Some of Oregon’s most scenic and history-rich places are located in or around Seaside. In fact, within just a one-hour drive, you’ll encounter 11 state parks, natural areas or recreation sites. With so many options, we turned to an expert for some insider intel on the must-see spots. Dane Osis has worked as an Oregon State Parks ranger for 22 years all along the Oregon Coast. Currently, his home base is Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond near Astoria.
The Jetty Trail at the Fort Stevens Historic Area is an easy, 1/2-mile hike that goes past century-old gun batteries with expansive views of the Columbia River. The area is abundant with wildlife including elk, eagles and occasionally in the summertime, humpback whales entering the Columbia River to feed.
Neahkanie Mountain within Oswald West State Park has some incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. On a clear day, you can see all the way down to Cape Meares and the offshore rocks.
Don’t-miss ranger programs
Depending on the season, you can go on ranger-guided razor clam digs, birding walks or mushroom hikes at Fort Stevens State Park. During the spring and winter school breaks, volunteers are present up and down the coast to help spot and interpret migrating gray whales.
Secret family beach
Even during the height of the summer season, Chapman Beach is quiet, peaceful and usually deserted. It’s located on the north end of the town of Cannon Beach. You can access the beach via Les Shirley Park.
Manhattan Beach State Recreation Site on the north side of the town of Rockaway Beach has fantastic beaches with great surf fishing and beachcombing. The ample parking lot is typically empty, even during busy summer weekends. Shhh… keep it to yourself!
Photo of Fort Stevens jetty by Jon Rahl