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Astoria: Advice for families from a Local

23 May 2006  Local advice for travelers with kids
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 5 votes

Advice for families from a Native NW coaster.

  • Category: Other
  • 1. Food

    Astoria is working on being more family oriented, here are a few of my favorites:

    Pig N' Pancake - offers color crayons and a color on kids menu. They are excellent in spliting adult meals or you can order off of the kids menu. Friendly staff, and comfy seats. Standard American fare, but always reliable.

    The Blue Schooner Cafe- All Organic ingredients! Excellent baked goods and the only place I can get a rice milk chai with Stevia. Also does all types of espressos and drinks, fresh baked goods all day long. (Located in the FORT GEORGE BUILDING). Excellent service for kids, they make a wicked hot chocolate, and have toys and comfy couches for relaxing, and a selection of magazines; second to none. Come and have a relaxing morning with food that is delicious and allergy friendly. They do make wheat free scones daily... they are my favorite

    T.Paul's Urban Cafe- Ecclectic decor, with salt water fish tanks in their back room. Their back room is ideal for families, or for anyone wanting to relax, they have couches and it would be perfect for someone to go with a guitar just to mellow out with friends. Their food is great, I enjoy their taco salad, they will do take out if asked. And they have a full espresso bar.
    Peter Pan Market- Excellent location to pick up a few things if you are at the park right there.
    Rainforest Cafe- baked goods, juice and coffees, smoothies. The interior is so need, entire wall is a mural of rainforest and animals.

    Brown Bagger's Deli- Hard to deal with kids, as there are stools. My me and my friend brought our two boys there, and had a fine time though. Not for big families as seating is limited. Take food to go, and eat on the dock!

    The Lazy Spoon Cafe- This Greek restaurant had really great food, and do have hamburgers for the kids. It is a bit hard to find, check out my review.

    Silver Salmon- is the best, but not very suitable for children. Though the staff is great, the price is high and the other patrons might not appreciate your little one.

    Dooger's in Warrenton- might be a better choice for families, their food is good, and the location is easy to get to.

    Baked Alaska- This restaurant is open, and has a wonderful view of the river. Their food isn't the best, and I actually got sick from their shrimp appetizer. BUT, I still recommend it for people with kids, because they can be occupied with the view!

    Geno's Pizza N' Burgers is a great place for kids, Their name says it all. It used to be a little hamburger and shake joint, well the kept the same shakes and added Pizzas and TV's.

    Drina Daisy is a great little Bonsian restaurant but again not for kids really.

    Fast Food (sorry to add this but as you will see it is helpful)-
    McDonalds- I personally like their new Asian Salad... not sure any kids that don't like french fries!
    Burger King- Easier drive thru than McDonald's but hard if you have to cross traffic.
    Subway- The great thing about this restaurant (term used loosely) is that there is an indoor play area. The ONLY one in town.

  • 2. Shopping

    The Purple Cow Toy Store - fun and unique toys, packed into a small little store with a very friendly lady. Come here to pick out toys on your vacation and skip the Fred Meyer or Rite Aid typical junk.
    The Rain Store- need an umbrella, or does your little one need a raincoat with matching boots or galoshes? There are cute ones here from froggies and fireengines to sunflowers and ladybugs.
    Resale places- did your little one get all dirty playing at the beach or at Ft. Stevens and just need a tee-shirt or a pair of socks or his shoes are squishing when he walks cause he jumped into a puddle? To save money check out The Garment Gallery on Commercial St.
    Togs for Tumbleweeds- 1139 Commercial Street has Unique, high quality clothing and accessories for kids premie to size 16. Very cute hats by the way!
    Deals Only- If you need something basic like napkins or a cleaner stop here and get much cheaper. It is not good for food though usually as it is all outdated.

  • 3. Where to Stay

    The Cannery Pier Hotel-
    Red Lion Inn-
    Best Western-
    Holiday Inn Express-
    Bed and Breakfasts- are probably not a good idea with children, but a rental house would!

  • 4. Attractions

    Bridges- There are actually 3 bridges in Astoria. The Astoria/Magler Bridge that is quite large (4 miles) and spans the Columbia from Oregon to Washington. The Youngs Bay Bridge that Connects Astoria to Warrenton (it raises for boat traffic, so be aware of the red lights), and the bridge on 202 that goes from Astoria over to Lewis & Clark.
    Astoria Column-Might be a hard climb if your kids are under 5 but over 5 they will love the view and sending their little balsa wood airplane sailing.

    There are lots of Museums in Astoria, it is rich with fishing history. Here are a few that are very child friendly; Maritime Museum, Children's Museum, Firefighter's Museum.

