Seaside Stories

Locals Weigh In on the Best Ways to Visit Seaside

December 27, 2018 | by Seaside Visitors Bureau

Building a campfire on the beach is a special tradition in Seaside. Photo: Kimson Doan

Maybe you’ve visited Seaside for decades, or perhaps you’ve yet to vacation in one of Oregon’s most popular coastal destinations. Either way, the town is home to a few classic attractions everyone should do at least once: ride the bumper cars, nosh on cotton candy and saltwater taffy along Broadway, and frolic on the beach.But once you get beyond the tried-and-true classics, how should you make the most of a trip here? We went straight to the source and asked a couple of Seaside locals to dish on the town’s best under-the-radar attractions. They didn’t disappoint, offering insight on everything from beach bonfires to old-school video stores. So whether you’re joining the summertime crowds or enjoying a quiet getaway in the off-season, here’s where the locals go. Go ahead and join them.

Learn About Local History

If a rainy day has you stuck indoors, spend some time getting familiar with Seaside’s history. The Seaside Historical Society Museum, for instance, showcases Native American artifacts that are more than 2,000 years old, while other exhibits cover Seaside’s history as a tourist destination and the region’s long-running relationship with the logging industry.

But the fun extends beyond the museum’s walls. Steve Wright, president of the Seaside Historical Society Museum, points to its monthly History and Hops event as a prime example. Held on the last Thursday of each month in the tourist off-season, History and Hops invites guest speakers to discuss a different aspect of Seaside’s history while attendees sip a beer from Seaside Brewing Co., which hosts the event. “There’s so much that went on here,” Wright says. “And we’re proud of that.”

Play in the Water

With two rivers running through town, miles of coastline at your feet, and a handful of inland lakes nearby, it’d be a shame to visit Seaside without enjoying its water, even in the midst of winter. Lexie Hallahan, director of Northwest Women’s Surf Camps, suggests two specific activities that, with a wetsuit, can be enjoyed all year long (as long as ocean swells don’t create unsafe conditions).

First, she recommends trying your hand at bodyboarding, where you lay chest down on a small board while catching waves, especially if you’re unfamiliar with surfing and other ocean-bound activities. “It’s a great way to understand the ocean and get confidence in that new environment,” she says. Hallahan also recommends off-season skimboarding (where boarders can ride in the wash of waves, rather than on breaking waves themselves) for younger crowds who can absorb the falls that come with learning the sport. (Note: You aren’t allowed to do these activities on Seaside’s main beach, but there are some spots just south such as the Cove near Tillamook Head. Read more about surfing and other water sports in Seaside here.)

If you’re looking for something more low-key, Hallahan suggests heading to Cullaby and Carnahan lakes, just 15 minutes north of town, which are popular with bird watchers. “You’ll see all kinds of birds of prey—bald eagles, hawks, osprey—they all hang out there,” Hallahan says. Visitors can also enjoy stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking at high tide. So even if the coast is crowded at the height of summer, you’ll likely find a quiet respite just a few minutes away.

Build a Campfire on the Beach

A post shared by Ashore Hotel (@ashorehotel) on

Who says you need to spend a night in the woods for a few hours around the campfire? In Seaside, it’s legal to build a fire on the city’s stretch of coastline, and if the weather holds up, you’ll be far from alone. (Just know that fires aren’t allowed in dunes or around driftwood logs. Read full beach bonfire guidelines here.) Hallahan suggests buying a bundle of firewood and s’mores ingredients at a local convenience store before finding a quiet stretch of coastline. “Build a beautiful bonfire and watch the sunset? That’s an experience you can’t get at most beaches in the United States,” she says.

