Recently we went away for the weekend to celebrate my birthday in Astoria, Oregon. This quaint seaside town is a hidden gem in the pacific northwest, filled with education, family fun, and outdoor enjoyment. Even on rainy days, Astoria has activities that will take you back in time and help you build family memories.
We set off from Seattle Friday late afternoon and arrived in Astoria after about five hours. The drive itself should be under four hours, but thanks to some heavy traffic around Tacoma and Olympia, it took us longer. See that big bridge in the photo above? That’s the Astoria-Megler Bridge and it runs across the WA/OR border. We drove across it and it was massive!
Upon arriving in Astoria, we checked into the Best Western Lincoln Inn, which is a short drive from downtown and offers families a pool and hot breakfast. We asked at the front desk for a good spot to grab a meal and she recommended the Fort George Brewery, so off we went.
Fort George Brewery crafts original beers and ciders and only distributes in the northwest. I gave their pear cider a try, and loved it. Crisp and light, it’s was a the perfect dinner complement and gave this non-beer drinker a taste of local brewery craftsmanship. We ate upstairs in their loft and loved the large open seating environment. Works great for families, but also looks like the perfect place for a group of friends to dine and hang.
We woke the next morning to blue skies and knew we had to use the sunny day to visit a few outdoor sights around the city. Our first stop was to visit Fort Clatsop National Park, which was the winter home for Lewis and Clark in their westward journey. Admission to the park is $3 per adult, free for kids, and you pay in the visitors center. Upon entering we were told that we could all participate in the Junior Ranger program, and our girls decided to take on the challenge.
Fort Clatsop is more than just taking a look at the history of Lewis and Clark. As you would expect from a National Park, the grounds are filled with a natural beauty that perfectly encapsulates the pacific northwest. Spruce trees and rainforest like woods run along a river stream, and families will find simple joy in meandering along the easy sections of the Fort to Sea Trail.
After enjoying a little walk we took some time to explore the replica of Fort Clatsop which was the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery from December 1805 to March 1806. This fort represents where Lewis and Clark, and 31 other men lived while waiting for the winter to pass so they could begin their journey back to St. Louis, Missouri. Touring the fort shows how simple and rustic they lived, with a bit more care given to the captains’ quarters.
We finished our day at Fort Clatsop NP in the Lewis & Clark Historical Museum, and the girls scoured the visitor center hall to find the answers to the questions in their junior ranger books. While I helped point the girls in the right direction a few times, Paul watched the visitor center history film. After the girls were sworn in as junior rangers, we said goodbye to Captains Lewis & Clark and headed back into Astoria to visit the Astoria Column.
Next up I’ll share the fun we had exploring downtown Astoria including launching planes from the Astoria Column, visiting the Goonies house, becoming stars at the Oregon Film Museum, and jumping in to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
Thank you to Astoria for providing our family with lodging to allow us to enjoy your beautiful town. All thoughts and experiences are my own.