Seaside Stories

Roaming the Sand for Treasures

November 11, 2012 | by Nate Burke

Life on the Oregon Coast has unbelievable perks, but none are such a part of the ebb and flow of coastal culture as beachcombing.  It can be a meditative adventure if you consider the beach as a special place, the doorstep to an oceanic world larger than imagination.  There is a quiet magic to roaming this sandy limbo – this narrow expanse is the closest we can get to walking along the edge of the world.
One of my favorite things though, is stumbling upon small treasures the ocean has left behind.
My grandma used to tell me that sand dollars were misplaced “whale money” that fell out of whale wallets – most likely when they were purchasing essential underwater goods and services.  Apparently the exchange rate of whale currency was pretty lousy, because my sand dollars couldn’t buy much.  But finding them was a delight and now as an adult I’m astonished that a little sea creature’s exoskeleton can have such charming artistry.
My other favorite finds are the infamous glass floats.  It’s not uncommon to see a suspicious object glittering with reflected sunlight off in the distance.  On approach, you’ll find what looks like a half-buried fortune teller’s crystal ball glinting up out of the sand.  These glass floats were used by fisherman from all over the globe to keep their nets and lines afloat. Popular antiques, floats can wash ashore after extremely long periods at sea, traveling thousands of miles and can range from the size of a grapefruit on up to the size of a basketball.  Some may be extremely old, too (Japan used them as early as 1910).  The best times to go hunting for glass floats are between November and April, usually after stormy conditions.
Beachcombing will often reward you an astonishing array of shells, sea-life, prehistoric driftwood, and of course stunning panoramic scenery.  There was a particular time when I was younger, out wandering the Seaside beach at sunset, and I was lucky enough to witness the venerated “green flash” – an optical occurrence where a green flash ignites the horizon right after the sun goes down.  It was an astonishing display of nature’s shocking beauty.  Sometimes the best things we come away with from beachcombing are the stories of the wonders we’ve seen.
Do you have a favorite beachcombing story? Please share by commenting below.
Editor’s Note: Tide charts can greatly aid a scavenger hunt. Plan ahead and always be aware of your surroundings. Here’s a link to our tide tables

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

Promenade Meandering

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

Learn More
Our timeless ocean

Enjoying the ocean can be a timeless endeavor.

Learn More
Oregon Coast: Lodgings with a Tale to Tell

Historic coastal inn in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Coming Soon: Epic New Mountain Biking Trails

Seaside’s natural landscapes are settings for all kinds of two-wheeled adventures, including challenging rides on logging roads ...

Learn More
From Arcade to Aquarium: 8 Things To Do When It’s Raining In Seaside

When it rains, you’ll have plenty to do in Seaside, Oregon. Photo: Rupert Britton Our charming oceanfront town is, after all, in...

Learn More
Building a Seaside Mountain Biking Culture

The Oregon Coast is widely recognized as the setting for many incredible outside activities. Located at the end of Lewis and Clark...

Learn More
Episode Six: Phillips Candies

Take a walk down memory lane and discover one of Seaside's oldest establishments: the famous Phillips Candies on Broadway.

Learn More
October is a Fickle Friend in Seaside

October weather is unpredictable on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
Digging for the Bounty!

Razor clamming on Oregon

Learn More
The Seaside Estuary makes an ideal spot to go bird watching along the Oregon Coast.
Where to Go Birding in Seaside

Seaside may be a small town, but it’s a big destination for birds, and as a result, birdwatchers hitting nearby spots on the Ore...

Learn More
Top Take-Out Spots in Seaside

Maybe you need a quick breakfast to fuel your day’s adventure? Or you’re hungry for dinner but too tired to venture out of you...

Learn More
Insider Tips: Exploring the Prom Like a Local

It’s difficult to imagine Seaside without the historic Promenade, the famous lamp-lined trail that stretches along the sandy bea...

Learn More
Supersize Me!

A brief look at Seaside's past sweets and treats

Learn More
Beach Blanket Bingo

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

Learn More
Seaside Library

A look at the humble beginnings of the Seaside Public Library

Learn More
Waving the Flag in the Early 1900s

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

Learn More
View from the Tower

View from the old Seaside Hotel tower.

Learn More
COVID: What to Expect at the Beach and on the Prom

Seaside’s wide-open sandy shoreline has been a favorite playground for generations of visitors. As you plan your next trip, you ...

Learn More