Bring Home a Classic

If the weather isn’t cooperating with your plans for a beach bonfire, stay inside and catch up on a classic film—or, for that matter, a cult classic—with a little help from Universal Video. The throwback video store stocks your favorite VHS tapes (thousands of them, in fact) alongside a selection of DVDs and Blu-rays. “It’s like a Powell’s bookstore of videos and DVDs right here in Seaside,” Hallahan says, citing the famously large bookstore in Portland, Oregon, which takes up a full city block. “I can pull up something from the 70s, and most likely, they have it—old classics, strange documentaries, they have it.”

Stroll the Prom

A post shared by Seaside Oregon (@seasideoregon) on

No matter how touristy it may seem, there’s no denying the allure of the Historic Seaside Promenade–or, as it’s known to locals, The Prom. The paved 1.5-mile path parallels the Pacific Ocean, stretching from the southern end of town to the northern edge. It’s popular with cyclists, joggers, and walkers alike. Wright likes that you can see the ocean from most of the Prom, and it’s an easy workout when he’s looking to stretch his legs. “It’s easy to get a good, long stretch on the Prom,” he says.

Hallahan agrees: “I can’t imagine visiting Seaside and not visiting the Prom.” She points to the many attractions along the Prom, from the Seaside Aquarium and the Salt Works (where the Lewis and Clark Expedition boiled water for salt in early 1806) to local restaurants and historic homes. “Most towns don’t have anything like that,” she says.

Written by Matt Wastradowski in partnership with City of Seaside Visitors Bureau.

and so much more!

7 places to maximize indoor fun in Seaside, Oregon

How to vacation in Seaside, Oregon when the weather is cool and wet; hint: food, culture and fun....

Learn More
The Cove in Seaside

Rain or shine, the Seaside Cove is a must-see-stop whether you’re a tourist or a local. It’s a mixture of sandy and rocky beach. There are tons of parking spots, and Seltzer Park is just across the street. There are public restrooms and a shower to rinse off sandy feet. There are also plenty of benches for both wave watching and people watching.

Learn More
Hot Summer Car Shows help usher in the summer season in Seaside.
Hot Summer Car Shows

Two Seaside car shows help usher in and wind down the summer travel season

Learn More
Supersize Me!

A brief look at Seaside's past sweets and treats

Learn More
October is a Fickle Friend in Seaside

October weather is unpredictable on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
Waving the Flag in the Early 1900s

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

Learn More
Fishing Adventures In and Around Seaside

Fishing on the Oregon Coast near Seaside

Learn More
Seaside Lifeguards: A Fond Seasonal Farewell

Can you believe it’s almost Labor Day Weekend? Don’t fret!  We’re still probably in for some dynamic weather throughout Sep...

Learn More
The Daddy Train

The Seaside train depot was the major transportation hub before 1938.

Learn More
Mushroom foraging near Seaside.
Mushroom Foraging Near Seaside

Oregon’s North Coast is a popular spot for treasure hunters. While some people might look for pirate treasure though, the on...

Learn More
Oregon Coast Visitor Tsunami Awareness Program

Tsunami awareness resources from the Office of Emergency Management

Learn More
A Seaside Jewel

Library in Seaside is a popular jewel for small community

Learn More
Let’s Fly a Kite

On the beach at Seaside is perfect for this. There are no overhead wires and the beach has few up or down wind drafts from the winds which move across the ocean. This makes kite flying easier and explains why kites are a common part of the Seaside landscape. Kite flying is for dry days as wet kite lines can act as a conductor for static electricity and lightning in a storm.

Learn More
Snail Mail: the Agony & the Ecstasy

Snail mail in Seaside circa 1909.

Learn More
Episode Three: the Seaside Aquarium

Take the audio walking tour of Seaside

Learn More
Promenade Meandering

Strolling on the promenade in Seaside is a time-honored tradition on the Oregon Coast

Learn More
Wildlife Along the Coast

Driving highway 101 can yield miles of scenic wonders

Learn More
MotorTrend Magazine – Epic Drives: Classic Cobra Visits Seaside

MotorTrend Magazine makes the trek to Seaside, Oregon to show off a Classic Cobra

Learn More