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!

Alcohol Server Training at Clatsop Community College

Alcohol server training certificate at Clatsop Community College in South County Center

Learn More
Boogie Nights

A look at Seaside's old dance hall and skating rink

Learn More
MotorHome Magazine: Sea to River, Oregon’s Spectacular North Coast

Bobbie Hasselbring from MotorHome magazine attended a media Fam (Familiarization) Tour hosted by the City of Seaside Visitors Bure...

Learn More
Rebranding Seaside Gives us new Opportunity for Promoting Seaside

How do you describe Seaside to your friends, neighbors and relatives? Better yet, how would you, if asked? You may have an answer ...

Learn More
Beach Blanket Bingo

Going back to the early 1960s, we look at beach culture.

Learn More
Dog Days of Summer in Seaside

Give your dog the time of his life on Seaside's beach.

Learn More
Riders of the Storm

Winter weather on the Oregon Coast is the flipside to flipside to golden summers, but it can be just as beautiful.

Learn More
The Perfect S’more

As the sun continues to make more regular appearances, I continue to look forward to external sunshine. And, yearning for a sweet treat, I’m reminded of that summer favorite: S’mores!

Learn More
Beach Bonfires – Under a Dome of Stars

A longstanding tradition is alive and well in Seaside

Learn More
Seaside Watercraft Adventures
Seaside Watercraft Adventures

Seaside watercraft adventures await visitors of all skill levels. With two rivers and multiple access points, anyone can enjoy the...

Learn More
The Spirits of Seaside Inside

Above photo: An old fashioned cask of beer in the historic Seaside Brewery by Jon Rahl, Seaside Visitors Bureau. Seaside has a lot...

Learn More
Locals Weigh In on the Best Ways to Visit Seaside

Building a campfire on the beach is a special tradition in Seaside. Photo: Kimson Doan Maybe you’ve visited Seaside for decades,...

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
Experience the King Tides in Seaside

Seaside Cove in stormy conditions (photo by Don Frank) The King Tides are coming to Oregon. As one of the most popular and easily ...

Learn 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
How to Bike Seaside in Every Season

If you like to ride a bike, there’s something for everyone in Seaside and something for every season, too. Be it a family of five, an avid mountain biker, friends on a weekend outing, a couple on a date, or someone who likes to combine biking and outdoor exploration, Seaside’s trails and roads, paved and otherwise, have you covered. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy biking in Seaside throughout the year. Here are some great biking experiences recent visitors have enjoyed in and around Seaside. Get inspired to plan your own trip.

Learn More
Seaside OR: Beachside Weddings

The North Oregon Coast is home, and Seaside is an ideal wedding destination! Seaside has incredible scenery, diverse and amazing vendors, and is within close proximity to the Portland airport for those out of town guests.

Learn More