I’ve always loved The Goonies film, but for years I thought that Astoria (the town they are trying to save from being demolished by developers) was a fictional place. At some point a few years ago I realised Astoria is a real town in Oregon and that the film was shot in and around this area. Astoria has also been the setting for loads of other movies, including Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, and many more.
We were staying for 2 nights on Cannon Beach – I was majorly excited about this – both for the fact that the beach looks absolutely stunning, and also the fact that it also features in The Goonies. The beach is the setting for the opening scenes when the police are chasing the Fratelli’s across the beach, and also at the end of the film when the pirate ship emerges from the sea. The famous haystack rocks on the beach form part of the clues that the Goonies are following to find the treasure.
We caught glimpses of the beach as we drove in to town, but the fist proper look was when we stepped out on to our balcony, overlooking the whole beach and the haystack rock. It’s the sort of view that takes your breath away and you could just stand for hours just taking it all in. We spent a lot of time on the beach – we ran 5k on it, walked on it, sat reading on it, and watched the sunset from our balcony. One thing that we didn’t do was swim – too cold and windy – it is the sort of beach where the hotel gives you beach blankets as opposed to beach towels!
Cannon Beach is a very special place.
A wedding on the beach
On our second day there, we drove the 40 minutes or so up the coast to Astoria. It is easy to see why it makes such a great movie location. The town is located on the mouth of the Colombia river, with the houses dotted around the hillside. We visited the Oregon Film museum, which is located in the old county jail – featured in the Goonies as the jail where one of the Fratelli brothers escaped from – their jeep is parked outside the front of the door. The museum is filled with props and information on the The Goonies, plus other films in the area too.
We picked up a map which you can follow around the town to key movie locations. This includes the famous Goonies house, outside which Chunk does the ‘truffle shuffle’ and Data zip wires in from the house next door. We also saw the school where Arnie Schwarzenegger became the most unlikely school teacher of all time…
Astoria is still a working commercial fishing town – we drove across to a pier for lunch in Rogue Brewery, and then sat outside with a coffee listening to honking sea-lions.
We returned to Cannon Beach via Ecola State Park – also a filming location for The Goonies – we drove down the road that the Goonies cycle down when trying to escape from Mikey’s big brother. The views from here back over Cannon Beach are beautiful. Lucky for us the sun is shining, but it is easy to imagine the storms that batter this coast during winter.