When visiting Astoria, one of our first stops is the Clatsop Spit and the Viewing Platform erected by the Coast Guard, I believe.
We have been there when the sun is out and when the weather has been really nasty. The views are forever changing and you get a real feel for what Mother Nature can do and what a feat it was to built the South Jetty. Or..the North Jetty for that matter.
The platform might shake and sway in a bad storm, but...unless you're prone to seasickness you should be OK...!!
You can see the "bar" from the platform, but a better spot to watch the ship traffic entering the Columbia might be from where you find the salmon fishermen. If memory serves me correctly, you take a left on the first side road after leaving the viewing platform. I think there might be some signage.
As a footnote, it's not a good idea to go climbing on the rocks and boulders that make up the South Jetty...especially if the weather is bad. I can guarantee you that you don't want to be swept in to the ocean...!! That would be bad news.
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