21+ Best Things to do in Astoria Oregon with Kids

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Most non-Oregonians know Astoria as the filming location of The Goonies, a somewhat dubious honor. But there is a great deal more to Astoria than cult classics. Astoria has become one of our favorite escapes for either a day trip with the kids or a couple’s getaway. From delicious coffee and seafood to fascinating activities, Astoria has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to seeing Astoria Oregon with kids.

The Astoria Column is one of our favorite things to do in Astoria Oregon with kids
Astoria Column

1. Astoria Column: gliders included!

The Astoria Column is a highlight of any visit to Astoria.
The Astoria Column

You can’t miss the Column as you drive around Astoria – it sits atop Coxcomb Hill (the highest hill around) in a clearing. Signs point the way up from various streets in Astoria.

The Column chronicles American exploration and settlement, beginning with the arrival of Captain Gray and ending with the coming of the railroad.

I couldn’t get enough photos of it! Bring binoculars if you can.

Detail of the Astoria Column artwork.
Close-up of part of the Column artwork

Stop at the gift shop to get a wooden glider (they were only $1 last time I was there) and enjoy looking around the site.

If the Column is open, it is completely worth it to climb the 164-step winding spiral staircase to the observation deck — the panoramic views on clear days are breathtaking! (Or maybe you’re just winded from the climb…that was me.) 

Boy preparing to throw a wooden glider at the base of the Astoria Column.
Our son didn’t even need to wait to get to the top – he was throwing that glider everywhere!

Don’t forget to fly your glider off the top of the Column! Or anywhere on the grounds, really- as you can see, our son picked up the gliders that other people had thrown and was tossing them around the lawn area. This is a favorite stop for our kids and teens whenever we visit Astoria.

2. Have a Date with Coffee Girl!

Coffee Girl is my all-time favorite coffee shop, which is saying something since the Pacific Northwest has an expert coffee stand on every corner.

Coffee Girl logo outside Coffee Girl entrance. Best breakfast in Astoria.

Coffee Girl sits right on the end of Pier 39 at the edge of Astoria — you have to drive out onto the wooden pier to reach it. Situated in an old cannery building, the shop is set up where the old lunch counter was for the cannery workers.

A wall of windows faces the Columbia River, giving some of the best views of the Columbia River. You can watch the seals and pelicans play, or observe the massive barges making their way to and from the port of Astoria.

Sitting on the pier at Coffee Girl in  Astoria. When visiting Astoria Oregon with kids, we recommend coffee girl as a great breakfast with a view.

If the weather is nice, you can sit out on the pier deck enjoying a quiet mocha with incredible foam art on top (seriously, they have a whole photo gallery online of just the coffee art!).

Coffee Girl's scone and mocha are amazing!
Mocha and a chocolate-chip orange scone. A great start to a great day.

Coffee Girl also serves the absolute best scones I have ever tasted- light, slightly sweet, crumbly but not dry. My husband loves their bagel sandwiches and the Mt Hood Mocha. Okay now I’m hungry… 

3. Explore the Hanthorn Cannery Museum

Pier 39 Astoria.
Pier 39 Astoria, Oregon

Right across from the Coffee Girl entrance is a self-guided tour of the Cannery building. We really enjoyed exploring the old equipment and learning about the Bumblebee fish canning industry that built up so much of Astoria in the early part of the 20th century.

It’s quiet and slightly creepy. My husband being the history buff he is, took his time to read everything. Entry is free, and donations are appreciated. 

Salmon For All sign on the Cannery building in Astoria.
Hanthorn Cannery Museum building

4. Columbia River Maritime Museum

This kid-friendly museum is a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy Oregon day. The different permanent exhibits are excellent and cover many aspects of maritime history along the Columbia River.

USCG display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria. The museum is a popular destination for families visiting Astoria with kids.
USCG exhibit

Our kids particularly enjoyed the huge exhibit on the Coast Guard Search and Rescue boats and the Weather Forecast exhibit.

Kids pretending to be meteorologists in the weather forecast exhibit at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon.
Pretending to be weather forecasters

The mouth of the Columbia River used to be called the Graveyard of the Pacific because of how many ships went down trying to make it into the River. The museum shares many of the stories of the legendary Columbia River Bar, as well as the Bar Pilots who made it possible for ships to safely navigate the dangerous passages at the mouth of the Columbia.

