Think you’ve experienced everything in Seaside? Think again. There are always more spots full of history, beauty and wonder to explore. You may want to add these insider-approved destinations to your bucket list.
Walk a Quiet Nature Trail
Along the west bank of the Necanicum River at the south end of Seaside, a big yellow barn at the Circle Creek Conservation Center marks a pair of trails open to hikers. The .8-mile Legacy Loop crosses a small creek and then passes through the Sitka spruce forest at the base of Tillamook Head. The 2.4-mile Wetlands Walk follows an old farm road and wooden bridge across Circle Creek and onto a boardwalk through the floodplain. Leave bikes, horses and pets at home. The wildlife-habitat reserve is private property, so visitors must sign in and follow a code of conduct, including packing out all trash, staying on the trail and observing wildlife from a distance. Watch for the large herd of elk that roams the property.
Circle Creek photo via North Coast Land Conservancy
Enjoy Folk Art at Painted Rock Beach
Just west of Ocean Vista Drive along Avenue W, a gravel footpath leads to a colorful treasure cache of hand-painted rocks placed by locals and visitors from all over the world. You can place your own painted rock creations and admire the others, pack a picnic (and remember to pack out all of your trash), or just sit at the bench and take in the tranquility of this quieter stretch of beach.
Tillamook Head from Painted Rock Beach
Visit the Grave of the Unknown Sailor
Most know about the primo wave-watching on display at the Cove, Seaside’s surfing hot spot. Fewer folks know about the Grave of the Unknown Sailor, the final resting place of several souls lost at sea in a tragedy that struck in 1865. The stone grave, accompanied by a plaque, is a historical maker and place of respect.
See the Salt Works
You know of Capt. Meriwether Lewis and Lt. William Clark, but what about Joseph Fields, William Bratten and George Gibson? History books celebrate the three men — assisted by hunters, packers and local tribes — as the official salt makers of the Lewis & Clark expedition in 1806. They built a furnace and boiled seawater to make bushels of “excellent, fine, strong and white” salt, essential for curing meats. The Salt Works, also known as the Lewis and Clark Salt Cairn Historic Monument, marks their achievement and tells the story of this chapter of the expedition.
Site of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Salt Works.
Explore the Estuary
Looking for a nature walk away from the bustle of town? At the north end of Seaside, the Necanicum Estuary — where the Necanicum River meets the Pacific Ocean — is one of the best sites on the North Coast to find migratory shorebirds. Pack your binoculars and snacks to enjoy along the sandy shoreline and take your time as you soak up the sights and sounds of feathered friends all around you. Check out birding etiquette tips before you go. Find parking across from the old Seaside High School.
Estuary photo via North Coast Land Conservancy