Seaside Stories

A Year in Seaside – Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall Tips

December 10, 2019 | by Shellie Bailey-Shah

While Seaside is an enduring summertime destination, it increasingly draws visitors to its sandy shores throughout the year. Each season brings with it new opportunities for discovery: rain-forest treks in the winter, whale spotting in the spring, beach campfires in the summer and history lessons in the fall. So don’t limit yourself! Let us show you how to Seaside year-round.

WINTER

Many of us start the new year with resolutions to be more active, so make your first workout of the year an epic one. Take the Tillamook Head Trail to the point where you can see Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, nicknamed “Terrible Tilly,” in the distance. For more favorite hikes in Seaside, click here.

If you encounter some blustery weather, spend the afternoon slipping in and out of the inviting galleries, shops and cafes in the historic Gilbert District, just east of the Broadway Street Bridge. Check out these Oregon Coast page-turners at Beach Books, all recommended by the owner. A door in the shop connects to neighbor Dough Dough Bakery, where you can grab a sweet or savory bite and a cup of coffee — or a mimosa or beermosa, if you’re really feeling daring. If you’re looking for those fancy coffee drinks topped with foam art, walk down to Seaside Coffee House across the street on Holladay. Don’t forget to take advantage of indoor shopping at the Seaside Carousel Mall and hop from storefront to storefront along Broadway.

SPRING

The third week of March is spring Whale Watch Week along the Oregon Coast — time to spot gray whales and their calves traveling north to their summer home in Alaska. There are roughly two dozen designated “Whale Watching Spoken Here” locations in Oregon, with friendly volunteers to help you spot whales and answer questions. You’ll find the closest one at Ecola State Park.

Whales aren’t the only wildlife you’ll see along the Oregon Coast. Seaside sits along the Pacific Flyway migratory route. While you can bird-watch year-round, spring is the ideal time for a visit to Mill Ponds to glimpse brightly colored migrants such as Wilson’s warblers, orange-crowned warblers and warbling vireos. The short trail is flat and family friendly. Find more birding spots here.

You can always rent a surrey and pedal around downtown Seaside; find your wheels at Prom Bike Shop or Wheel Fun Rentals — just look for the bright-red historic trolley. If you’re seeking more of a challenge, hop on a mountain bike to ride through a coastal forest. The newly opened Klootchy Creek Trails — the coast’s newest mountain bike destination, just south of Seaside and soon-to-be-connected by trail — offers 4 miles of fun, flowy single-track for all skill levels. To choose the right trail, click here for trail descriptions, directions, distances and elevation gains. Learn more about biking in Seaside here

During the spring, you can catch the first bursts of color in Seaside’s pocket gardens planted along Broadway Street. Each of the patches tells a story expertly woven by local landscape designer Pamela Fleming. Click here to learn how to take a self-guided walking tour. You can also head out on foot to explore all the Instagram-worthy murals around town. Grab your camera and follow it here. If you happen to be visiting on the first weekend of the month, don’t miss Seaside’s First Saturday Art Walk in the Gilbert District. In addition to gallery openings, you’ll enjoy live music and wine tastings of Oregon vintages.

SUMMER

One of the best ways to see Seaside’s natural beauty is to get out on the water. Head over to Cleanline Surf to rent a kayak and then launch at nearby Broadway Park; the kayak launch is ADA-accessible. Then paddle north on Neawanna Creek for about an hour until you reach Necanicum Estuary for some of the best wildlife viewing in Seaside. Find directions and more tips in this paddling guide.

Learn what it really means to “Hang 10” in Seaside, one of the top surfing destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Grab some fresh sushi to go from Tora Sushi Lounge on Broadway, and head to The Cove on the south side of Seaside’s beach to watch experienced surfers catch their waves.  Oregon Surf Adventures offers private and group lessons. Find out more about surfing in Seaside here.

In August Seaside hosts the world’s largest amateur beach volleyball tournament, drawing players from across the United States and Canada. More than 20,000 spectators turn out for the four-day event, so be sure to reserve a place to stay well in advance.

At the end of your day, build a campfire on the beach. Yes, you can do that in Seaside! Just make sure to follow these safety rules. If you don’t have your own supplies, no worries — head over to The Seashore Inn, north of the Turnaround. There you can buy fire kits complete with wood, kindling and s’mores fixings.

FALL

Take part in an Oregon Coast rite of passage: crabbing. The best time to go crabbing is in the fall, when Dungeness crabs are more filled out with a higher portion of quality meat. Head to the 12th Avenue Bridge and drop your crab pot off the side. Follow these crabbing tips from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can pick up supplies and the required Oregon Shellfish License at Trucke’s 1 Stop on Highway 101. 

Or maybe you prefer razor clams. If so, you simply need a bucket, a shovel and, again, an Oregon Shellfish License. Head to the south end of Seaside’s beach, near Tillamook Head, about two hours before peak low tide. Keep in mind that razor clamming is subject to closures annually. Check here for current closures and here for clamming tips.

What better way to serve those clams than with a nice glass of Oregon wine? Every fall the Seaside Downtown Development Association hosts a Fall Wine Walk. Sip samples from more than 20 Oregon and Washington wineries and enjoy complimentary appetizers from participating at dozens of spots within walking distance in downtown Seaside. 

Finally, spend some time learning about Oregon Coast history. Just north of Seaside, you’ll find Fort Clatsop, the winter encampment for the Lewis and Clark expedition from December 1805 to March 1806. Rangers will guide you through the replica fort, similar to the one built by the famous explorers. Seaside Historical Society Museum also delves into Seaside’s beginnings as a popular beach getaway. Look for the photos and story behind the so-called “Daddy Train.”

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