Visitors often see an aerial photo of Seaside Municipal Airport and ask, “Are you sure that’s not Hawaii?” The lush green landscape, miles of sandy beach and iconic Tillamook Head promontory make for a spectacular flight for private planes flying into Seaside. (There are no commercial flights, but military, U.S. Coast Guard and emergency air-lift planes pass through.) Not only is the scenery beautiful, but there’s a strong camaraderie shared among pilots who frequent the airport.
Whether you’re flying in for a short trip or a longer getaway, Seaside Airport offers a calm, inviting travel option. “It’s a very friendly atmosphere from the minute you touch down,” says airport manager Dale McDowell. “Everything is set up to make it as easy as possible to make your way into town.” Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip.
Plan Your Flight
Seaside Airport sits a block from Highway 101, just 2 miles north of downtown Seaside and less than a mile south of Gearhart. Before flying, you can check real-time updates about wind conditions and cloud cover on airport weather cameras or the Lanai Cam. The airport’s rotating beacon will guide you into Seaside, while your radio can turn on the airport’s runway lights.
Watch for Wildlife
With the airport’s close proximity to Necanicum Estuary and Stanley Lake, it’s not unusual to encounter birds, deer and elk on the runway. Local pilot and airport committee chairman Randall Henderson recommends scanning the entire environment before you fly in. Once you’ve landed, the airport provides free short-term tie-down rings and chains.
Venture Into Town
Seaside Airport boasts a collection of bicycles and helmets you can borrow free of charge to venture around town and get you to your final destination, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, shop or just a great spot on the beach. With the bikes enticing more and more fly-in visitors, plans are in the works for a bike shed that will double as a pilots’ lounge. Along with the bikes, taxi companies AAlpha Shuttle and Taxi Service and Seaside Roadrunners will get you to your favorite destinations in no time.
An increasing number of visitors are flying into Seaside Airport from as far away as Billings, Mont., and Southern California. “It’s fun to see where people are from, what they’re up to and why they chose Seaside,” McDowell says. For Henderson, creating a sense of community at the airport hearkens back to his childhood. As a kid, Henderson dreamed of learning to fly as he gazed up at the planes flying into Seaside Airport.
When he received his pilot’s license in his thirties, Henderson flew his wife to Seaside for their wedding anniversary. Now a resident and airport mainstay, he advocates for new amenities and welcomes visitors. “There’s a proverbial $100 hamburger thing that pilots do,” Henderson says with a laugh. “You pay $100 for gas to go get a burger. Here it’s more like a $100 bowl of chowder or fish ’n chips.”
NOTE ON COVID-19: Stay Safe and Healthy
You can rest easier knowing Seaside Airport has proactively followed Oregon’s COVID-19 protocols from the start. The airport is doing its part to keep the community safe by practicing social distancing and following expanded cleaning guidelines. Upon your arrival, you can pick up complimentary masks and disinfecting wipes to take into town.