As the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, the Astoria-Warrenton region is a nationally significant historic area, encompassing the western end of the Lewis & Clark Trail. Astoria is a place that takes visitors back to simpler times, with architecture dominated by Victorian homes on steep wooded hillsides and a revitalized 1920s-era downtown. The region is set against a backdrop of natural beauty at the mouth of the Columbia River, with a working waterfront in Astoria and beaches for exploring in Warrenton.
The region is perhaps best known as the place where the Lewis and Clark expedition “wintered over” in 1805-1806 with the Corps of Discovery at Fort Clatsop. The expedition spent its time hunting, making moccasins and clothing, trading with the Clatsop, Tillamook and Chinook American Indians and reporting in their journals.
Long before these famous adventurers arrived, many sea captains attempted to discover the mouth of the “great river of the Northwest,” which was believed to connect the Pacific Ocean with the Northern Atlantic. Captain Robert Gray, a fur trader from Boston interested in acquiring furs to trade with China for silk, discovered the area in 1792 and was the first to maneuver past the dangerous sand bar that protected the mouth of the river. Despite Gray venturing up the river only a short way before turning around and resuming his hunt for furs, he named the waterway the Columbia River after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva.
The fur trade put Astoria on the map. In 1811, five years after the departure of Lewis and Clark, John Jacob Astor, a New York financier, and at the time the world’s richest man, sent fur traders to establish a trading post. They built Fort Astoria on a site now preserved as a monument downtown. Although Astor never set foot in the city, he became its namesake. In the late 1800s, Astoria’s cannery, forest and shipping industries turned the city into the liveliest boomtown between Seattle and San Francisco.
Similar to Astoria, Warrenton began with East Coast roots. A New Yorker named Daniel Knight Warren purchased 900 acres across Youngs Bay in 1885. He offered free lots to anyone who agreed to build a high-quality home. In 1899, after many years of successful construction, community leaders formed the city.
Astoria – Nestled along the Columbia River and surrounded by the natural beauty of forests and hills, is the charming community of Astoria. Home to a community of approximately 9,500 residents, Astoria is recognized as the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies and is home to more buildings on the National Historic Register per square foot than anywhere else in the state. The city is also well-known as a popular backdrop for many movies, including The Goonies. The year 2011 marked Astoria’s bicentennial anniversary and was filled with exciting events to celebrate this major milestone.
Warrenton – The City of Warrenton sits just across the bay from Astoria. The community of approximately 5,000 takes pleasure in the region’s gorgeous backdrop and beautiful beaches, which give way to great opportunities for recreation and quiet respite. Warrenton offers a laid-back, small-town ambience with popular outdoor attractions including Fort Stevens State Park, the Warrenton Waterfront Trail, Cullaby Lake, and the Fisherman’s Lighthouse Park.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge
The Astoria-Megler Bridge is recognized as the longest continuous truss in the U.S., spanning an impressive 1,232 feet in length. The bridge, which was formally dedicated in 1966, travels 4.1 miles from Astoria, across the mouth of the Columbia River, to Point Ellice, WA. Not only has the Astoria-Megler Bridge been a significant benefit for motorist drive-time, it also offers amazing views of the Columbia River and the hills of Astoria. Construction on the structure began in November 1962 and opened in August of 1996. The toll was removed in 1993 once the project was paid for.
Take in 360-Degree Views from Atop the Astoria Column
In a wooded park towering above Astoria’s highest hill, the Astoria Column presents a panoramic view of the city and surrounding rivers, bay, forest, mountains and Pacific Ocean. Built in 1926, the column is 125 feet high and boasts 164 steps circling to a viewing deck at the top. On the outside, it features a completely restored depiction of historical events leading to the initial settlement of Astoria and western America. Visitors’ facilities are available, including restrooms and a gift shop. Location: The monument is situated on top of Coxcomb Hill in a residential district above downtown Astoria. Hours: Open dawn to dusk.
Visit the Nationally Accredited Columbia
River Maritime Museum
Located on Astoria’s historic waterfront, the 44,200-square-foot Columbia River Maritime Museum brings to life the rich maritime heritage of the entire Columbia River region. The recently renovated museum houses interactive exhibits that combine many historical objects with cutting-edge technology. Exhibit galleries in the internationally acclaimed museum include: fur trade and exploration; navigation and marine safety; fishing, whaling and canneries; sailing vessels; steamboats on the Columbia River; and naval history. A tour onboard the lightship Columbia – the last seagoing lightship to serve on the West Coast – is included with museum admission. Location: 1792 Marine Dr. Phone: (503) 325-2323. Website: www.crmm.org.