The Columbia River Maritime Museum is a great place to visit in Astoria Oregon with kids.
Huge ship propeller outside the CRMM

It’s fascinating to see how things have changed and what they looked like in years past. Kids of all ages will enjoy the many maritime artifacts, from fishing implements and boats used by Native Americans, to a Japanese fishing boat that washed ashore here in Oregon after the huge 2011 tsunami.

5. The Lightship Columbia

Lightship Columbia with the Astoria-Megler bridge in the background.

The lightship is a retired lighthouse-on-a-boat that used to sit at the mouth of the Columbia (near Astoria) to guide ships as they navigated in from the Pacific. You can tour a lot of the Lightship, and see how the lightship keepers lived (hint: tiny beds and spaces!).

Girl looking through porthole window on the Lightship Columbia in Astoria, Oregon.
Looking out a porthole in the Lightship

6. The Bowpicker

If you love fish and chips, this is the place to get them. The Bowpicker is right outside the Courthouse, and serves only fish and chips, and freshly caught that day. Once they’re out, they’re out!

Bowpicker restaurant. This place serves the freshest fish and chips in Astoria.
Here’s the Bowpicker!

They serve it out of a boat-turned-kitchen, so it’s fun for the experience, but there isn’t much shelter, so it may not be so great for a rainy day meal.

7. Fort Stevens

rusted shipwreck on beach with people
The wreck of the Peter Iredale

Fort Stevens State Park has a lot to offer. It’s a short drive from both Astoria and Seaside, and the beach with the Peter Iredale shipwreck is part of the park as well.

@dinkumtribe If you’ve never seen the Peter Iredale on the northern Oregon coast, you are missing out! our kids love clambering around on the old ship, and seeing all of the barnacles and tide pool critters, living in the cracks and crevices. @D@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel@D@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel@D@DinkumTribe ADHD family travelo#oregontravelideass#shipwreckbeachs#shipwreckt#travelwithkidso#oregonbeach ♬ Little Things – Tiqta

Fort Stevens was a highlight of a recent mother-daughter trip that Burro and I went on.

Military building at Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton, Oregon. This park has lots to offer when visiting Astoria, Oregon with kids.
One of the many half-buried buildings at Ft Stevens

We were delighted with the elk herds that roam freely across the grounds. Climbing up the old military bunkers and hills gave us a good workout, and we saw a disc golf course as well. The view of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the old aircraft guns was an unforgettable experience.

Elk herd at Fort Stevens State Park.

Ft. Stevens is full of military history, too. American Civil War earthworks are still present (a rarity on this side of the Mississippi). Many buildings remain from when Fort Stevens was an active fort during World War 2.

Signs describing the Japanese Submarine attack at Fort Stevens during WW2.
Here’s the story of the submarine attack

We especially enjoyed seeing the half-buried battery and the huge cannons. We had a great time and spent about three hours at Fort Stevens, and we still didn’t see everything. The sites are spread out on extensive grounds– plan to walk a lot and bring an umbrella if it’s raining heavily since it’s almost entirely outdoors.

Anti-aircraft gun at Fort Stevens.
Anti-aircraft gun

8. Take a drive over the Astoria-Megler bridge into Washington

@dinkumtribe Crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge is always fun, but especially when it’s such a gorgeous day! @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel #astoriaoregon #astoriabridge #oregoncoast #columbiariver #traveloregon #oregontravelguide ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel

I’ll admit that I am a sucker for bridges and interesting architecture. The bridge is visible all over Astoria, and picturesque at all times of day and in any weather. It’s the longest truss bridge in North America.

The Astoria Megler bridge as seen from the Astoria Column

You can’t walk on it, sadly, but the views are still pretty from a vehicle and there’s no fee to cross. If you’re really determined to enjoy the bridge on foot, look into the annual Great Columbia Crossing 10K.

Astoria-Megler Bridge as seen from a vehicle.
Driving the Astoria-Megler bridge

9. Cape Disappointment State Park (Washington side)

It’s only a 30-minute drive from the Astoria-Megler bridge to Cape Disappointment (Washington state). Cape Disappointment is one of several local sites on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. 

