Astoria Things to Do

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    They are undisturbed even with the boat...
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    Astorian tales of the past are retold
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    The sea lions on the dock
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Most Recent Things to Do in Astoria

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    Coast Guard Cutter Alert tour

    by glabah Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Coast Guard Cutter Alert open for tours in Astoria
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    The Coast Guard Cutter Alert is assigned to Astoria. While it does spend some considerable amount of time at sea, it also spends some time in port, here in Astoria. During certain periods of the port stay, the ship is open for tours.

    Going into what is essentially an open house of a modern military ship is a very interesting opportunity, and if they are open for business when you visit, the opportunity should not be missed.

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    North Head Lighthouse (at Washington State side)

    by sunnywong Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    North Head Lighthouse

    One of the first stops heading up the Washington coastline from Oregon across Columbia River on the other side of the Astoria-Megler bridge is North Head Lighthouse.

    The North Head Lighthouse at Fort Canby State Park was built in 1898 and is one of the windiest places in the United States. Visitors can take in the view from the height of North Head, or ascend the lighthouse itself on a tour offered by volunteers from Fort Canby State Park for a $1 fee. Tours are conducted daily during the summer from 10 AM to 6 PM, and during the off-season on weekends from 11 AM to 3 PM.

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    Astoria Column

    by sunnywong Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Astoria Column

    The Astoria Column commemorates the westward sweep of discovery and migration. Designed by a New York architect named Electus Litchfield and inspired by the Trajan Column in Rome, the Astoria Column was completed in 1926 for a total cost of just over $27,000. The initial expense included the etchings of fourteen scenes in the cement around the column depicting the pioneers as they settled in the Northwest. Along with these carvings, today a large version of the Oregon state seal has been engraved into the floor of the observation deck. It is 125 feet high and has 164 steps winding to the top. Open dawn to dusk. $1 per car donation requested. Any visit to Astoria would not be complete without getting a full view of the Astoria-Megler Bridge from the top of the Astoria Column.

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  • Sail A Glider From The Top Of The Tower

    by NESASK Updated Sep 2, 2010

    Especially if you have kids coming, buy some balsa wood gliders in the gift shop before you go up the tower. They sell them to launch from the tower and it's great fun to watch them glide and circle their way down to the ground. If you write your name on the plane you may be able to recover it at the bottom, although if you catch a good updraft you will be amazed as your biodegradable plane flies up, up and away until it disappears from view. Good fun.

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    Astoria Column: windy views of everything

    by glabah Updated May 5, 2010

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    Astoria Column: famous landmark view point, 1926
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    For many years Astoria's best known landmark, this 125 foot tall column is still one of the best known landmarks on Oreogn's west coast, and offers a wonderful 360 degree view that includes the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River, and the Cascade Mountains.

    The artwork that scrolls up the side of the column would be some 500 feet or more long if it were completely unrolled. This artwork tells of early Oregon history, especially that early history that took place in the area around Astoria.

    Now, a few words of warning: peak tourist season in June, July, and August will make this quite a bit less pleasant to visit due to the crowds. The 164 steps that go from the bottom to the top are steep, and very difficult to navigate if there are a lot of people on them. It is somewhat difficult to for groups of people to pass eachother on these narrow steps. When it was built in the 1920s, tourists were fewer, and much better behaved.

    There are landings on the stairs every 1 1/4 turn or so, and if you hear people coming in the opposite way you would do a lot better to wait and let them pass.

    The top of the column is windy, and you will find it quite a bit colder up there than at the bottom of the column.

    If it is raining, the metal stairs may be a bit slippery.

    Also located at the top of the hill is a very large "Native American" canoe, and a grass hillside that is part of a larger city park. If it is a sunny day, you may want to consider having lunch here, but it may have a cold wind coming from the west.

    More information than you could possibly want to know is located at the Astoria Column Web Site, below.

    In 2005, they replaced the entire staircase by removing the roof of the column, yanking the old staircase out the top with a huge crane, and dropping a new one in. This was the only way anyone could think of that would remove the old staircase and put in a new one, without the work being horribly time consuming and difficult.

    The parking fee at the tower is $1 for an annual permit. There are a number of items available in the gift shop in the parking lot, including some literature that comes with the parking permit.

    The column closes at dusk, but the park at the top of the hill remains open until 10 at night. The column has ligths on it at night.

    In addition to the five photos I have on this tip, I have added a few more photos in a traveloge in the event you would like to take a look at some of the views from the top.