Walk In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark
Discover Oregon as it was in the days of the earliest explorers with a visit to Fort Clatsop, a replica of Lewis and Clark’s winter outpost, where the expedition sheltered for four months before returning east. The park-like setting includes the reconstructed fort, a visitor center, historical exhibits, a canoe landing thought to have been used by Lewis and Clark and picnic areas, all joined by trails through the wetlands and rainforest of the park. During the summer months, park rangers outfitted in historical clothing of the day depict original explorer activities at the fort including candle making, meat smoking and canoe building. Fort Clatsop is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, created to honor the bicentennial anniversary of the exploration. Location: About five miles southwest of Astoria, off U.S. 101. Phone: (503) 861-2471. Website: www.nps.gov/lewi.
Discover a Turn-of-the-Century Shipwreck
On the Pacific Ocean beach, walk through the remains of the iron-hulled sailing ship, Peter Iredale, which ran aground in 1906. Once a graceful three-masted sailing ship, the Peter Iredale was attempting to enter the mouth of the Columbia River when it fell victim to an ocean storm. While the years have worn away at the ship’s original appearance, visitors can still view what remains of the rusted iron hull. The ship is one of the most photographed wrecks in the U.S. Location: Fort Stevens State Park; follow signs to Peter Iredale Beach.
Relive the Victorian Era at the Flavel House
Experience the luxury and elegance of the late Victorian period at the Flavel House Museum, an historic 1885 Queen Anne-style Victorian home built for Captain George Flavel, one of the first licensed Columbia River bar pilots and Astoria’s first millionaire. The 1885 home features original Eastlake influenced woodwork, period furnishings and exotic hardwood fireplace mantels. Tours begin at the Carriage House Visitor Center (located behind the house on the corner of 7th and Exchange), which contains additional exhibits, the museum store and an orientation video. Location: Downtown Astoria on the corner of Eighth and Duane. Website: www.cumtux.org.
Learn About Astoria’s Rich History at the Heritage Museum
Built in 1904 as Astoria’s City Hall, this building now houses the Clatsop County Historical Society’s Heritage Museum, research center and archives. Galleries explore the history of Clatsop County through permanent and changing exhibits about natural history, geology, commerce, pastimes and the people of this historically rich region. Highlights include American Indian artifacts and more than 10,000 cataloged historic photographs. Location: Downtown Astoria on the corner of 16th and Exchange. Phone: (503) 325-2203. Website: www.cumtux.org.
Ride “Old 300” – Astoria’s Riverfront Trolley
Hop aboard this 40-passenger antique trolley for some of the best scenery on the waterfront. Historic “Old 300” travels along the Columbia Riverfront tracks, crossing the city from the West End Mooring Basin east to 39th St. Built in 1914 by the American Car Company of St. Louis, the car was restored by 300 volunteers, including skilled local craftsmen and artists, who worked more than 2,800 hours during a five-month period in 1999. It is now operated entirely by community volunteers. Please call the Chamber of Commerce at (800) 875-6807 for a current schedule. Due to the historic nature of the trolley, it rarely operates in the rain. The trolley is equipped with a GPS device that reports to a website with its current location and heading, accessible through www.oldoregon.com. Location: Board the trolley anywhere along the waterfront by waving at the conductor or going to one of the covered benches located at: 39th, 36th, 30th, 20th, 17th, 14th, 11th, 6th, 3rd, Bay, Basin streets. Website: www.old300.org. The trolley’s operational hours vary by season and are weather dependent.
Tour an Original Fort Constructed in the Late 1800s
Fort Stevens State Park was a military outpost built during the Civil War and used in defense of the U.S. through World War II. Learn the history of the fort at its museum and explore the abandoned gun batteries that once protected the entrance to the Columbia River. Visitors can watch ocean-going ships navigate the notorious Columbia River sand bar from the viewing platform at the South Jetty. The 3,764-acre park includes picnic facilities, nature trails, beaches, lakes, boating, camping, swimming and paved bicycle paths. The campground is open year-round with more than 500 tent, yurt and R.V. campsites. Location: The historic area entrance is at 1900 Ocean Dr. in Hammond. Phone: (503) 861-1470. Website: www.visitftstevens.com.
