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Seaside Stories

How to Have Fun in the Sand in Seaside

June 27, 2022 | by Matt Wastradowski

Seaside’s soft, wide and sometimes sun-kissed beaches make for the perfect family-friendly vacation. With miles of sand and welcoming flat terrain that’s equally nice for lounging and digging, summer visitors love to play by designing sandcastles and building the perfect campfire. Here’s how to make the most of a day in the sun (or a night under the stars) on the beaches in and near Seaside this summer.


Where to Play in the Sand Around Seaside


Almost anywhere along the Seaside Promenade, you’ll find easy access to the coastline right in town. The most popular stretch of sand in town is bordered on the south by the rocky Tillamook Head and on the north by the Necanicum River as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. From north to south, it measures about 2.5 miles — plenty of room to stretch out and have fun.

It’s a bit of a locals’ secret — but the walkway to Painted Rock Beach is lined with colorful rocks that have been painted with vibrant designs, inspirational messages and more. Feel free to decorate an unpainted rock if the mood strikes.

The park at Sunset Beach State Recreation Site is the western trailhead of the Fort to Sea Trail (which retraces a route Lewis and Clark took to the Pacific Ocean in 1805-1806), just 9 miles north of Seaside. The wheelchair-accessible boardwalk offers easy beach access, vistas of nearby headlands and epic sunset views. In season, you’ll see razor clammers digging for this North Coast specialty on the beach here, armed with shovels or tubular clam guns. If you decide, like others, to drive on this beach, make sure your vehicle can definitely handle soft sand at the entrance.


Creating the Perfect Sandcastle


The young and young at heart love building sand castles on the shoreline around Seaside. If you and your family want to form your own fortress this summer, here’s how to get started. For inspiration, there’s a Sand Sculpting Masters Exhibition on September 7-11, 2022, where you can see professionals at work! Just head out to the Turnaround, and you’ll see it right off the Prom.

All you really need to build your own are your two hands, but supplies certainly help. Head to Under the Big Top Toys in the Seaside Carousel Mall for shovels, buckets and other beach toys. Sharky’s, another local institution, carries apparel, beach toys and more.

When it comes to building, location is everything. Dry sand is simply too crumbly to support sandcastles, so aim to build on malleable wet sand, away from waves crashing into the surf. Look up North Oregon Coast tide tables for your visit, and aim to build approaching low tide. That way the waves will have receded to their farthest point from shore, leaving plenty of wet sand behind. Don’t get too lost in construction, though — be aware of the incoming tides.

Once you’re on the beach, the tools you brought determine what kind of castle you’ll build. Consider a large bucket to build immense citadels and to give yourself a little flexibility if you want to sculpt and carve those structures to your liking. And don’t forget a toy shovel for digging trenches; after all, what’s a castle without its moat?


Building a Great Beach Campfire


On any given night, the beach in Seaside lights up with the dancing flames of campfires — one of the area’s most cherished summertime traditions. Here’s how to join the fun.

Most convenience stores around town sell all you need to build a fire. The Turnaround Market, mere steps from the beach on Broadway, is especially convenient; there you’ll find firewood, kindling, roasting sticks and even beach blankets. Several hotels sell supplies as well. The Ashore Hotel, just a few blocks from the beach, even offers a package that includes cans of Oregon wine, a s’mores kit, firewood, newspaper and a blanket.

Once on the beach, start by digging a pit that covers most of your eventual log stack — a strategy to help protect against the Oregon Coast’s famously gusty winds. From there, lay your logs in a log cabin formation, where alternating layers of parallel logs are stacked atop each other. Bigger pieces of wood should provide the base layers. This will keep your fire burning longer, as the top logs provide fuel for the base layers as they burn. 

Of course, you’ll also want to keep in mind safety tips for beach campfires and enjoying the beach safely. And be sure you know the regulations at each location for caring for tide-pool residents, marine birds and other critters.


Help Keep the Beach Clean


When you’re finished with your fun in the sand, why not share some love with the beach and collect any trash you see? The Seaside Visitors Bureau Beach Cleanup Coin promotion rewards your handiwork with coins that can be redeemed at participating coffee shops around town. Want to join others? You can even earn coins by helping out at Treasure the Beach Cleanup events, held the first Saturday of every month.

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