By Michael Kew
You may not often hear the words “action sports” said in reference to Astoria and Warrenton, more famous for rich maritime lore and Victorian charm. But, set snugly at the mouth of the Columbia, these twin towns have wide waterways for paddling, crisp air for zip lining and plenty of rustic trails for trekking.
That’s not all, of course. Oregon’s North Coast is a windy place. Humans have always dreamed of solo, non-powered flight, and while that’s physically impossible, paragliding is the closest we can get. And the best thing about paragliding is the fact that almost anyone can do it. Foot-launched and slight on gear — just a wing and a harness — its glory is its simplicity. Ready to give it a go? You’re in luck: Being carried by wind is something the folks at Discover Paragliding want you to experience.
In Oregon, where’s there’s water, there’s often kayaking and stand-up paddling (SUPing). Michelle at Kaady Kayaks offers kayak rentals and deliveries for individuals and groups on Lewis and Clark and John Day rivers, or Coffenbury and Cullaby lakes. If you prefer to stroke from your feet, Clatsop Paddle Company knows what a flatwater-paddling haven the Columbia Rivermouth region is; they are a mobile outfit offering rentals of paddleboards and kayaks (wet suits too). Clatsop Paddle also offers guided tours.
Maintaining the aqua vibe, many of you have likely wondered what’s beneath the surface of said waterways, both saltwater and fresh. Astoria Scuba and Adventure Sports is a top-notch operation offering the gamut of scuba, from basic training to advanced/master certification, all the way to instructor level classes. They also offer kayak and SUP rentals and lessons.
Feel like doing something exhilarating and speedy? Zip lining is quite the thrill! High Life Adventures is your one-stop 30-acre shop for zipping over forest, ponds and a private 7-acre lake. All told, the Larson family’s 8 miles of lines add up to a mile of airborne thrills. Afterward, why not relax around a fire pit with a pint of craft beer at High Life’s new Zip N’ Sip Bar?
For something more terrestrial, Bikes & Beyond is a well-stocked shop with rentals for you to enjoy the Astoria waterfront atop two wheels. Astoria and Warrenton are also loaded with great hiking trails. Need some fresh kicks? Gimre’s, family owned since 1892, has got your feet covered. One of the more interesting treks is the Fort to Sea Trail, a 6.5-mile route built for 2005’s Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebration, linking the Fort Clatsop Memorial with Sunset Beach in the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks south of Astoria.