The crisp tang of sea salt and the maritime beauty of Seaside, Oregon enchants visitors and locals alike. This quaint resort town lies nestled along northern Oregon’s coast, surrounded by gorgeous forests and beaches just begging for you to explore them.
Visitors to Seaside will find more than ocean waves waiting for them. Walk the historic Broadway street, take the family for a historical visit to a museum, or “dive” into fun at one of the many nearby beaches. With all the things to do in Seaside Oregon, there’s no doubt that this oceanside village is perfect for your next coastal getaway!
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN SEASIDE OREGON
- Best On The River: Check into comfort when you stay at the Rivertide Suites in Seaside, Oregon. Their upscale condo-style hotel is located in a beautiful waterfront setting on the Necanicum River, 2 blocks from downtown and 4 short blocks from the beach.
- Best With Indoor Pool: Located in the center of Seaside and overlooking the Necanicum River, River Inn at Seaside features an indoor swimming pool and a hot tub. Seaside Beach is 5 minutes’ walk away, and a free breakfast is served daily.
- Best For Foodies: Located just three blocks from Seaside’s famous turn around and fun shops, the Seaside Oceanfront Inn is a beautiful boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant.
EXPLORE THE SEASIDE PROMENADE
You haven’t truly experienced Seaside until you’ve explored the Promenade. Known to locals as “The Prom,” Seaside’s Promenade follows the Pacific Coast for one and a half scenic miles. Its spacious walkways can take you to some of the city’s best entertainment, dining, and lodging options.
The Prom isn’t exclusively a walking trail. Bike rentals are a local-approved travel method on the Promenade. A self-guided tour from your bike down the Promenade can introduce you to the Seaside Historical Society Museum, the Seaside Aquarium, and local food hangouts — like Maggie’s on the Prom.
You might recognize some famous historical figures as you reach the end of the Promenade. A statue of Lewis and Clark graces the end of the walking trail. Next to it is a weathered wooden sign inscribed with “1805-1806.” Here, the Lewis and Clark Trail officially ends. The legend goes that the explorers chose to “turn around” and head back to the East Coast somewhere near the Turnaround’s spot. The point looks out on the Pacific Ocean, no doubt as imposing now as it was to the explorers two centuries ago.
Get up close and personal with creatures of the sea with a visit to the Seaside Aquarium. The aquarium first opened its doors in 1937, and is the oldest privately-owned aquarium on the West Coast. It’s truly a local treasure, with many descendants of the founders working there today.
The Seaside Aquarium is perfect for families and solo adventurers alike. It provides a fun, educational experience for every visitor. A walk through their underwater tank exhibits will introduce you to plenty of crawling crabs, eels, starfish, and other fishy creatures. Kids will love exploring the touch tank’s array of textured residents, like the sandpapery starfish and the spindly sea urchin.
Seaside Aquarium’s favorite residents are its herd of seals. Six generations of friendly sea creatures have lived at the aquarium, and the current generation loves visitors! You can feed the harbor seals during your visit and watch them clap, swim, and laugh around the viewing pool.
Downtown Seaside is Americana at its finest. Since 1870 when the Seaside House resort opened, the shops of downtown Seaside have welcomed visitors to try their wares. You can’t beat the unique, delicious, and downright fun shops you’ll find along Broadway Street.
You can also get a taste of global products downtown. Shop for fine alpaca clothing and accessories at Inca’s Inc or visit Tipton’s Decor for one of their silky smooth chocolates or a souvenir.
There are plenty of delectable dishes for hungry travelers to sample downtown. At Oregon and More, sample exotic jerky and local honey. Or swing by Salmon River Smokehouse to enjoy their unique takes on smoked salmon, from burgers to salmon paninis!
There are shops galore in Downtown Seaside! So don’t be afraid to pop in and explore. You never know what you’ll find.
SEASIDE CAROUSEL MALL
Few malls can say they have an old-school carousel for customers to ride. However, one of Seaside’s favorite haunts is just that! Swing by the Carousel Mall for an afternoon of family fun. Ride the carousel, play a round of laser tag, and snag some tasty snacks and cool souvenirs while you’re at it!
The Carousel features all the classic animals of a zoo, from ostriches to tigers. For younger children and disabled guests, whimsically designed benches can take you for a spin around the carousel, too.
A few steps from the carousel waits an updated arcade and laser tag arena. The state-of-the-art arena is non-stop fun, with fog machines and multiple levels turning a classic game into an adrenaline-pumping experience.
Shopping lovers will enjoy taking a leisurely walk around the mall as well. At Q-Land, you’ll find a variety of retro toys and products. A few feet away, Caffe Latte offers locally roasted coffee and light snacks to keep you fueled for the day. Before leaving the mall, make sure you stop by Rascal’s Candy and Gifts to grab some of the best saltwater taffy you will ever have. Stock up, because there’s no place better to saltwater taffy than in a coastal town!