Tour Astoria’s Hollywood
Astoria was the setting for the first movie with a plot filmed in Oregon, The Fisherman’s Bride, in 1908 and continues to inspire filmmakers today. Find the homes and sites made famous in movies filmed in and around Astoria, including The Goonies, The Ring Two, Kindergarten Cop, Short Circuit, Free Willy, Into the Wild and more. Purchase a guide booklet to movie locations at the Astoria and Warrenton visitors centers, the Heritage Museum and the Oregon Film Museum, download The Reel Astoria audio tour from the Chamber’s website or find more information at www.travelastoria.com.
Oregon Film Museum
With a rich legacy of films and filmmaking, the Oregon Film Museum memorializes the industry and the many movies (more than 300!) that have been filmed here, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Animal House, Kindergarten Cop and The Goonies. The museum is positioned within the Old Clatsop County Jail – once a working jail and then a film set for several films, including Short Circuit, Come See the Paradise and The Goonies. Guests are invited to browse through three galleries highlighting the making of a movie. There is even a gallery dedicated to everything Goonies, including memorabilia and various on-set props. Location: Downtown Astoria at 7th and Duane. Website: www.oregonfilmmuseum.org.
High Life Adventures
Those looking for an adrenaline rush, look no further. High Life Adventures, in Warrenton, invites you to fly with the birds – only faster – on their zip line tours. The Oregon Coast’s newest adventure (opened in 2012) will guide the brave and fearless along the park’s eight lines that fly over seasoned timber, ponds, and a private lake. The two-hour tour provides plenty of hang time, with runs spanning as long as 1,600 feet! High Life Adventures will leave your family with memories, and make you want to come back for more. Location: 92111 High Life Road, Warrenton, OR 97146, Phone: 503-861-9875
North Coast Craft Beer Trail
Oregon’s North Coast is bottled up with secrets, and travelers are invited to find them by toasting their way along the North Coast Craft Beer Trail. From bitters with body to carbonated complexities, there are unique flavors at each of the trail’s destinations. Explore maritime malts from Astoria to Seaside, and when you visit enough stops, you’ll receive a free commemorative pint glass!
Astoria is a great starting destination to this beer-loving journey, with Astoria Brewing Company/Wet Dog Café, Buoy Beer Company, Fort George Brewery, Hondo’s Brew & Cork, and Rogue Ales Public House in town. Pick up a brochure at any participating brewery or local visitor center in Astoria, Warrenton or Seaside to get started, or find it online or with your mobile device at oregoncoastbeer.com. Now that is something to cheer about!
Listen your way through Astoria and Warrenton
Travelers to the historic regions of Astoria and Warrenton can feel like locals with two new downloadable audio tours highlighting popular historic attractions and movie scene locations. Narrated by local experts who reveal little-known facts and help visitors relive past eras, the tours were produced by and are available through the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Astoria & Warrenton’s Historical Attractions tour features 21 locations around the community with historical significance, including the Flavel House, the Astoria Column and Fort Clatsop. Tour narrators share tidbits about Lewis and Clark’s expedition, the fish canning industry and maritime tales, among other topics.
The Reel Astoria tour includes 12 destinations featured in major motion pictures, most famously the cult classic The Goonies, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015. Notable highlights include the jail where the Fratelli brothers caused a ruckus, the house where Mikey lived and Ecola State Park, where the kids discover the Fratellis’ hideout. Movie hounds can also visit the school where (former California Governor) Arnold Schwarzenegger taught in Kindergarten Cop and the spooky house from The Ring Two.
Printed maps and CDs of the tours are available at the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce at 111 West Marine Dr. in Astoria, for a small fee ($2.00) to help cover the printing and CD creation costs. Or download the tour or separate tracks for free at www.travelastoria.com. The tours can be taken in any order you choose and you are encouraged to linger as long as you’d like at each site.
TAKE IN A PERFORMANCE
Arts & Ideas
Arts & Ideas, a program of Clatsop Community College (CCC), works with a number of community groups, such as the North Coast Symphonic Band, the Astoria Music Festival and the Astoria Chamber Players, to present a wide range of community education programs and performances. This is a unique and creative local program that is a true benefit for both artists and audiences. Much of the Arts & Ideas programming is hosted at the 250-seat CCC Performing Arts Center, a community gem featuring state-of-the-art acoustics and a warm ambiance. The CCC Performing Arts Center is located at 588 16th St. in Astoria.To find out what’s coming up next, visit www.clatsopcc.edu/community/arts-ideas.
