Astoria, Oregon has been on our list of places to see for years. This is the town that is famous for The Goonies movie, and Mr. TypeTwoFun and I grew up on The Goonies. We have essentially wanted to visit this town since we were kids, so when we were planning our big road trip to the Pacific Northwest, it had to be worked into the route. Our kids are now big fans of the movie, too. In fact, they were watching it on the drive in, so it was only natural that The Goonies House was our first stop!
We parked down the road from The Goonies House and made the long walk over. We knew we couldn’t see the inside of the house, as it is now a private residence, but we were excited to see The Goondocks and do the “Truffle Shuffle.” There was quite a crowd when we got there. The kids were way too shy and didn’t want to put themselves out there, so I had to settle for just a picture. 😉
I’m glad we were able to see the house when we did. Not long after we returned from our trip, we heard that the owner of The Goonies House was closing it to visitors. Apparently, the traffic just became too much. What a bummer! But… if you are big Goonies fans, like we are, Ecola State Park is just down the road! You can see the iconic Haystack Rock and check out some of the spots where the movie was filmed.
The whole area is amazing, and it is easy to see why Steven Spielberg picked this spot to film the movie. I’ve said it before, but it was reinforced when we visited Astoria–Oregon is gorgeous! We packed a picnic lunch and took in the sights. Unfortunately, there is no camping at Ecola State Park, so we headed to Fort Stevens State Park to set up camp.
On our way to Fort Stevens, we took a little detour to Lewis and Clark National Park. Before our big trip last year, we purchased a national parks pass, and it was the best thing we ever did. It enabled us to see so many national parks and monuments we might have otherwise skipped. The kids started collecting national parks tokens, so that has motivated them to visit more parks. This year, we purchased another pass, and we’ve been continuing our tour of the parks. Lewis and Clark National Park was a nice little respite. We toured the Fort Clatsop replica and took a quick hike down the Fort to Sea trail. Then we picked up our token and headed on our way.
We loved Fort Stevens. Oregon really does have a stellar state parks system. The campground has 300+ sites with electricity and water, and 170 sites with full-hookups. The sites themselves were pretty large and well shaded, so we didn’t have to use our awning during this stay either. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring with a grill. There is a dump station in the campground, as well as flushing toilets and hot showers. All those amenities are free to guests of the campground. We paid $29/night for our electric/water site plus an $8 reservation fee. Full hookup sites are just $32/night.
This is definitely a family friendly campground. There were lots of kids in our loop, and it was easy to see why. This campground has something for everyone, all within a few minute’s drive. We checked in quickly and were set up within the hour. This gave us more than enough time to take a quick hike to explore all the area had to offer. First stop–Battery Russell!
Fort Stevens was a major defense post from the Civil War to the end of World War II. There are two gun batteries that you can tour. Battery Russell is abandoned and no longer used. It’s a quick hike from the campground, and was so much fun to explore.
It was pretty eerie there. I’m not sure if we visited at an off time or what, but we had the place to ourselves. It was fun to explore, but we had no idea what we were looking at. We made guesses about the layout and use of the battery back in its heyday. We’d also heard that Battery Russell was haunted, so we were hoping for a few ghosts. They must have had better things to do that day, though. 🙂
The following day, we were able to head over to the West Batteries and Museum area. These batteries have been partially restored, and there is abundant information about their use and function. Suddenly, everything we’d seen the day before over at Battery Russell clicked into place.
If you are heading to Fort Stevens, you may just want to visit the West Batteries and Museum first. Things will make a whole lot more sense that way, and you’ll learn some great history. These are my favorite stops–the ones where we learn a few things along the way.
We visited the beach and the wreck of the Peter Iredale during our stay at Fort Stevens. In 1906, this British sailing ship ran aground, and it has been a local attraction ever since. There isn’t much left, but it makes for some great pictures. It’s not far from the campground–just a few minutes’ walk–and the kids really enjoyed exploring the ruins. Besides, who can resist an afternoon on the beach? 🙂
The abundance of activities in the area, coupled with the beautiful campground, made this one of our favorite stops on the trip. If you are in the area, definitely don’t miss Astoria. It’s a quaint little town that is well worth a visit.
Helpful Tips for Pop Up Camping in Fort Stevens State Park
- There are 300+ electric and water sites at the campground, and 170 full-hookup sites. The campground has a dump station and gray water drains for every couple of sites. The campground is huge, but you can still make your reservations early!
- The park has well maintained bathrooms with flush toilets and private showers–and showers are free to campground guests. We LOVE that! 🙂
- We had no specific food storage restrictions, but there were some pesky (& fat) squirrels that just wouldn’t leave our stuff alone. Just to be safe, we stored all our food in the car.
- Give yourself time to fully explore the park. We only allowed ourselves one day, and it wasn’t nearly enough. There is so much to do in the area, that you’ll want to make sure you get to see and do it all. Don’t miss the West Batteries and Museum. You can even take an underground tour of the batteries and ride in a military transport truck! Check out the park website for more information.
- Our particular site was pretty level, but we still needed our BAL Leveler. Make sure you park on the paved drive only, and bring some sort of leveling system.
- Fort Stevens is definitely a family-friendly campground. There were lots of families with kids–and lots of noise. It seemed as though everyone tried to observe quiet hours as much as possible. In fact, quiet hours were so peaceful, we even slept in past our alarm clock. 🙂
Have you been to Fort Stevens State Park? Or maybe you’re an Oregon native with some tips about the area! We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
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