Move at your own pace. Relax and take it all in. If you’re the type of person that seeks out the coast when it’s time to push the reset button, there are plenty of things to do in Astoria and Warrenton to help you do just that. A great way to ease the mind? Watching the magnificent ships pass by along the mouth of the Columbia River.

Ship watching is an awe-inspiring pastime, whether you prefer to brave the elements outside or gaze from the window-side warmth of a hotel room or dinner table. You’ll find everything you need to know about ship watching in Astoria below. And while you’re in the area, check out the Columbia River Ship Report to identify the vessels in your view, listen to a live ship report from the local OPB station or learn more from the podcast archives.

Outdoor Viewing Tips
Keep safety in mind when you’re headed to the beach, especially during stormy weather. Gear up in layers (waterproof is best) and always check the weather and heed weather service and beach safety advice in advance. 

If your home base is Warrenton, one of the best places to watch ships roll in and out is the South Jetty Observation Deck at Fort Stevens State Park. From the elevated platform at the northwest corner of the park, watch waves crash into the rocky two-mile jetty as the wind picks up. The observation deck is uncovered, so be prepared to feel the salt spray. The viewing platform is a great location to watch birds and other wildlife with a pair of binoculars as well. 

Indoor Viewing Tips
Want to experience the beauty of the giant cargo ships, but not a fan of the soggy side effects? Head to the Columbia River Maritime Museum to view ships from the large windows along the river after learning more about the current and historic marine traffic through its exhibits.

You can also get a front-row experience by dining at one of the many restaurants with riverfront seating including Bridgewater Bistro, Buoy Beer, Baked Alaska, Astoria Brewing Company, WineKraft Wine Bar, Inferno Lounge, Mo’s Restaurant Astoria, Coffee Girl, and Rogue Ales Public House.

In Warrenton, you can drive right out to the water’s edge at Seafarer’s Park at the Hammond Marina where the Columbia prepares to spill into the Pacific. This car-accessible viewpoint is best for visitors with mobility impairments or anyone who wants to stay dry. In a good storm, your kids will feel like they’re inside a giant natural car wash! Picnic on the grassy lawns at the park in warmer weather or take in the waterfront views with a nice walk along the marina and Warrenton Waterfront Trails.
There’s no shortage of places to get a glimpse of passing ships in Astoria and Warrenton. Make a night of it by booking your stay at a riverfront hotel, including the Best Western Astoria Bayfront, Astoria Riverwalk Inn, Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, Holiday Inn Express Astoria, Comfort Suites Columbia River and Hampton Inn & Suites Astoria.
Wherever your viewpoint, checking an hour or two of ship watching off your vacation bucket list is sure to help you reset and refresh.