Cape Disappointment was named by English Captain John Meares in 1788 after he was unable to locate the entrance to the Columbia River. The lighthouse was built to warn mariners of the treacherous Columbia River bar. The lighthouse has helped to prevent many shipwrecks, saving countless lives over the years.

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest (built in 1856). The lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation, and it’s also a popular tourist destination.

Cape Disappointment State Park is also home to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the North Head Lighthouse. The park is an excellent spot for hiking, camping, fishing, and birdwatching.

10. Ride the Astoria Trolley

Astoria Riverfront trolley. This is a great activity to do in Astoria, Oregon with kids.

One of the best places to enjoy views of the bridge is while riding the Astoria Riverfront Trolley. The Trolley runs along the Astoria Riverwalk and has easy access to several popular tourist attractions, including the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Astoria Riverfront trolley.

The most updated schedule information is available on the Trolley website.

@dinkumtribe One of our favorite things to do when we visit Astoria, Oregon is to take a ride on the trolley which runs along the river front. The Astoria Riverfront Trolley is a 3-mile (4.8 km) heritage streetcar line that operates in Astoria, Oregon, United States. (Wikipedia) It only runs seasonally from about mid-spring to mid-fall. @@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel ##oregontravelideas##astoriaoregon##historictrolley##trolley##streetcar ♬ The Journey – Sol Rising

Historic Astoria: Landmarks and Places to see

Clatsop County Historical Society operates several museums in the historic buildings of downtown Astoria. Each is well worth a visit, and the highlights are listed below. Please note that since these are historic buildings, you will need to be able to climb stairs to explore all the floors of each museum.

11. Flavel House Museum

Flavel House Museum on a cloudy day.

The Flavel House Museum is a beautifully restored Victorian home that was built in 1885. It was built as a retirement home for Captain George Flavel (one of Oregon’s first millionaires) and his family.

Visitors can take a tour of the Queen Anne-style house and learn about the local history. In the hands-on room of this beautiful mansion, kids can play Victorian games and read books just as Captain Flavel’s children might have done. 

@dinkumtribe Our family loves books and we’re always suckers for a well-stocked, well laid out bookstore. Lucy’s books delivered! Also, the staff member at the desk was super welcoming and spent a few minutes showing us top spots to visit in Astoria, and provided us with a personalized map! @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel #bookstore #readingisfun #bookaddict #bookshelves #tardis #oregontravelideas ♬ With You – AP Dhillon

12. Oregon Film Museum

Our Family in front of the Oregon Film Museum (formerly Clatsop County Jail) in Astoria, Oregon.

This fun museum is located inside the former Clatsop County Jail. Visitors get to see how a movie set operates as they walk right into the former set where three movies have been filmed (The Goonies, Short Circuit, and Come See the Paradise). This museum is a great place for film buffs and history buffs — plus you can take a mug shot as a souvenir! 

13. Uppertown Firefighters Museum

A retired fire station houses many pieces of vintage firefighting equipment, and the best part is that admission is free! The Uppertown Firefighters Museum is open seasonally– check the website before planning a visit. 

14. Heritage Museum

Astoria's Heritage Museum

The Heritage Museum is located in the former City Hall building. This museum is dedicated to sharing the rich history of different people groups in Clatsop County. This museum would make a great starting point for an Oregon state history unit study (attention, fellow homeschoolers!).

15. The Goonies House (not a museum)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Goonies house for our film fans. The Goonies house is a two-story Victorian house located in Astoria, Oregon. It was built in 1896, and since The Goonies movie was released in the 1980s, the house has become a popular tourist destination.

For years, the owners of the residence discouraged tourist from visiting the house. However, the current owners of the house purchased the house in January 2023, and have said that they plan to keep it open for fans to visit. Note: at present, you can only visit the outside.

More Fun in Astoria, Oregon with Kids

Astoria-Megler Bridge.

There are a few other unique places in Astoria that would be fun to make a short stop with kids.

16. Garden of Surging Waves

My husband and kids walking through the Garden of Surging Waves in Astoria Oregon. Things to do in Astoria Oregon with kids

The Garden of Surging Waves is a public park in downtown Astoria that was created to honor the Chinese heritage of Astoria. It’s a beautiful, artistic place that older kids will be able to appreciate. Our teens made lots of history connections reading the information presented on the various placards around the Garden.

