Oregon : Safety by City
- Baker City
- Coos Bay
- Hood River
- Klamath Falls
- La Grande
- Lincoln City
Astoria, Oregon, sits at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, where it spills into the Pacific Ocean.
Across the water is Washington state and a few miles away are the coastal bluffs and beaches.
It’s the oldest city in the state and the first settlement made by Americans in the infancy of the country’s expansion west.
It was John Jacob Astor who directed fur traders here in 1811, hence the “Astoria.”
With three sides surrounded by water, shipping, fishing, and port-of-entry have kept the city humming for more than two centuries.
Today, it’s also a popular cruise ship port on the Pacific Ocean.
Astoria isn’t stuck in the past, but it hasn’t forgotten where it came from, either.
The busy waterfront juxtaposes with a cultural scene often referred to as “Little San Francisco.”
Beyond the town, wild beauty beckons.
Hike windswept coastal cliffs, where crashing waves sing their siren song.
On and off the water, you’ll find coastal activities that are different from any average beach town.
Astoria’s appeal is multifaceted.
It’s a tapestry woven from rugged history, vibrant present, and breathtaking nature.
It’s a place where salty air awakens your senses and creative energy finds fertile ground.
Warnings & Dangers in Astoria
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Astoria with a lot of safe spaces to enjoy activities. We do have a few concerns to highlight, but you should have no reservations about visiting this coastal gem.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Oregon Point buses can take you between Portland and Astoria, with many other suburbs and coastal towns along the way. Bike racks are available on all buses. Two taxi companies and several rideshare companies operate here. A downtown trolley can also help you get off your feet, but the downtown area is walkable.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Astoria averages five pickpockets or purse snatchings a year. The risk is low, but the high theft rate should make you keep your guard up.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Astoria gets nearly 80 inches of rain on average each year. The biggest concern is flooding from rain, especially at high tide. Then, add in coastal erosion risks and oversaturated soil, and mudslides/landslides are possible. As part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, earthquakes are possible. Those can also trigger tsunamis. It's important to stay aware of the weather and have a way to get emergency alerts.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Robbery rates are at the national average, but it's important to know the small population here versus the number of robberies can make that rate look worse than it is. For example, there were eight robberies in 2022 and half of those were highway robberies. The risk is low.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
As a port-of-entry, there's going to be a lot of security. Part of that should make you feel safer, but you should also realize the abundance of security is because of the potential threats. The best thing you can do is report anything suspicious. Natural hazards are a greater risk here than terrorism.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Several local scams have been reported that target residents. The risk is low, but you should review the common scam tactics for rental homes. People will list fake rentals, take your money, and run. However, knowing the signs of a scam greatly lowers that risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Nothing in the crime data or recent news reports suggests there is anything but a low risk here for women. You'll need basic personal safety practices and should avoid the docks or dark, unknown areas at night.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The latest Water Quality Report is from 2021, but you can call the city to get a more updated copy. They are available after July 1 for the previous calendar year. With the strict drinking water standards in the United States, the risk is low.
Safest Places to Visit in Astoria
Travel Astoria and Visit the Oregon Coast are the names of two tourism websites that can help you plan your trip.
The first one covers Astoria and nearby Warrenton.
The second one covers the length of the Oregon coast.
You’ll be drawn to the charming streets of downtown Astoria lined with independent shops, art galleries, and cafes.
You can learn more at astoriadowntown.com.
Check out the local events, list of restaurants, and updated shopping options.
Be sure to take the ride to the Astoria Column.
It’s a lighthouse with intricate designs on it offering breathtaking views of the water.
Head to Upper Astoria for the grandeur of the early days.
This historic district boasts grand Victorian homes, many converted into bed and breakfasts.
Take a self-guided walking tour, admire the architectural details, and learn about the lives of Astoria’s early residents.
Fans of the movie “The Goonies” should walk to 368 38th Street, as that’s where the “Goonies House” is located.
The home isn’t open to visitors, but the owners welcome people to snap photos outside.
For more about Oregon films, head to the Oregon Film Museum.
See props, costumes, and behind-the-scenes exhibits, and maybe even try your hand at green screen acting!
Just a block away, you can step back in time at Flavel House Museum, an opulent Victorian mansion, once home to a wealthy shipbuilder.
Explore the period furnishings, learn about Astoria’s maritime history, and soak in the stunning river views.
More history of these famed waters awaits at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
From touring historical ships to documentaries telling sailor’s stories to interactive exhibits, you’ll love the different exhibits and options here.
Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks await at the meeting point of the Columbia River and the ocean.
Indigenous people’s history is honored here with special exhibits detailing the arrival of famed explorers Lewis & Clark.
The footprint of the parks spans from the water, where the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail runs, from the riverbanks to the ocean.
Be sure to review the National Park Service website because there’s a lot more to do here than visit one location.
If I have one recommendation, it would be to visit Cape Disappointment State Park across the water on the Washington side.
