Astoria, Oregon is the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains - which is pretty impressive in its own right - but visitors often mistake this picturesque town as a seasonal spot. JUST NOT TRUE. We're here to show you that Astoria and the North Coast has SO much to offer, even in the Winter!
Astoria has a long standing reputation as a blustery and rainy place in the Winter, and while we definitely get our share of the wet stuff, the cooler season can surprise you! For instance, sunsets in Winter on the Oregon Coast are GORGEOUS. The low hanging clouds and angle of the sun make for spectacular evening shows and great photo ops! So bundle up, wear your waterproof boots, and get out there.
WHERE TO GO
Just because it's Winter doesn't mean that you're stuck being inside. The North Coast is a veritable wonderland of outdoor fun and provides a much needed alternative to indoor activities - which we desperately need (especially these days.) State parks are ideal for allowing travelers to get outside and explore, while still being accessible and safe.
Fort Stevens State Park is not only a historic military site, but this popular park boasts 4,300 acres of hiking trails, paved walk and bike paths, beaches, coastal forests, and camping. While it can be crowded in the Summer, it sees less traffic in the Winter months so you can take full advantage of all the park has to offer while social distancing like a pro. If you're feeling especially adventurous, take in a little Winter storm watching on the South Jetty observation tower!
Distance from the Norblad Hotel - 9.4 miles.
Want to get a shot of one of the most iconic views of the Oregon coastline? Head over to Ecola State Park and hike down to the viewing platform. From Haystack Rock to the mysterious "Terribly Tilly" Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, there is no shortage of eye candy while at Ecola State Park.
Ecola is an excellent spot to spend the day on a trail too; the Oregon Coast Trail runs straight through the park in an eight mile stretch. If you want to kick up the intensity take the Clatsop Loop Trail down to the popular surf spot, Indian Beach. Just be careful when on the beach. The Winter weather can make for some gnarly seas!
Distance from the Norblad Hotel - 25.9 miles.
Astoria City Parks
You don't have to travel far from the hotel to take in a little outdoor adventure. Astoria has lots of inner-city hideaways and parks to explore without ever leaving the city limits! The best part about visiting these unique spaces in the Winter is that you might be the only one around, giving you lots of opportunities for communing with nature or just getting that perfect photo for the 'gram!
Shively Park is one of those tucked away places that day travelers rarely stumble upon, but it is worth the visit! The park has a paved walkway that encircles the main park area and leads you through a magical inner-city forest of enormous trees, hidden trails, and long, concrete steps that, seemingly, lead to nowhere.
In the early 1900's, Shively Park was a vibrant new park with extensive gardens and structures; now every corner holds some remnant of the park's illustrious past, reclaimed by the forest. Shively Park's paved loop is a great alternative to some of the unpaved trails in town that can get pretty muddy and sloppy in the Winter months.
Distance from the Norblad Hotel - 1.2 miles.
The Astoria Riverwalk is a really special feature on our waterfront which runs along the bank of the Columbia River. Travelers normally explore parts of the Riverwalk rather than undertake the entire six mile trek, but either way it's a great way to get some incredible views of the mighty Columbia. You can walk, bike, run, or take the dog for a long stroll, all while experiencing Astoria from this unique, paved, walkway. The best part? The Astoria Riverwalk is only two blocks from the Norblad Hotel!
Distance from the Norblad Hotel - Less than a mile.
Grab your walking shoes and head up to the Cathedral Tree Trail for one of the coolest experiences Astoria has to offer. Hidden away on the Astoria hilltop, the Cathedral Tree is an enormous 300 year old Sitka Spruce that sits on a trail between the Astoria Column and Irving Avenue.
While you can make it to Cathedral Tree by taking the trailhead beginning at the Astoria Column, it can get messy in the Winter rains. To save yourself the potential for a muddy fall, park at the Cathedral Tree Trailhead on Irving Avenue and enjoy a graveled trail that makes up most of the walk to the beautiful tree.
Distance from the Norblad - 1.2 miles.
One of the only places in Oregon that you can drive on the beach, Sunset Beach is a cool, out of the way spot that is ideal for checking out those Winter sunsets! Being able to pull up to a cozy section of sand in your vehicle saves you from having to make the trek from the parking lot - which, in Winter, can be quite chilly and cold.
Instead, you can watch the ocean waves and dune wildlife from the comfort of your car! The beach stretches on for roughly ten miles, giving travelers plenty of room to spread out and maintain a wide berth from one another. The wind is a constant on the beach, so be sure to bring a warm hat and jacket. Also, never underestimate the power of the Winter waves and keep an eye on the tides!
Distance from the Norblad - 9.6 miles
WHEN TO GO
Crowds tend to become increasingly larger in late Spring, so shoot for December through March for ideal low-crowd conditions. The Norblad Hotel makes traveling during this time a bit easier by offering super affordable rates and specials for ambitious Winter wanderers. Whenever you decide to make your Winter adventures happen - whether for a quick weekend getaway or an all out road trip down the coast - be safe and have fun!
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