Inn Overlooking Bay and Astoria–Megler Bridge
The town of Astoria, Oregon, is set on a peninsula that juts into the mouth of the Columbia River. In the late 1800s, this was one of the busiest ports on the Pacific coast. Today the river still bustles with fishing ships, sailboats, and private yachts. At the Astoria Riverwalk Inn, you’ll have a front-row view of the bay, as each guest room has a balcony that overlooks the marina and its passing vessels. You can also see the town’s iconic landmark, the Astoria–Megler Bridge, which runs for 4 miles along the horizon and connects Oregon to Washington State. For more water views, take a ride on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley, which runs for 3 miles along the Columbia River.
You’ll also get passes to the town’s Heritage Museum, as well as the Flavel House, an 1885 Queen Anne–style Victorian home. The mansion has been returned to its original splendor, with period furnishings and a restored three-story octagonal tower. You’ll also get passes to the Oregon Film Museum. Its exhibits chronicle the blockbuster movies filmed in the area, including The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.
Astoria, Oregon: Frontier Port with Scenic Hikes and Naval Museums
Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Oregon, the town of Astoria juts into the mouth of the Columbia River, the body of water that separates Oregon and Washington. Astoria has a storied past as one of the oldest US settlements west of the Rockies. The town is named after John Jacob Astor, the entrepreneur who founded the Pacific Fur Company and established Fort Astoria in 1811. A few years earlier, in 1805, Lewis and Clark spent a winter camped out at Fort Clatsop; today, a replica fort commemorates the expedition with a visitor’s center and ranger-led programs. Fort Clatsop is also the trailhead for the popular Fort to Sea Trail, a 3-mile hike that wends through forests and across beach dunes en route to the Pacific Ocean.
The area’s rich nautical history is documented through interactive exhibits at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Here, you’ll find artifacts such as a US Coast Guard surf rescue vessel, a historic sword and scabbard recovered from a shipwreck, and a 17th-century chunk of beeswax. A few miles west in Fort Stevens State Park, you can view remnants of the Peter Iredale shipwreck, an English vessel that ran aground in 1906 while the captain was texting and steering.