulge in their ginger chocolate cookies, Aunt Ethel’s macaroons or a slice of poppy seed loaf topped with blackberry glaze—perfect for vegans and gluten-free folks. Pair your choice with fair-trade, locally roasted coffee from Astoria Coffee Co.

Right outside of Astoria is Fort Stevens State Park. It’s a massive playground spanning 3,763 acres. Picture this: superb beaches, trails snaking around for hiking and biking, plus a dose of history with its own fortress. And don’t skip the spooky yet captivating Peter Iredale shipwreck—its metal hull is a monument to its demise in 1906. Quick tip: Low tide is the magic hour for the best view. Some areas need an Oregon State Parks pass, $5 for a day or $30 for a year; other spots are free. Dog lovers, you’re in luck—it’s a pup paradise. Because this is Oregon, you can also drive right on the beach in certain areas.

The visible wreck of the Peter Iredale, the four-masted ship that ran ashore in 1906.
The visible wreck of the Peter Iredale, the four-masted ship that ran ashore in 1906.
Photo by Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce



Blue Scorcher Bakery & Café

Bowpicker Fish & Chips

Fort George Brewery & Public House


Bowline Hotel


Astoria Column

Astoria Riverwalk Trail

Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Columbia River Maritime Museum

Fort Stevens State Park

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