The Liberty Theater
The Liberty Theater, located in the heart of downtown Astoria, is one of the best examples of a vaudeville-motion picture palace from the Roaring Twenties in the Northwest. Built in 1922, the theater was originally home to silent movies and vaudeville acts. The Liberty Theater, which underwent an $8 million renovation, has been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as part of the Save America’s Treasures program. Today, the theater operates as a performing arts center, concert hall, conference center, town hall meeting venue and an elegant site for weddings. For more background and to access the events calendar, visit www.liberty-theater.org.
The Astor Street Opry Company
The Astor Street Opry Company (ASOC) is a popular community performing arts organization based in Astoria. The award-winning organization strives to produce, educate, present, and preserve the tradition of local performing arts culture and regional folklore by presenting a wide range of family-friendly performances – notably the annual summertime melodrama, Shanghaied in Astoria. Held within a flexible space known as the ASOC Playhouse at 129 W. Bond Street, Shanghaied in Astoria has been running for nearly three decades. This locally written play offers a unique mix of vaudeville, soap opera and 1950s-style Hollywood musical, which all comes together to depict the traditional local folklore of the Astoria area. Learn more about ASOC and its upcoming performances at shanghaiedinastoria.com or by calling
Wander Walking Trails
Astoria has many walking paths that offer interesting views of the
city and its surroundings. Just a short drive from downtown is a forest trail that will take you from 28th and Irving past the Cathedral Tree (a huge spruce located in Astoria’s urban forest) to the top of Coxcomb Hill and the stunning views from the Astoria Column.
In Warrenton, stroll past shaded woods, the Skipanon Marina, the D.K. Warren House and spectacular views of the Columbia River and abundant wildlife on one or all three trails in the Warrenton Trails System. (www.warrentontrails.org)
Follow the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean on the 6.5-mile Fort to Sea Trail. Enjoy a variety of terrain ranging from coastal forests to wetlands, with varying levels of difficulty and the option to hike small parts of the trail. (www.nps.gov/lewi/planyourvisit/forttosea.htm)
Astoria is often compared to San Francisco because of its waterfront hillsides dotted with Victorian homes, making it an excellent city to tour on foot for both water views and interesting sites. One-fourth of the city’s homes are eligible for Historic Landmark status, and many of the houses are restored to their original beauty. The best way to see the intriguing architecture and great views of the river and ocean is with a walking tour. Booklets are available at the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Heritage Museum, the Flavel House and the Columbia River Maritime Museum for purchase.
Carruthers Park and Warrenton Dog Park
The City of Warrenton’s Eben H. Carruthers Memorial Park is situated on NW Warrenton Dr. This community park is home to a covered picnic area, a swing set, an historical Lewis & Clark information viewpoint, the starting point of the 4.5-mile Warrenton Waterfront Trail and a modern dog park. Nestled at the trailhead, the 2/3-acre dog park is noted as the first fully fenced off-leash dog park on the Oregon Coast. Main features include double-gated entries, separate small and large dog sections, pet water and waste stations, benches, night lighting and plenty of open space.
Play at Tapiola Park Playground
The Tapiola Park Playground is a great place for kids of all ages to let loose and enjoy the miniature sites and attractions of Astoria. Favorite local destinations, including Fort Clatsop, the Astoria Column, the Flavel House and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, are featured as small replicas for interactive play. Built and paid for entirely through the efforts of the local community, the park is located at 900 West Marine Drive and offers a great view of Young’s Bay. Don’t forget your board so you can check out Astoria Skate Park, designed by Dreamland Skateparks.
Paddle and Surf Local Waterways
Visitors can find a range of water sport activities in the region. Sea kayaking is quite challenging on the North Oregon Coast, but it’s worth the effort. Touring by paddle on the Lower Columbia River through the islands of the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge reveals wildlife such as bald eagles, deer and water fowl. For wind surfers, Youngs Bay between Astoria and Warrenton can be a great spot for both beginners and experts because of the abundance of shallow waters and strong wind conditions. There are also several locations for kite surfing, or visit the nearby Cullaby and Coffenbury lakes for a tranquil canoe trip and wildlife viewing. If you’d like to take in the view from the water, but prefer to let an engine do the work, Columbia River Eco Tours regularly offers guided trips around the harbor and estuary.