    The Astoria Column Visitor's Center offers a number of things for sale, including column memorabilia, some literature and interpretations of the column artwork free of charge, and some general Oregon Coast items.

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    Columbia River Maritime Museum

    by glabah Written May 3, 2010

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    Columbia Maritime Museum with river traffic view

    The museum contains not just a wealth of information about the maritime history on the Columbia River, but also information more relevant to today, including one of the most spectacular displays being a full-sized Coast Guard rescue boat being pitched at a severe storm wave, which is also life-size and takes up an entire side of the museum.

    You will find that there are hallways upon hallways here. You will turn a corner and find a new corridor that you didn't realize was there before.

    If your interest is boats and ships, this is definitely a place you will not want to miss, and there is a lot here of general interest as well.

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    Beautiful Flavel House

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 9, 2010

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    Flavel House
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    From the outside the Flavel House is a beautiful example of a Queen Anne Style Victorian Home. The house was built in 1885 for Captain George Flavel and his family. Captain Flavel was a harbor master and one of Astoria's most influencial residents. He made his fortune in real estate and shipping investments.

    The inside of the house has some beautiful woodwork, several mantels, and wonderfully high ceilings. I also loved the three-story octagon tower. The period furnishings are not original but enable visitors to imagine what life was like at that time. For as beautiful and interesting as the outside is, there was no "warmth" inside.

    Allow about an hour to explore the house and its very pretty grounds.

    You may recognize this home from the movie, The Goonies. For fans of the movie, the house is featured as the museum where Mikey's father works as a curator.

    Open daily Summer (May-Sept.) 10-5; Winter (Oct.-April) 11-4

    Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors, $children

    There is a small gift shop on the property.

    During the summer months, you can have tea and scones in the formal dining room of the Flavel House for a slight fee.

    You can purchase a Museum Pass that will gain you access to the Flavel House, the Heritage House, and the Maritime Museum.

    Please note that the visitor information is correct at the time of this writing.

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    The Astoria Column

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 9, 2010

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    Astoria Column
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    The 125 foot Astoria Column is located in a wooded park atop Oregon's highest point (600 feet), Coxcomb Hill. The views of the city and river from the hill are really beautiful on a sunny day. You can even see as far as snow-capped volcano Mt. Rainier and the Pacific Ocean.

    The column itself is made of concrete and patterned after Trajan's Column in Rome, Italy. It is 125 feet tall and the climb to the top is 164 steps. The outside of the column is decorated with murals of events in Northwest history that include scenes of American Indians, life on the Columbia River, and Lewis and Clark's Expeditions.

    Unfortunately on the day we were there, the column was "closed" for renovation and we were not able to make the climb. However, I would consider even an "outside" visit one of the must sees in Astoria. The murals and the views from the bottom are still worth the trip!

    Nice spot for a picnic. Tables on the lawn available.

    The column is open from dawn to dusk.

    $1 per car donation.

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    Columbia River Maritime Museum

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 9, 2010

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    Entrance to Columbia River Maritime Museum
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    The Columbia River Maritime Museum is actually on the Columbia River. The river formed the last leg of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and was part of the early route of the Oregon Trail. It is 1,243 miles from the source in British Columbia, Canada to its mouth - the Pacific Ocean on the Washington-Oregon border.

    The Columbia River Maritime Museum was set up very well and I enjoyed the museum more than I thought I would. It was surprising to learn that the Columbia River is as treacherous and important a river as it is. Over 2,000 ships - 200 of them large ships - have gone down in the Columbia River.

    The museum itself has world class maritime artifacts and several interactive exhibits. You can pilot a tug boat and participate in a Coast Guard rescue. And don't miss the short film, The Great River of the West.

    Outside the museum you can walk on the bridge of a WWII era US Navy Destroyer. You can also board the Lightship Columbia - a ship used as a floating lighthouse. Very tight quarters, but cool.

    I would definitely recommend spending sometime in this museum - one of Astoria's must sees! You can catch a bus or trolley back into town outside the museum.

    Open Daily 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    Admission: $10 Adults/$5 Children 6-17

    Gift shop inside the museum.

    You can purchase a Museum Pass that will gain you access to the Flavel House, the Heritage House, and the Maritime Museum.

    Please note that the visitor information is correct at the time of this writing.

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    George Flavel House and Museum

    by Segolily Updated Jan 12, 2010

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    Flavel House museum
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    This is a beautiful old Victorian home in Queen Anne style that was built in 1885 by one of the leading shipmen of the day. A Queen Anne home is described as elaborate and eccentric. With steep pitched roof, towers, asymmetrical outlines, decorative spindles they were unique but the style did not last long. The Flavel House has been kept in the best of condition with period furniture and decorations. We came across it accidentally and loved the architecture however we were unable to take the tour. Another time.

