Seaside Stories

Grant’s Getaways: Paddling the Neawanna in Seaside

July 30, 2015 | by Grant McOmie

If our summer heat wave is getting the best of you – sapping your energy and leaving you feeling generally uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time for a cool retreat at a place you’d least expect: the backyard of one of the Oregon Coast’s most popular towns. (Watch the complete episode here).

I recently enjoyed a short and gentle kayak trip for folks of all abilities and surprise: I felt a million miles away paddling from city hub-bub on the Neawanna (nee-uh-wanna) River near Seaside.

“I think bringing people back into the center of themselves is important,” said Josh Uithof, a river guide who works for Kayak Tillamook. “So getting people out on the water allows them to experience nature and discover something they didn’t think they could do.”

The beauty of travel in a canoe or kayak is the serenity you discover as you realize there’s no such thing as a bad day on the water. Neawanna River flows into the greater Necanicum Estuary where the scenery is never twice the same!

Josh’s co-guide, Jodie Dodge, prepped and led our small party of paddlers along the short three-mile trip that reaches from the freshwater to the ocean. “Kayaking brings you back to nature being on the water – it’s a place we all lose in our busy worlds so you just take a deep breath and relax and enjoy,” she said.

It’s easier than ever for more people to escape their busy worlds thanks to a new ADA accessible boat launch. The $60,000 kayak and canoe launch was paid for through a partnership between the local Necanicum Watershed Council, the city of Seaside and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Restoration and Enhancement Board.

Watershed Council member Melyssa Graeper said it replaced a dangerous dock whose time had come. The new launch opened to the public in March and it’s been a boon to the community. “People love it – there has been tons of use down here so far – way more than we had with the old dock – lots of families with young kids down here too.”

After you launch, keep watch overhead for an osprey nest that rises above the launch more than 70 feet. The nest has a unique feature to it too: you can peer into the nest online thanks to a new web cam sponsored by the Necanicum Watershed Council.

Back on the water, Jon Rahl with the Seaside Visitors Bureau said that local folks are excited at the prospect of more people visiting Seaside and they are seeing it from a different point of view. “We know that they come here for the beauty of the beach but when you add an asset like this – an accessible asset like this – that is one more enhancement to the travel experience.”

Darren Gooch, the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation Director, agreed and offered, “I see more and more folks who thought they couldn’t do it before now have the opportunity to paddle and feel more comfortable about getting in and out of the water.”

“And you don’t have to be in the best shape,” added Utihof. “You get out here and get into places that no one else can really see – it’s great that it is so accessible too.”

And after all, that’s really what it’s all about: discovering a timeless place with few folks around and feel closer to nature.

Editor’s Note: Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

and so much more!

How to Treasure the Beach

No one owns the Oregon Coast — it belongs to everyone. Thanks to 1967’s landmark Beach Bill, Oregon has some of the most prote...

Learn More
A Weekend of Discoveries

Last weekend I went to the Pouring at the Coast Event with my boyfriend, and had the best time! We were given souvenir glasses to use during the event (and they had rinse stations to keep your glass clean between tastings). We tried craft beers from every brewery, and I discovered I really enjoy the dark beers

Learn More
Waving the Flag in the Early 1900s

Take a look at a vintage float from the early 1900s Seaside parade.

Learn More
Seaside is Dressing Up for the Holidays

Seaside, Oregon preparations for the holiday season

Learn More
Seaside’s History is an Honored Guest in Its Present

There are many local landmarks that celebrate the rich history of Seaside, a town that has been enjoyed as a popular beach getaway...

Learn More
1st Generation Boardwalk: High Definition for the Old Guard

The Promenade started out as a wooden boardwalk that attracted visitors from far

Learn More
Why This Family Comes Back To Seaside Year After Year

The calm waters of the Necanicum River in Seaside, Oregon. Photo: Alex Butterfield There’s something comfortingly classic about ...

Learn More
A Smashing Good Time

The vintage bumper cars are a seaside tradition and we check out their 2013 opening weekend,

Learn More
Northwest Travel Magazine: Gilbert District

For more than 100 years, the Gilbert District has been a big piece of Seaside's core.

Learn More
Color Now Bursting on the Coast

Pick up a colorful bouquet of summer dahlias at roadside stands along Highway 101 and other coast highways

Learn More
Seaside Civic and Convention Center

The benefits and joys of life in our small coastal community are many. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, done it all and start thinking about heading to the big city you’re reminded that the Seaside Civic and Convention Center brings you the best of all possible worlds and you can stay right here

Learn More
Clamming in Seaside: Then & Now

A brief look at clamming in Seaside and Tillamook Head and a comparison of how they

Learn More
Camping in Seaside

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. One of my very favorite things to do during Memorial Day weekend is to go camping. I love setting up the tents, snuggling in a warm sleeping bag, sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores, and smelling like a campfire all weekend. I love every bit of it! If you’ve never camped by the Pacific Ocean then you are missing out! You get to add the salty air, sandy beach, and all the benefits of being near Seaside to add to your camping experience.

Learn More
Destinations Magazine: Great Escapes

Vacations are the “great escapes we need,” says Destinations magazine, “to relax, recharge and rejuvenate oursel...

Learn More
Riding the Streetcar in Seaside

Riding the streetcar in Seaside is a fun and affordable way to see the town.

Learn More
What is Fascination, Anyway?

Talk to anyone who’s ever visited Seaside, and they’re bound to bring up Fascination with an enthusiastic “I love that game!...

Learn More
Establishing Another World Record

Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament establishes yet another record during stellar event.

Learn More