@dinkumtribe Don’t miss this beautiful free garden in downtown Astoria! Besides all the history recorded at various places in the garden it’s also a beautiful and quiet spot, in the middle of a metropolis. @@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @@DinkumTribe ADHD family travel##astoriaoregon##oregontravelideas##chineseamerican##chinesegarden##beautifulplaces##oregoncheck ♬ Chinese musical instruments cinematic of towns and fields(1329013) – GlanZauber

It’s also the perfect place to grab lunch or a snack, since the Garden is right across from a food cart area!

Astoria food carts across from the City Hall and Garden of Surging Waves.

17. Fort Astoria (reconstruction)

Fort Astoria is another historic landmark in downtown Astoria. It’s a log cabin reconstruction on the grounds where the fort used to be, with some signs relating to the history.

Our family picnicking on the lawn at Fort Astoria reconstruction.

The large mural is interesting to examine up close, and the lawn area proved to be a great spot for a family picnic on our recent visit to Astoria with our kids.

18. Fort George Brewery

Our son outside the Fort George Brewery and Public House.

Right around the corner is the Fort George Brewery, an icon of downtown Astoria, known all over Oregon for its amazing food and beer. The menu features wood-fired pizzas, pub fare, and small plates.

The brewpub is housed in a restored 1920s auto repair shop, and includes two spiral staircases as well as some other fascinating artistic touches. Our auto-loving son was delighted to see the antique car paraphernalia!

Spiral staircase and beautiful lighting inside the Fort George Brewery.

Fort George Brewery is known for its innovative beers showcasing local ingredients. The brewery has won numerous awards for its craft beers, including the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. Some of the brewery’s most popular beers include the Vortex IPA, the Electric Surfboard IPA, and the Cavatica Stout.

Fort George Brewery also offers a variety of events and activities. The brewery hosts live music, trivia nights, and food truck festivals.

The bar inside Fort George Brewery.

19. Lucy’s Books

Lucy’s Books is a locally owned and operated independent bookstore located in the heart of downtown Astoria, Oregon. Lucy Crockett (founder) wanted to create a space where people could come to discover new books and authors. Lucy’s Books carries a wide selection of books for all ages, including fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and graphic novels. 

@dinkumtribe Our family loves books and we’re always suckers for a well-stocked, well laid out bookstore. Lucy’s books delivered! Also, the staff member at the desk was super welcoming and spent a few minutes showing us top spots to visit in Astoria, and provided us with a personalized map! @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel #bookstore #readingisfun #bookaddict #bookshelves #tardis #oregontravelideas ♬ With You – AP Dhillon

The store also hosts regular events, such as author readings, book clubs, and story time for children. Our children and teens enjoyed exploring the well-curated collection of books and book-lovers gifts, and I couldn’t resist a photo with the Doctor Who Tardis!

Me in front of the blue Police Public Call Box (Doctor Who's Tardis) inside of Lucy's Books in Astoria.

Lucy’s Books is a beloved part of the Astoria community. The store is known for its friendly and knowledgeable staff—the staff member we met handed us a free map of downtown Astoria, and spent a few minutes marking the relevant points of interests, as well as locations of public restrooms (an essential for parents with kids!).

Lucy’s Books is also a great place to simply browse and explore the shelves. 

Teens and kids exploring Lucy's bookstore in Astoria Oregon.

20. Astoria Aquatic Center

I’ll admit that when I first heard about the Astoria Aquatic Center, I dismissed it as simply a standard community pool. However this is WAY BETTER than the standard public pool – it’s kind of a mini waterpark!

The Astoria Aquatics Center is a public indoor aquatic center located in Astoria, Oregon. The center features four pools, including a 6-lane, 25-yard lap pool, a recreation pool with a lazy river, a hot tub, and a wading pool for small children. Did we mention the giant red waterslide??

The center also has a full gym and cardio fitness area, so mom and dad can get in some grown-up time. The Astoria Aquatics Center is open year-round and offers a variety of programs and activities, including swimming lessons, water aerobics, and aqua fitness. It’s super reasonably priced too!

Our teen daughter in the pool with her younger brothers. The Astoria Aquatic Center is one of the best things to do in Astoria Oregon with kids.

