Last year we spent several weeks in the Astoria, Oregon area enjoying the ocean. We fell in love with the area and the amazing access to beaches, trails, and great wildlife viewing. So, this past week when we checked the weather forecast and noticed a stretch of sunny days we knew exactly where we wanted to head for a mini-getaway.
Astoria is situated at the mouth of the Columbia River where it meets with the Pacific Ocean. It has an incredible amount of history from the Chinook peoples who originally inhabited the area, to the Lewis and Clark expedition and John Jacob Astor who came to the area to explore and trade. However, the best part about Astoria is its central location to a number of great state and national park sites as well as national wildlife refuges. You could fill weeks with visiting these amazing natural areas (last year we did). However, for our second trip to Astoria we concentrated on visiting our favorites such as Benson Beach at Cape Disappointment State Park where you can walk to the North Jetty of the Columbia River. We also scrambled over a good deal of the South Jetty on the Oregon side by walking down to the beach at the northern tip of Fort Stevens State Park.
During our time in between rock hopping along jetties we watched sea lions on the docks in the Port of Astoria. For us it doesn’t get any better than observing sea lions up close so we made sure to visit them each day that we were in town. We also headed back to the Astoria Column to fly wooden gliders off the top of the column and roll down the hill. And finally to our great disappointment we were bested once again by the Weather Beach Trail at Leadbetter Point State Park. This is our second attempt to hike this trail from Willapa Bay to the Pacific Ocean and each time we are met with waist high water. We are determined to complete it one day and will try again. Luckily the protected Willapa Bay makes a nice warm place to play in the mud and we never leave Leadbetter Point too disappointed. Plus it gives us an excuse to keep returning to the Astoria area to take advantage of all the great parks and activities.