Get the scoop on the best family activities in Portland.

Day Trip: What to See, Eat and Explore in Astoria

Our Oregon weather isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. With all the dismal, rainy weather it can be hard to plan a day trip for the little ones without worrying about them shivering in the cold. So how about Astoria? It’s the beach town less traveled with indoor and outdoor fun that is guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained. So grab your tiny tots and get ready for an awesome coastal adventure.

Astoria ColumnGetting there:
If you’re making it a day trip, you’re gonna have to get up early as it’s a little more than two hour drive. Plus, there’s lots to do once you get there! You can take Interstate 30 all the way there or take the scenic route with Interstate 26 to 101 north to Astoria. Did we mention the scenic route tends to have less traffic? Sweet.

What to see:
Astoria has a ton of kid-friendly activities and museums. It’s a small town so you’ll be able to hit up all the cool hot spots with ease. In case you’ve never been to Astoria, here are some of the places you and the little ones will love.

Column stairs

Astoria Column
The Astoria Column is super easy to find. Just follow the columns that are printed on the pavement and drive up, up, up until you see it. Kind of like the town’s own yellow brick road.

At the Visitor’s Center you can buy biodegradable flyers that you and your little tourists can sail off the top of the column. That’s right, they encourage you to throw things off the top of the column! Well, just this one thing!

The view from the top will have you and your little ones oohing and aahing as you take in all of Astoria’s beauty. But getting to the top is no easy feat. There are 164 circular, narrow steps so be sure that the little ones, and you, wear comfy shoes.

Film museum

Oregon Film Museum
Remember the Goonies? Well, the Oregon Film Museum  is literally a shrine to that classic 80s film. In fact, it’s housed in the very jail featured in the movie. Go on, nerd out over that fact. You know you want to!

At the Oregon Film Museum you and your little cinephiles will learn that there’s more to the Oregon film scene than the Goonies. From Benji The Hunted  to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II.

The museum also features a cool sound stage complete with green screen where you and the kiddos can film your very own scenes from Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, The Shining (okay, maybe not that one) or Point Break. The awesome part about this is that the museum will email you your family’s performance. How cool is that? You’ll be able to playback your little actors’ Oscar worthy one-take over and over again.

Flavel House

The Flavel House
Directly across the street is one of the best preserved examples of Queen Anne architecture in the Northwest. Don’t stop reading! The Flavel House  is a stately 19th century mansion that’s totally worth a walk through. Here, you and the kiddos can wander  through this spacious home and see what life was like during the Victorian Era.

kid in boat

Columbia River Maritime Museum
Just walking into the Columbia River Maritime Museum is going to make you feel cold as you watch ships get swamped by insane waves. An interactive map shows historic shipwrecks and there’s even a room dedicated to Coast Guard rescues. Your little ones will be enthralled and will walk away from here with a new respect for the ocean, our food supply and the people who bring it to us!

While you’re here, don’t forget to catchSharks 3D. And no, the movie won’t bring on any Jaws-type nightmares, espite the menacing fellow on the poster. In fact, it’s narrated by a friendly turtle who helps us understand that sharks are good guys who don’t deserve the bad rap they get.

Feeling Adventurous?
Then check out this zip-lining adventure at High Life Adventures for some insane fun. Located in a forest paradise, the lines zip you over trees, valleys, meadows and water features. The guides were friendly and engaging and will put your kiddos at ease. And they are very, very much about safety first. Kids weighing 45 to 59 pounds zip tandem with an adult — which means that you won’t be tempted to chicken out because your would-be flyers won’t let you!

High Life Adventures
33136 Highway 101
503-861-9875
online: highlife-adventures.com

What to Eat:
Known for a vibrant beer and coffee scene, you’ll also find plenty of family-friendly restaurants. Some favorites:

Blue Scorcher
Coffee, pastries, artisan breads are stand-outs, and organic and local ingredients are featured at the Blue Scorcher. You will definitely want to stay awhile, especially since there is a robust kids play area and one of the best selection of upscale magazines you’ll find outside of a Barnes & Noble.

Blue Scorcher Bakery Cafe
1493 Duane Street
Astoria, Or 97103
online: bluescorcher.com

Baked Alaska
The main dining room of Baked Alaska is more of a romantic/table for two type atmosphere, but your whole gang will love the Baked Pizzeria, its new pizza parlor sister café featuring artisan pizza baked in an 800 degree gas-fired brick oven.

Baked Alaska
One 12th Street
Astoria, Or 97103
online: bakedak.com

Fort George Brewery and Public House
Fort George Brewery is an awesome kid-friendly brewery with a lovely deck outside. They just added a second story with expansive views of the Columbia. So, that’s good for you. And for the kids?  Foosball and a new pizza oven.

Fort George Brewery
1483 Duane Street
Astoria, Or 97103
online: fortgeorgebrewery.com

T Paul’s Supper Club
T Paul’s Supper Club‘s name doesn’t scream family friendly, but it is! Great burgers, salads and more are served in a trendy bistro environment by a super friendly serving staff.

T Paul’s Supper Club
360 12th Street
Astoria, Or 97103
online: tpaulssupperclub.com

Marie Antoinette’s Cupcake Parlor
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth (but who are we kidding?) Marie Antoinette’s Cupcake Parlor is worth a gander even just to check out the “Victorian Fun House Meets Alice in Wonderland” décor. The cupcakes are divine and don’t miss the sparkling lemonade garnished with cotton candy!

Marie Antoinette’s Cupcake Parlor
1215 Duane Street
Astoria, Or 97103
online: marieantoinettescupcakes.com

Have you spent time in Astoria? Let us know your favorite things to do!

–Cathie Ericson

All the photos were taken by Cathie Ericson on a fun-filled weekend there.

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