    Crabbing- In the Summer there are charters you can take to head out into the Columbia and do some crabbing

    Kayaking-For teens and adults- check out Pacific Wave for rentals. Can also rent kayaks at Coffenbury lake from Pacific Wave.

    Windsurfing- For teens and adults- check out Pacific Wave for rentals.

    Fishing- Bring your boat, to the Hammond Moring Basin, or even out to John Day boat ramp for a day on the river.

    Trolly- Very fun, and cheap activity for the little ones. Just watch the first step and hold a hand if they are littles.

    Galleries- Most are geared toward adults, so be aware of younger children, as many have breakables. One I want to check out but haven't is behind Complete photographer near the Senior Center. I will update this when I visit it.

    Astoria Aquatic Center- Toddler wading pool, therapy pool with river, water toys and slide, and a lap pool. Check for times, usually closed to public 1-4 school days. 1st Sunday of every month free community swim sponsored by area businesses. They have family dressing rooms, and roomy lockers. Also there are life jackets for every size.

    The main theater has matinees when they are showing kids movies, so check it out, kids under 2 are free.
    Columbian Cinema has cheap movies and you can order food like pizza and watch it there.
    The Liberty Theater has a Children's Theater once a year during the summer. We have seen Jungle Book and Cinderella there. Missoula Children's Theater comes and teaches the local children the parts and they perform. Children love watching kids their age on stage

    Tapiola Park is awsome, it has replicas of Astoria Column and other sites in the area. Also my boys love going to the park at the top of the hill near Peter Pan Market, it is very little kid friendly, plus it has a basketball court and double tennis court. And you can get your picnic goodies right there, they also make sandwiches and have baked goods.

    Jirah Christian Center- Roller skating Rink- fun activity for the whole family or parties.

    Skate Park- Tapiola Park.

    Feeding the birds- the best place is right at the Maritime Museum, and you can feed the ducks and seagulls of course will come.

    Sea Lions- make sure to take them down to the East End Mooring Basin to watch the SeaLions.

    Outside of Astoria Proper are two great Facilities-
    Ft. Stevens St. Park-Ft. Stevens boasts, Battery Russell, Coffenbury Lake with Kayak rentals in the summer, A Bird Sactuary, lots of trails, the Peter Iredale (what 2 boards are left of it, and the South Jetty. The south Jetty is a MUST see IMO in the area. It has a lookout tower, and it overlooks the south jetty (man made!) of the Columbia River, and the waves crash right there.

    Ft. Clatsop-The fort that was built as a replica of the Fort Lewis and Clark and Company built was burned this last year. It has been rebuilt. They have an interpretive center and trails, and very family oriented, with activities for all ages.

  • 5. Special Events

    Sunday Market- Every Sunday local artists, crafters as well as local growers, gather on 12th street to sell their wares. Lots of goodies to eat, and fun things to do and look at. Runs from May to late October (I think).

    Great Columbia Crossing- Every October there is a 10K walk/run that starts over the river at the waystop there. Entry fee is .. and is to be paid to the Astoria/Warrenton Chamber of Commerce. Hopefully we will have good weather this year. Last year it was rainy, but still fun, and lots of people participated. Including me, it was my first time. Your entry fee pays for a long sleeve Tee-shirt. 10K= approx 6.4 miles. The money raised goes to the Chamber.

    Crab Feed- It was held at the Hammond Mooring Basin, but as of late has moved to the Astoria Fairgrounds just East of town. There is an entry fee, and some fun activities like a bounce house for the kids (I think there is also babysitting available). There is food but you have to pay to taste, as well to sample the area wines. For us we haven't taken our children as the price was a little steep when we went last for what we got. But it is a fun local event if you want some yummy fresh seafood with some live entertainment at night.

    Finn Fest- This is a new event that this year is done in co-ordination with our parteners across the Columbia River, Naselle WA.

    Scandiavian Festival-

    Clatsop Country Fair- Excellent for even young children. When we went early in the day the rides were not running and the pigs were not racing. But we saw all the animals, the kids' favorite was the huge pink sow with all her suckling babes. There is also Muriel's Petting Zoo who comes for the occasion. As well as typical Fair food like Cotton Candy and Elephant Ears, they also have Coastal food from area restaurants like Mo's and their Chowder in Bread Bowls. The rides don't start up till noon and are quite spendy if you have more than one child, so prepare or don't go to that area. My children also loved the balloon man show. There are shows all day and night from well known country singers to other various entertainers. The Balloon Man made my children balloon hats, and did so for every kid in the audience that would come up on stage.

  • 6. Updating

    I am a local and so will be updating this when I can. Message me if you need something specific.