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    Astoria Column

    by Segolily Written Jan 12, 2010

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    Astoria Column
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    This column commemorating the long history of Astoria is an easy landmark from miles around. We wandered up the hills never quite knowing how to get there, but eventually found ourselves at the top of Coxcomb Hill with the Column dominating the small park there.

    It is really quite impressive and even more so as we read the history carved into it. From Capt Robert Gray's voyage that first introduced white man to the natives, through Lewis and Clark's expedition and several of their exploits including the winter camp nearby, to John Jacob Astor and his claim of the land for the United States, and on to the Oregon Pioneers and the coming of the railroad the history of the town is written and sculpted in a winding band around the 125 ft height.

    It is even more impressive to learn that keeping this history on the column has been difficult due to weathering. While the column was initially opened and inscribed in 1926 it was almost immediately lost due to water and wind damage. It has only been since 1995 that the current art, painstakingly following Italian Attilo Pusterla's original design, has been finished with updating required every 10 years.

    The views from the hill of course are worth the drive as well. We were there near sunset and looking up the Columbia River we could see the "purple mountains majesty". Looking down the river we could see the Pacific ocean stretch to the horizon. South gave us views of the quiet patchwork quilt of farms and homes in the Nehalem valley. And north to Washington and Cape Disappointment.

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    LOWER COLUMBIA CANOE TRAIL

    by mtncorg Written Jul 31, 2008

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    Near the canoe/kayak launch at Netul Landing

    The Lower Columbia Canoe Trail came about in an effort to celebrate the free-flowing section of the Columbia River that runs below Bonneville Dam to the Pacific Ocean - 146 miles long. The water trail is aimed at non-motorized craft in the true spirit of Lewis and Clark - canoes and kayaks. The groups involved have helped develop different boat launch and campsites along the route, as well as promoting the water trail as a place where people can become more aware of the environment, culture and history of the river. For the Astoria section of the trail, there are a mass of grassy islands found along the southern bank of the Columbia just east of town that are wonderful spots to paddle around in. Beware of tide schedules as it is easy to get stuck out here. The combination of wind, river current and tide can make for some nasty wave action, as well. Also, don't push too far to the north without an ever vigilant eye for ships and barges within the shipping channel. They cannot get out of your way.

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    USCG CUTTER ALERT

    by mtncorg Written Jul 31, 2008

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    USCGC Alert moored at Astoria

    Moored near the Lightship Columbia, the USCGC Alert provides a visible evidence of the long-standing presence the Coast Guard has had here in Astoria - other important Coast Guard facets include the Air Station at nearby Warrenton, the Lifesaving Station and the National Motorboat Lifesaving School both on Cape Disappointment over on the Washington side of the river near Ilwaco. When the Alert is in port and not out on the ocean on patrol, tours of the vessel can be offered by the crew. The tours are free and give you a better understanding of this branch of the well-varied role played by the men and women of the US Coast Guard.

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    ASTORIA TROLLEY

    by mtncorg Written Jul 31, 2008

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    The Astoria Trolley rolling by my table
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    OK, Astoria has done its homework. A Riverwalk is great, but the bulk of visitors just aren’t into the exercise, plus, the town needed a hook to get those folks out of their cars and possibly into Astorian shops. Viola, the Astoria Trolley, which runs between the main commercial ventures found along the waterfront. Plus, for only $2 a day, you can ride as many times as you would like to. $1 per ride otherwise.

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    RIVERFRONT

    by mtncorg Written Jul 31, 2008

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    The waterfront and the Bridge beyond

    Like the Willamette riverfront in Portland, the waterfront here used to teem with wharfs, docks and mills. With the demise of fishing and timber, those wharfs, docks and mills became empty. Astoria, like Portland has taken the imitative and reinvigorate the silence with a fine walking path that extends the length of the old waterfront area - complete with explanatory exhibits along the way telling the story of Astoria’s past. The Astoria Trolley parallels the walkway for part of the journey. As you walk, remember this whole area was alive - more people lived in Astoria in 1940 than do so here today. Besides getting a sense of what was as you walk, you can gain a simple appreciation of the natural beauty that still exists. Sea lions pop their heads out of the river just offshore. Large and small ships are constantly in movement out on the water. All good reasons to get your feet moving.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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Astoria Things to Do

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