Seaside Stories

Discover Marine Wonders at Low Tide

April 19, 2019 | by Shellie Bailey-Shah

One of the great delights when visiting Seaside — especially for families — is coming into contact with the otherworldly wonders of the ocean. If you know where and when to look, you’ll discover dozens of intriguingly bizarre creatures right at the water’s edge.

 

When to go

To plan your exploration, consult a tide table in advance to identify low tide times. To learn how to read a tide table, check out this primer. Ideally, you’ll want to venture out about two hours before low tide to give yourself plenty of time to search. As always, use caution near the ocean. Never turn your back on the water and be mindful of sneaker waves — large coastal waves that can appear without warning. 

 

What you’ll discover

As the tide pulls back, a treasure chest of hidden gems are revealed on the beaches of Seaside. While you can make discoveries along any of its stretches of sand, I particularly like the beach on the north end of The Promenade at 12th Avenue. Here, I’ve made the rarest of Oregon Coast finds — a fully-intact sand dollar that survived the crashing surf of the Pacific. My sons gravitate to creatures like scurrying hermit crabs or washed-up jellies. But perhaps their favorite beach find at low tide is the alien-looking bullwhip kelp. Some kelp can be quite impressive in length, reaching more than 100 feet, if you care to untangle it.

 

Where to go tide pooling

The best spot for tide pooling in Seaside is on the far south side of the beach near Tillamook Head in a place called “The Cove.” Here, you’ll want to focus your search around the large rocks. Many creatures – sea stars, mussels and barnacles — clamp onto these rocks to survive the heavy surf. The rule of thumb is look but don’t touch, as disturbing these special creatures may kill them. You’ll also find sea cabbage, seaweed, sea moss and kelp. In the pools of water at the base of the rocks, look for small sculpins, hermit crabs and my favorites, sea anemones.

 

Dive deeper

If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at, use this Oregon State Parks species guide. Or pay a visit before beachcombing to the Seaside Aquarium. One of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast, it boasts a new Discovery Center with a touch tank filled with prickly sea urchins and sandpaper-like sea stars. You also can use the aquarium’s microscopes to glimpse the sea’s tiniest creatures. Best of all, the aquarium staff is on hand to answer all of your questions.

Then head out to the waterline to make your own discoveries. Just remember, take photos instead of souvenirs. Even empty shells provide critical habitat for hermit crabs, limpets and others. By using good beach etiquette, you ensure that all visitors will have something to see at the sea.

and so much more!

A Chinook Fishing Tale

Chinook Salmon Fishing in and Around Seaside Oregon

Learn More
What The Oregon Coast Can Teach You From Home

The Oregon Coast is a dynamic, ever-changing place that sparks both imagination and curiosity. While you may not be able to visit ...

Learn More
Oregon Coast: Lodgings with a Tale to Tell

Historic coastal inn in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Seaside Art Scene

Seaside is well-known for its scenic coastline, color-drenched sunsets and abundant natural beauty, but this coastal town has an a...

Learn More
Top Pizza Spots in Seaside

Remember the old Little Caesar’s TV commercial, “Pizza! Pizza!”? That’s how excited we feel when it’s time to order a fr...

Learn More
The War Years in Seaside

Blimp patrols were a common feature in Seaside during World War II.

Learn More
Breaking High

A look at a waves breaking over the turnaround at high tide in Seaside

Learn More
Life in the Fast Lane

Riding bikes in Seaside in 1897.

Learn More
Lookout on Neahkahnie Mountain

Sometimes an Oregon Coast outdoor adventure doesn

Learn More
Mural Walking Tour

Seaside has a flourishing art scene with quaint galleries and a monthly art walk in the historic Gilbert District, but it also has...

Learn More
Seeing Seaside on a Surrey

Cruising around Seaside on a Surrey can be great exercise and a scenic journey

Learn More
A Glimpse of the Turnaround: Circa 1940

Seaside's classic turnaround circa 1940.

Learn More
Seaside Golf Club

A look at the history of the Seaside Golf Club.

Learn More
The Whole Clam Family

Family clamming on Seaside's beach is a tradition that literaly goes back thousands of years.

Learn More
Step Into Vintage Charm at the Times Theatre

Moviegoers love a good comeback story, and that’s exactly what they’ll find at the “new” Times Theatre & Public House...

Learn More
Three Broadway Spots that Span Generations

You may have visited these Seaside businesses when you were a kid, and now you’re returning with your own family. Ter Har’s bo...

Learn More
Keeping Watch on Our Waters

Washington lighthouses, just an hour's drive from Seaside, are historic wonders

Learn More
Wave Energy

Wave energy refers to energy generated from the power of waves near their surface. There are different types of devices designed to convert wave energy, but the ones that seems to be most in use at the moment as researchers continue to investigate this source of renewable energy are buoys. Columbia Power Technologies, an Oregon-based alternative energy company, recently launched a prototype wave energy buoy in the gentle waters of the Puget Sound as it races to be one of the first suppliers of wave-generated energy.

Learn More