21. Astoria’s nearby attractions

Several other sites on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail are within an hour’s drive of Astoria. Fort Clatsop is our favorite, but some others nearby include the Lewis and Clark Salt Works and the Netul landing site.

Seaside, Oregon is only about 30 minutes south of Astoria, and well worth visiting. Besides the Peter Iredale shipwreck, an aquarium and lots of beach town fun are just a few of the things we discuss at length in our Seaside post. Check out our experience feeding sea lions at the Seaside Aquarium! 

The Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, as seen from the southern viewpoint.
Haystack Rock (Cannon Beach) isn’t far from Astoria.

Cannon Beach is another 30 minutes south of Astoria from Seaside. Cannon Beach is one of the most iconic spots on the Oregon Coast, with its natural beauty and the photogenic Haystack Rock. There’s plenty for families to enjoy there too, from tide pools to hiking to family-friendly restaurants like Mo’s and Public Coast Brewery.

What are your favorite things to do in Astoria Oregon with kids?

Astoria has fun and unique events happening year-round, so check the city website for details. We keep hoping to go for the Crab Festival, which by all accounts is a seafood lover’s dream, but it looks like we’ll have to try for 2024. When we visited recently, the city was preparing for the Astoria Regatta, which has been held annually for over a century.

Poster in a window for the 2023 Astoria Regatta.

If you’re looking for a unique coastal getaway, Astoria and the Oregon Coast are fantastic destinations.

© Copyright 2021 Jennifer D. Warren. First published: September 29, 2021. UPDATED: September 2, 2023.

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About the author

I’m Jenn Warren, Co-Founder and Content Creator for Dinkum Tribe. I'm a Third Culture Kid (TCK) from Jamaica and California, married to my college sweetheart. I've been a missionary kid, pastor’s kid and (former) pastor’s wife. My husband and I traveled as pastors for 12 years throughout the United States and Canada before becoming travel content creators.

I love living in Oregon and exploring new places with my family. We’ve road tripped over 30,000 miles across the United States and Western Canada with our six children since their infancy. Prior to our marriage, I also lived in Spain for a summer and spent another summer in Mexico.

I’ve homeschooled our six children for over 10 years, and served on the board of a homeschool co-op for 4 years. Several members of our family are neurodivergent (gifted, ADHD, cPTSD), and I’ve spent 5+ years learning how to accommodate neurodivergent needs as well as supporting the resultant mental health challenges (anxiety, depression).

I’ve also served as a support group leader and co-director of Pure Life Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports families struggling with sexual addiction.

I write about family travel and road trips, millennial marriage, general parenting, homeschooling, parenting neurodivergent children, grief, and abuse recovery.


  1. I’m so heading straight for the Coffee Girl – that chocolate chip orange scone looks amazing. Great fuel for a day of exploring Astoria. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Astoria looks like a stunning destination in the PNW! We have friends that live there and we’ve been itching to get out and visit. First syop, Coffe Girl!

    1. You won’t regret it! I’ve been following them on instagram and their Thanksgiving cookies look good too.

  3. I loved learning about the Columbia River. It’s so interesting, I had no idea how dangerous the water is between the river and the ocean. The column is also a great visit and I love that it’s on this list!

  4. Ooh, I can’t wait to visit Astoria after reading this! So many wonderful things to do. Thanks for all the great info!

    1. There’s even more to come! Planning on updating this post soon with MORE cool things to see and do!

  5. I love the view from the top of the column & a coffee on the pier would be great. Astoria sounds like a lovely day out.

  6. It does look like a really unique area to explore. I love how much of a variety there is in terms of things to do and attractions.

  7. Nothing beats a good coffee to start the day! I love how much there is to do in Astoria for adults and kids. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Yum, that scone at coffee girl looks so amazing! I’m sure I would love that coffee shop. I’d also love to drive over the Astoria-Megler Bridge for those beautiful views!

  9. I’ve never heard of Astoria before, but it seems like a lovely place to visit. The views from atop the Column looks amazing!

  10. I have been to Astoria before . . . but sadly I just did #7 on your list and drove across the bridge. Now I’m pretty upset I didn’t get one of those scones! I’d love to check out that column too.

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