Day Trip from Portland to Astoria on the Oregon Coast

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Tammy Bux

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  • Oregon

  • Family Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • Boutique Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Beaches

  • Hiking

  • Local Food

  • Wildlife

harbor with boats and mountain range in the distance
Curator’s statement

Imagine driving through miles of dense woods which open up to bright sunlit skies, craggy shoreline cliffs and crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Picture-perfect views are endless once you begin to explore the seaside town of Astoria on the famed northwest Oregon coast. This stunning scenic area is one of my favourite weekend getaways, less than a two-hour drive from Portland.

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Where to stay in Astoria

Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland

Trendy hotel with chic rooms and an Italian restaurant in Portland.

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Bowline Hotel

Chic and cozy rooms overlook the Columbia River pier, with amenities including barrel saunas and complimentary bicycles.

Sentinel

Classically Northwest hotel in downtown Portland with elegant rooms and two popular restaurants.

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Things to do in Astoria

orange, yellow and blue sunset over beach reflects on the wet sand

This stunning scenic area is one of my favourite weekend getaways, less than a two-hour drive from Portland. Once you leave the city behind, rolling hills give way to lush green canopies of the Clatsop State Forest.

The port city of Astoria, an historic Oregon Trail settlement, is positioned at the confluence of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean. It is known as one of the world’s most dangerous water corridors, with legendary shipwrecks on its shores.

You can easily spend a whole day here with so much to see and do. When the weather is warm and sunny, discover the six-mile Astoria Riverwalk Trail, dotted with shops, cafes, craft breweries, restaurants and anchored by the Columbia River Maritime Museum. If you get tired, jump onto the 1900s era trolley (open March – December), which runs alongside the water’s edge, a favorite with kids and adults alike.

I love to wander through the streets of the historic downtown, jam-packed with eclectic cafes, art galleries, restaurants and breweries. Filled with an assortment of 1920s Art Deco buildings mixed with Victorian-era and craftsman architecture, the jewel of the historic district is the refurbished Liberty Theatre. It still operates as a cinema and has regular screenings of the cult 1980s film, The Goonies, which was filmed in and around Astoria.

The Bowline Hotel used to be the site of an old fish processing plant. It has been renovated with a unique design aesthetic and makes a great place for an overnight stay. If you want to unwind after a long day of touring, book a session in the large barrel sauna perched on a private end of the pier, reserved for hotel guests only. It has an oversized window looking out onto the river, with magical water views, especially during the twilight hours.

Nature enthusiasts will love exploring the Fort Stevens State Park, located ten miles from downtown Astoria. Teeming with hiking and biking trails, swimming, boating and picnic options, visitors can also step back in time by touring the historic military installation and the Peter Iredale shipwreck dating back to 1906.

Renowned for its windswept coastline, historical landmarks, and eclectic vibe, Astoria is the perfect place to plan an overnight stay or day trip from Portland, Oregon. It truly comes alive during the longer, warmer summer months from June to August, but can be enjoyed as a year-round destination, since there’s so much to explore in and around this city.

Places to eat & drink in Astoria

indoor contemporary bar space with exposed wooden ceiling and benches with large windows looking out over the ocean

On my way to Astoria, I always stop to get a coffee and fruit scone at Flowers N Fluff, a beautifully adorned café brimming with floral bouquets and unique gifts, tucked away in the tiny town of Clatskanie on U.S. Route 30.

There are lots of food and drink options in Astoria, catering to a variety of tastes and dietary requirements.

If you’re hankering for top quality coffee and scrumptious cakes, cookies and desserts look no further than Gathered Bakeshop & Market. The baristas make the best coffee around and their baked goods are almost too pretty to eat.

Blue Scorcher Bakery is a local hangout, housed in the historic Fort George building, located on the site of the original Fort Astoria. Famous for their pastries, coffee and bread, they offer delicious brunch items from 8am - 3pm. Their specialities include huevos scorcheros, breakfast tacos, tempeh reuben and the poet's bowl with several vegan options available on the menu.

The Fort George Brewery and Public House building, comprised of three restaurants, tasting rooms, breweries, and live music venues, is the size of an entire city block. Located in the historic downtown with views of the Columbia River, they offer everything from soups, salads and apps to wood-fired pizzas and shared plates. To satisfy your sweet tooth, I suggest you end your meal with delectable cake sourced from Naked Lemon Bakery.

The Knot Bar, a hip indoor/outdoor eatery located in the industrial-chic Bowline Hotel, is a great place to grab a drink and snack. Scandinavian-inspired fare and cocktails handcrafted with spirits from local distilleries, make this a unique choice for all day diningy. Make sure you check out the resident sea lions lounging beneath the pier while you’re there.

The Astoria Brewing Company, overlooking the Columbia River, sits on the trolley line and was the first microbrewery to be established here in 1997. Local Wilapa Bay Oyster shooters make a great accompaniment to the craft beers on offer. This pub menu has something for everyone including clam chowder, burgers, sandwiches, deep fried seafood and a special kids menu.

Bridgewater Bistro is one of my favorite restaurants, serving brunch, lunch and dinner, with locally sourced ingredients, stunning water views, and an inventive gluten-free twist on the classic fish n’ chips.

For dedicated foodies, the best time to visit is during the Astoria Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival. In 2023, the festival will run on April 28 - 30. A variety of northwest flavors will be showcased, with locally sourced beer, wine and seafood on offer. An artisanal makers market and live music make this a fun outing for the whole family.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out my guide, Oregon’s Best-Kept Secret: Columbia River Gorge.

Tammy Bux Travel Advisor with a black floral shirt in a tan shaded room and flowers on the floor.

Travel Advisor

Tammy Bux

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Oregon.