KAYAK NECANICUM RIVER
Calm waters await you on the Necanicum River. The majestic river flows west through Clatsop County, Oregon, joining the Pacific Ocean from its estuary in Seaside. Along its shimmering waters, you’ll find bald eagles hunting, otters playing, and even the occasional fox stopping for a refreshing drink of water.
The Necanicum River provides a scenic tour of the coast and the city. Several nautical trail options exist, with launching points located throughout Seaside. Popular starting points include the Necanicum Estuary, the Broadway Park dock, and the trail from Camp Rilea at Sunset Lake.
Kayaking the Necanicum is family and solo-adventurer-friendly. Group floats with Sunset Empire Park and Recreation provide a beginner-friendly kayak option, but you can always rent your own gear from a local shop instead.
WALK THE GILBERT DISTRICT
Over a century ago, the Gilbert District blossomed under the care of its namesake, Alexandre Gilbert. Gilbert holds a deep connection to Seaside, having served as mayor during a disastrous fire in 1912. It is thanks to his efforts that the Gilbert District exists today.
Today, strolling through the Gilbert District introduces you to Seaside’s thriving cultural and social scene. Historic buildings now house trendy restaurants, shopping, and art galleries that entertain visitors and locals alike. Local favorites include Dough Dough Bakery, SunRose Gallery, and the Seaside Antique Mall.
The district also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. For example, the Seaside First Saturdays Art Walk shows off local artists and their work. In the fall and spring, the Gilbert District hosts wine walks where visitors can get a taste of local Oregon and Washington vintages during their evening stroll.
VISIT SEASIDE BEACH
Create oceanfront memories with your loved ones at Seaside Beach. Go digging for agates, explore the tidepools, and enjoy the soothing music of the waves as you spend a day on one of America’s best beaches.
There is something wild about Oregon’s beaches not found in warmer waters. From the shores of Seaside Beach, craggy outcrops of rocky islands stand against the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Instead of a coastline of city lights and skyscrapers, you’ll only see the sparkling glimmer of Seaside’s homes and miles and miles of forests.
A visit to Seaside Beach gives visitors a unique view of the Pacific Ocean in all its glory. While picnicking on the beach, you might see gray whales swimming or surfers riding the waves. An evening spent around the bonfire will treat you to a water-colored sunset and the best s’mores of your life!
VISIT CAMP 18 MUSEUM
More than half of Oregon’s landmass consists of forests. The abundance of trees has made it a logging powerhouse since before statehood. One pillar of the logging legacy that resides in Seaside is the locally famous Camp 18 Museum. It has one of the best restaurants in the city!
The first thing you’ll notice at Camp 18 is the massive log cabin that hosts the museum and restaurant. The building features the largest known ridge pole in the United States, and is a marvel unto itself – the entire building was constructed from volunteer labor and the hands of founder Gordon Smith!
During your visit to the Camp 18 Museum, you’ll enjoy classic American cooking beside a roaring fireplace. The decor at Camp 18 is enthralling – make sure to check out the chandelier made entirely of elk antlers while you enjoy your chicken fried steak.
After enjoying your food, take a walk around the outdoor museum exhibits. Old logging cars, giant bandsaws, and steam cranes are just a few historic machines you’ll see on the grounds.
CATCH YOUR DINNER AND GO CRABBING
If you like seafood, you’ll love that Seaside offers visitors a chance to catch their own seafood for a change. Crabbing in Oregon is legal year-round, and in Seaside, it’s a popular activity for visitors and locals alike.
You don’t have to travel out of the city to go crabbing. Quality crabbing occurs just a five-minute walk from the tourist haven of the Seaside Promenade. The 12th Avenue Bridge of Seaside crosses the Necanicum River and offers prime fishing and crabbing real estate.
While crabbing is legal year-round, you’ll want to ensure that you get a license and follow Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. If you aren’t sure where to start, local bait and fish shops can help you get the supplies and license you need to go crabbing.
LEARN ABOUT LEWIS AND CLARK
Seaside claims their beginning dates all the way back to Lewis and Clark’s expedition west in 1805. Suffice to say, Seaside has a lot of interesting Lewis and Clark offerings for visitors to explore. Start your journey at the Seaside Museum to dive into the town’s history from Lewis and Clark to the present day, then head out for some Lewis and Clark-styled adventures!
After visiting the museum, stop by the Lewis and Clark statue on the Promenade. The statue commemorates their arrival to the location that would become Seaside. The likenesses of the statues are pretty accurate, so if you’d like to know what these American heroes looked like, stop on by!
