If your idea of the perfect beach getaway includes stretches of empty sand, hunting for sand dollars to the sounds of waves crashing and gulls squawking, and occasionally making a quick jaunt into town to grab a beach kite or a bite — you should definitely check out North Seaside. While most people flock to Seaside’s bustling downtown, the part of town that’s north of Broadway features natural wonders galore, ocean-view hotels and no shortage of things to do.
Pedal Around and Feed the Seals
You can get almost anywhere in Seaside by bicycle, so your first stop should be Prom Bike Shop, where you can rent a bike for everyone in the family. From there it’s a quick ride west on 12th Avenue to Seaside’s historic, 1.5-mile Promenade. A few blocks north of the Turnaround, you can stop at another historic icon, the Seaside Aquarium, one of the oldest privately-owned aquariums on the West Coast. The kids can feed the noisy seals and touch the prickly sea urchins in the touch tank. The first Saturday of every month, you can also sign up for Treasure the Beach, a group cleanup that meets in front of the aquarium.
Crabs and Wildlife in the Estuary
To scope out the area’s vibrant local crabbing scene, check out the 12th Avenue Bridge. Nearby Bud’s RV Park & Campground can supply you with necessary permits, bait and crabbing pots — all you need is a folding chair and a little patience, and you just might pull up a crab or two for dinner. The bridge is open to crabbers year-round, and the best time to catch crabs is at peak high or low tide (known as slack tide) from September to December.
Glance north off the 12th Avenue Bridge and you’ll be looking at the Necanicum Estuary, where you can spot bald eagles diving for coho salmon, North American river otters searching for clams and a flurry of marine birds searching for their next meal. The best time to explore the estuary on foot is during low tide. Park at the small lot at the end of Franklin Street to hit the sand or at Necanicum Estuary Natural History Park, which offers a simple wooden platform for wildlife spotting. You can also rent a kayak at Wheel Fun Rentals at Quatat Park and make your way down to the river at the west end of the 12th Avenue Bridge to explore the estuary at high tide.
Enjoying Historic and Present-Day Seaside
A visit to the Seaside Historical Society Museum is a great way to pass a few hours. The exhibits cover everything from the area’s original inhabitants, the Clatsop peoples, to the most recent exhibit celebrating the Seaside Prom Centennial.
If you’re in the mood for shopping, Seaside Outlets has great deals on everything from Pendleton blankets and Nike sneakers to Eddie Bauer jackets. Film buffs will want to check what’s playing next door at Seaside Cinema and see a movie — perhaps after watching the sunset on the beach just a few blocks away.
For more information on Seaside or the Oregon Coast, the knowledgeable folks at the Seaside Welcome Center — where Highway 101 and Broadway meet — will fill you in.
Eating and Drinking on the North Side
All of this exploring will surely work up a thirst and an appetite. Hit the drive-thru at Burly and the Bean for an oat-milk latte or a Muddy Sasquatch — where the “mud” is both coffee and espresso — and you’re sure to get a second wind. For eats, the authentic Mexican fare at family-owned The Stand serves up hearty combo platters and has outdoor seating, or try Los Tacos Locos, a fast and friendly drive-through taqueria with stellar burritos – take ‘em to enjoy at one of several nearby natural areas overlooking the Necanicum Estuary. Across the street from the outlets, the drive-thru at Grizzly Tuna serves up golden brown fried tuna fish and chips, which might be the best you’ve ever tasted.