It’s especially great for those who want to see big, crashing waves on jagged shores.
I’m really only scratching the surface of what you can do here.
For a town of 10,000 people, you certainly won’t get bored.
Places to Avoid in Astoria
There aren’t bad parts of the town or areas too dangerous to visit but use common sense.
Stick to the tourist areas. As cool as it might be to see a working waterfront, there are plenty of vantage points to enjoy the views without getting in the way or risking your safety.
The biggest thing to avoid is not knowing the tide schedules.
Since the rivers connect with the ocean here, they are also influenced by the tide.
Some parts of the beach or even rock outcroppings could be underwater at high tide.
You don’t want to get trapped or stuck.
Don’t mess with waves, especially if you aren’t familiar with their power.
Keep a good distance back.
Those things can easily knock you down and carry you away.
Finally, if you’re looking for a sunny, warm beach escape, Astoria and the Oregon Coast aren’t the right places.
This area is rugged, chilly, and rainy – yet still mesmerizing.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Astoria
- Astoria has a police department, and you can reach them at (503)325-4411 if you have specific safety questions. Follow them on Facebook @AstoriaPolice.
- Sign up for ClapstopALERTS through the city’s website. You will get emergency notifications about flooding, possible tsunamis, and other public safety hazards.
- Use the TripCheck website to look at road conditions before you travel around the coast. You can usually call 511 to get road information updated, but in some places that number won’t work. The other option is 800-977-ODOT (6368). The system is voice-activated, so you can tell it where you want to go, and it will give you conditions along the way.
- The police department releases a daily log of crimes from the day before. You can view this on the front page of the department’s website. It’s a great way to see what crimes are trending closer to and during your visit.
- If you want to go boating, fishing, or clamming while you’re here, there are licenses and permits required for each one. Please check the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife website to get all the details.
- This area could get a weather event known as an “Atmospheric River.” What that means is a giant weather system that will move onshore and drop a lot of rain. Flooding, landslides, and dangerous water conditions will come with these rivers.
- Download the National Park Service app to get extensive information about the Lewis & Clark Historical Parks. You’ll be able to download offline maps, giving you access even if you’re out of mobile range.
- Mushroom picking is popular in the musky, damp region along the coastline. You should review the different types of mushrooms on the wildlife website, as not all of them are safe to eat. Some can be poisonous.
- You can explore the waterways on SUPs or kayaks, but if you aren’t experienced, hire an outfitter for a training session or get a guided tour. While the tours cost more money, I always prefer them since the guide handles the directions and I can just sit back and enjoy the views.
- Surfing is another way to enjoy the water here, but you’ll need a wetsuit. The water is too cold throughout the year to surf in just a swimming suit. Rentals are available in town, or you can bring your own.
So... How Safe Is Astoria Really?
Astoria’s a fairly safe city, but a lot of it depends on your common sense and situational awareness skills.
Violent crime is down 38% since 2019 but still ranks 16% above the national average and 34% above the state average.
About one of every three crimes happens against a stranger, lowering the risk even more.
Keep in mind that those rates don’t include the millions of people who pass through here each year, as crime data is figured out by population (10,181) vs raw crime data.
If you figure in the tourist population, the crime rates would be minuscule.
For example, that “higher than average” crime rate really boils down to 47 violent crimes in 2022.
Theft is another scary-looking category, with a rate 86% higher than the national average.
Nearly 500 thefts happened in 2022, and one-third of those were in the category “other,” which could be equipment stolen from the dock, personal items stolen in a yard, or anything else that doesn’t fit into one of the defined categories.
26% of all thefts were car break-ins, which can be reduced by simply locking your car door and removing personal items.
Then you have weather risks to worry about, and not all of them come with a warning.
For example, you can’t predict an earthquake.
You can review the emergency management plans to know what to do in case one happens.
Overall, basic research and common sense go a long way here.
You have plenty to see no matter what your interests are, and a small town with a cultural vibe that makes it feel much larger.
How Does Astoria Compare?
|Hong Kong (China)
International travelers must obtain either a visa or a visa waiver, though I'd suggest the waiver if you qualify for it. You can check your eligibility for a visa waiver by visiting the U.S. State Department website. A passport is required as well. All that includes whether you arrive at the airport or the port of entry.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted in the country. Check your credit card for any foreign transaction charges, but also know that credit cards provide the best fraud prevention compared to a debit card. Astoria is remote, so exchange any currency before you arrive.
Pack layers like lightweight fleece, a waterproof jacket, and some short sleeves. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water shoes for coastal adventures. Don't forget the bug spray.
Portland International Airport is two hours from Astoria and SeaTac Airport (Seattle/Tacoma) is three hours northwest of Astoria. Just be sure you don't book through Portland International Jetport. That's in Maine, 3000 miles away.
Anytime you take a trip where weather could potentially interfere with flights or driving, we highly recommend getting travel insurance. Supplemental health insurance is ideal if you don't have health coverage in the U.S.
Astoria Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oregon - Safety by City