Sportsfishers and Seafood Lovers Paradise
With its proximity to the ocean and riverfront locale, Astoria and Warrenton have a bounty of seafood available. Visitors can go to a seafood market or, for the adventurous, catch it themselves.
Several seafood markets operate within our communities offering access to the bounty that is available in our local waters. In addition to fresh, frozen, canned or smoked seafood, some offer other services like processing your own catch.
Licenses and equipment are easily obtained, and charter services can take you to the best fishing spots. For more information on services, seasons, locations and regulations, contact the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at www.dfw.state.or.us. Sportsfishers can look for an opportunity to catch Chinook (King) and Coho (Silver) Salmon, Sturgeon, Albacore Tuna, Halibut, Razor Clams and Dungeness Crab.
Local charter and guide companies can accommodate individuals, small and large groups on fishing trips. Many also offer other services such as bait and tackle shop, scenic wildlife watching trips, weddings or burial at sea.
The Astoria-Warrenton area offers a multitude of parks where you can get close to nature, expend energy with a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, or just enjoy the scenery.
Astoria Parks Department: (503) 325-7275
Alderbrook Hall & Park
Playground, picnic tables, basketball, hall available to rent. 4509 Leif Erickson Dr., Astoria
Astoria Aquatic Center
Indoor swimming pool, slide and kids activities, fitness center, swim lessons, fitness classes. 1997 Marine Dr., Astoria
Astoria Recreation Center
Kids and adult fitness classes and activities. 1555 W. Marine Dr., Astoria
Captain Gray’s Port of Play
Indoor play space for kids 0-10. 785 Alameda Ave., Astoria
Playground, picnic tables, basketball. 6th & Commercial St., Astoria
Tennis, baseball, football, Customs House. 3601 Leif Erickson Dr., Astoria
Fred Lindstrom Park
Basketball, tennis, playground, picnic tables. 612 Niagara Ave., Astoria
Garden of Surging Waves
Designed to honor and celebrate the Chinese heritage of our region. 11th & Duane St., Astoria
Lower Columbia Disc Golf Course
The nine-hole course challenges skilled players as well as a great opportunity for beginners. 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria
Maritime Memorial Park
Columbia River viewpoint, picnic tables, memorial wall. 10 Bay St., Astoria
Playground, trails, picnic tables, hall available to rent. 1530 Shively Park Rd., Astoria
Baseball, basketball, large playground, picnic tables, skate park. 900 W. Marine Dr., Astoria
Warrenton Parks Department:
(503) 861-2233 or
Eben H. Carruthers Memorial Park
Covered picnic area, swing set, historical Lewis & Clark interpretational signage, Columbia River viewpoint, Warrenton Waterfront Trailhead, Warrenton Dog Park, public restrooms. 1695 NW Warrenton Dr., Astoria
Sandy beach, Columbia River viewpoint, gazebo, multiple trails, public restrooms. Located at the Hammond Marina
Skipanon River Park
Picnic table, non-motorized boat dock, access to multiple trails. Located adjacent to the Warrenton Marina
Quincy & Bessie Robinson Community Park
Large play area, baseball fields, basketball court, adjacent to community center, public restrooms. 170 SW 3rd Ave., Warrenton
Clatsop County Parks Department:
(503) 325-9306 or
Big Creek County Park
Baseball field, fishing, open space recreation, wildlife viewing, hatchery, interpretive signage. Located in Knappa, east of Astoria
Carnahan and Cullaby Lake County Park
Boat launch and docks, picnic shelters, barbecue pits, horseshoe pits, volleyball, play area, fishing, swimming, trails, public restrooms, day use fee. Located on Hwy 101 between Warrenton and Gearhart
Clatsop County Fairgrounds
92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria
Gnat Creek Hatchery (DFW)
Wildlife viewing, hatchery, interpretive signage, trails, fishing, picnic area, public restrooms. Located on Hwy 30, 18 miles east of Astoria
John Day County Park
Boat launch to Columbia River, public restrooms. Located on Hwy 30 just east of Astoria
Lee Wooden Fishhawk Falls County Park
Forest recreation, waterfall, trails, natural area. Located on Hwy 202, 25 miles east of Astoria