Fort Stevens State Park (tel. 503/861-1671; www.oregon.gov/oprd/parks), 8 miles from Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia, preserves a fort that was built during the Civil War to protect the Columbia River and its important port cities. Though Fort Stevens had the distinction of being the only mainland military reservation to be fired on by the Japanese, the fort was deactivated after World War II. Today the fort's extensive grounds include historic buildings and gun emplacements, and the Fort Stevens Historic Area Military Museum (tel. 503/861-2000). Throughout the summer, the museum operates tours of the fort in a military surplus truck. There are also miles of bicycle paths, beaches, a campground, and a picnic area. Park admission is $3. At the north end of the park, you can climb to the top of a viewing tower and get a good look at the South Jetty, which was built to make navigating the mouth of the Columbia easier. Also within the park you can see the wreck of the Peter Iredale, one ship that did not make it safely over the sandbars at the river's mouth.
A few miles south of Fort Stevens on U.S. 101, you'll find Sunset Beach State Recreation Area; it provides beach access and is the western end of the 6.5-mile Fort to Sea Trail, which stretches from here to Fort Clatsop in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
A few miles east of town on Ore. 30, bird-watchers will find a roadside viewing platform overlooking the marshes of the Twilight Creek Eagle Sanctuary. Take Burnside Road off Ore. 30 between the John Day River and Svenson.
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