Another experience you won’t want to miss is the Salt Works. Located about 15 miles from the historic Fort Clatsop, the Salt Works marks the site where Lewis and Clark’s men collected seawater to process into salt. The site was integral to the Fort because salt played a crucial role in preserving meat for the trip back to the East Coast.
To connect with how Lewis and Clark lived during their time in Oregon, check out the historic Fort Clatsop. The current fort is a reproduction of the original structure and offers a visitor center with a museum and gift shop.
For more outdoor Lewis and Clark exploration, head to Lewis and Clark National Historic Park in nearby Astoria, Oregon. There, you can paddle along the Lewis and Clark River and learn about the rich history of the indigenous tribes of the area. Or, stop by Tillamook Head and Indian Beach to explore tidepools and observe the whales at sea.
You can’t visit the ocean and not go surfing! The coastline of Oregon provides a very different surf experience than the beaches of California or Hawaii. While still a popular pastime in the area, surfers at Seaside don’t have to fight the crowds of more southern beaches.
Local surfing shops offer lessons and gear for all levels of surfer, from beginner to expert. Just make sure to get the right equipment before conquering the waves – the Oregon ocean is a lot colder than most surfers are used to!
Visitors can give different kinds of surfing a try, too. Surfing, skimboarding, kiteboarding, and even boogie boarding for the kids are all popular variations available for you to try.
ESCAPE TO ARCADIA BEACH
Find your inner calm with a relaxing day spent at Arcadia Beach! Located two miles south of the busier Cannon Beach, at Arcadia, you’ll find some best views on the Oregon coast without the hustle and bustle of most tourist areas.
One feature that makes Arcadia famous is its rock formations. Visitors will find themselves in awe of the structures that rise from the waves. Lion Rock is one such formation, aptly named for its startling resemblance to the King of the Beasts.
Any moment spent on Arcadia Beach is a photo-worthy memory. Against the backdrop of the rolling ocean, families will discover the hidden world of tide pools, the joy of building a sandcastle, and the excitement of running through the waters at low tide.
HIKE (OR BIKE) THE NORTHERN OREGON COAST TRAIL
An epic quest awaits the visitor bold enough to cross the Oregon Coast Trail. Known as the OTC for locals, the trail begins at the Columbia River in Fort Stevens State Park, about twenty minutes north of Seaside. The vast trail spans 425 walking miles along the Oregon coast.
Intrepid hikers can explore the hidden beauties of Oregon. On the OTC, they’ll cross beaches and forests, ford rivers and streams, and find themselves surrounded by the exquisite array of wildlife that calls the trail their home.
Divided into ten sections, the Oregon Coast Trail begins at the northern tip of the state and takes hikers all the way down to the California border. Folks looking for a day trip can still follow one of the many subsections of trails, which stop at such scenic outposts as Humbug Mountain and the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
DAY TRIP TO OTHER COASTAL TOWNS
Seaside is the friendly neighbor to many of Oregon’s quaint small towns, gorgeous scenery, and natural wildlife areas. After spending a few days around Seaside, don’t be afraid to set out for a day trip adventure to nearby towns!
Just an hour away from Seaside awaits the rare flowers and hiking trails of Saddle Mountain State Natural area. The 3,290-foot summit offers unparalleled viewing of the Cascade Mountains and Pacific Shoreline, along with up-close views of the treasured Saddle Mountain bittercress and early blue violet flowers.
On the coastline of Oregon’s Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock stands watch over the adorable town that gives the beach its name. The rock is one of Oregon’s most photographed landmarks, so you’ll want to continue that tradition and snap a pic while you visit the beach! Locals recommend setting up a blanket and bonfire at dusk to watch the sunset turn Haystack Rock and the ocean into a living piece of art.
After exploring the beach, make sure to swing by the Ecola State Park. At the park, you’ll see herds of Roosevelt Elk milling through the trees and the occasional Bald Eagle snatching a fish from the sea. After an easy hike to Tillamook Head, you can catch a glimpse of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse guarding the ships that come into the bay.
Lovers of small-town vibes and history can take a day trip from Seaside to visit Astoria, Oregon. Originally a fur trading community, Astoria is now a cultural heritage hub of the state. Take a ride on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley or explore the Museum of Whimsy to get a unique take on the city’s past. Nature lovers can stop by Young River Falls or the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary to take in the wildlife of the area.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO OREGON
- ASTORIA: 18 Super Amazing Things To Do In Astoria, Oregon
- HOT SPRINGS: 16 Oregon Hot Springs You Must Visit
- NEWPORT: 14 Amazing Things To Do In Newport Oregon Everyone Will Love
- SALEM: 11 Fantastic Things To Do In Salem Oregon
- EUGENE: 15 Fun Things To Do In Eugene, Oregon
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WHERE TO STAY IN SEASIDE OREGON
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