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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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We’re big fans of Astoria, Ore.

While we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time at Cape Disappointment State Park and on the Long Beach Peninsula, it’s been a bonus to be so close to the historic town of Astoria.

It’s a scenic 25-minute drive to this maritime wonder along the Columbia River and we’ve made the trek a couple of times on our days off from volunteering at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Here are some highlights from that special place on the mighty Columbia:

Fort Clatsop is the spot where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805 after making the groundbreaking cross-country journey. It’s a national park, so our pass worked to gain entry to the fascinating exhibit with park staff dressed in period clothing. 

We visited that attraction while our brakes were getting replaced at Les Schwab, our go-to spot for tires. After traveling extensively throughout the country, we’re always grateful to get back to Les Schwab country!

Les is just down the road from Fred Meyer, where we did a major restock of supplies. While we make a point to shop and support local supermarkets, sometimes the inventory is not as robust as the big box stores. We also love the Astoria Co-op, an excellent supermarket.

On our first trip to Astoria, we had a lovely lunch at Buoy Beer, at that time located on the waterfront. Two days after our visit, part of the brewery fell into the Columbia River after the pier collapsed.

Let’s hope Buoy Beer can get up and running again soon. In the meantime, you’ll find plenty of other options for local craft breweries, including Astoria Brewing Company, Fort George and Reach Break Brewing, which has an excellent outdoor courtyard and a couple of food trucks.

On the dining front, we’ve been wowed by the fish and chips at the Bowpicker and swooned over the smoked fish at Josephson’s. We also love Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro for breakfast. (Don’t miss the hash brown bowls, which swap out the traditional taters for tots. Good move!)

Last weekend, we spent a little time hanging out with the adorable trolls at the Astoria Nordic Heritage Park and spent the night at the awesome Cannery Pier Hotel. There, all the rooms have water views and binoculars to watch the ship traffic and birds perching on the nearby bridge. Getting out of the rig for a hot minute reminded us how tight our living quarters are.

Thank goodness the summer weather has finally arrived. When it’s not pouring, we love to spend as much time outside as possible, especially as the light lingers until 10 p.m. most evenings. Yes, that will change soon enough, but we’re going to celebrate these sunny days for now.

We’ve also had a blast in the past camping out at Fort Stevens State Park, which has an array of full hookups. A couple of RV parks that get rave reviews in the area include Lewis and Clark RV Park and Golf and a KOA Campground.

Making reservations: Yes, we bang this drum often, but it’s worth repeating. Now’s the time to lock in spots if you’re planning on heading to California state parks during winter months. You can book six months in advance and prime sites are often grabbed the instant they become available. John’s the reservation specialist and at the ready bright and early when those dates open up. Oregon State Parks are six months out, as well. Good luck!

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.