During the past decade, Astoria, OR, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, has emerged as a delightful port of call on cruises of the Pacific Coast, as well as cruises that reposition ships from Alaska to warmer locations for the winter.
Astoria is at the far north end of Oregon’s gorgeous coastline of dramatic headlands, dotted with beaches, evergreens and lighthouses. You’re likely to be welcomed at the pier by music from a local band, setting a festive tone for your exploration of the area.
To discover the area’s maritime history, hop on the colorful Astoria Riverfront Trolley and ride to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The trolley also glides along the bank of the Columbia River and passes beneath the graceful Astoria-Megler Bridge, which connects Oregon and Washington.
If you’re feeling thirsty, Astoria has several craft breweries ready to welcome you; or, visit the Flavel House Museum, a magnificent Queen Anne-style mansion, for a traditional afternoon tea. You could also take an excursion to the Willamette Valley, home to vineyards that produce some exceptional Oregon Pinot gris, Pinot noir and other varieties.
To see the only military site in the continental U.S. to be fired on during World War II, visit Fort Stevens. The Civil War-era fort, built to guard the mouth of the Columbia River, came under attack June 21-22, 1942, when a Japanese submarine fired 17 shells. (Fortunately, the only damage was to the fort’s baseball field.)
Cannon Beach is a popular excursion for photos of Haystack Rock and the Needles, a set of impressive basalt formations just off the beach. At low tide, the tide pools around Haystack Rock are full of starfish, sea anemone and other sea life. Downtown Cannon Beach has charming galleries and shops to browse, as well as cafes and bistros where you can relax.
If you enjoy movie trivia, you’ll also be interested to know that a number of silver screen hits have been shot on location in Astoria. Scenery-rich Goonies (1985) truly took advantage of its surroundings when filming in Astoria. Other big name films include Short Circuit (1985), Kindergarten Cop (1990), and Free Willy (1992).
To explore cruise itineraries that include beautiful Astoria, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.