Seaside Stories

Summer’s Great, but There’s Nothing Else like Winter in Seaside

December 4, 2018 | by Seaside Visitors Bureau

When you imagine a classic beach town, you probably picture something similar to Seaside, Oregon. Our town of 6,700 sits less than 90 minutes from Portland and offers a walkable downtown core full of restaurants, pubs, arcade games, carnival rides, and other family-friendly attractions that make it a fun and exciting getaway—no matter the time of year.

And while you’ll literally rub elbows with fellow visitors along Broadway every summer, winter just might be the best time to visit Seaside. Free from crowds, the quiet community offers great deals on comfortable accommodations, no shortage of natural beauty, and plenty of opportunities to see the rugged coast in a whole new light.

So if you’re considering a weekend getaway as the rains arrive, here are five tips for enjoying winter in Seaside.

1. Take Advantage of the Seasonal Perks

Winter means more parking along Broadway, fewer competitors for Fascination tables at the Funland Arcade, and a shorter wait for the world-class pork belly banh mi at the Osprey Café. You have the Prom to yourself while enjoying a sunset, and you won’t sit through several red lights on your way into town.

We know you love noshing on cotton candy over spring break and sticking your feet into the sand every summer, but we think you’ll also enjoy smaller crowds and a more intimate vibe that comes with the quieter, more laid-back winter season.

Better yet: The smaller crowds also mean off-season rates at your favorite hotels, motels, and B&Bs. So why not upgrade to that beachfront suite? You deserve it.

2. Warm Up With a Cup of Coffee

6q7BWpJh1Ckmgm6Q6EMoi6
Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a cozy morning. Tyler Nix

Is there any better feeling than warming up and getting cozy over a steaming cup of coffee? We think not, so we’d recommend spending a morning at one of Seaside’s relaxing places to grab some coffee.

With a funky blend of couches and lounge chairs, Seaside Coffee Roasting Company delivers a comfortable atmosphere that recalls a lived-in home. Local artwork lines the walls, vintage bicycles sit on display, and visitors can choose from numerous books and magazines for waiting out that passing rainstorm. It’s a great place to meet with locals if you’re looking to chat or get some inside info on the upcoming activities for the day. You’ll also find plenty of specialty drinks beyond just coffee.

Elsewhere, Beach Day Coffee sits at the foot of Broadway, mere steps from Seaside’s stretch of sand. In addition to the prime location, Beach Day Coffee features locally roasted coffee, espresso, and home-baked goodies in a bright, modern interior.

On the south end of town, the Osprey Cafe also has some of the finest espresso-based coffee on the North Coast. If the weather’s nice, it’s a great place to grab an Americano or mocha and go walk north on the prom or along the beach to the Cove.

3. Dig for Dinner

Head out to the beach on any given winter weekend, and you’ll see dozens of rubber boot-wearing clam diggers patrolling the shore, looking for dime-sized divots that signal a razor clam just below the surface.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the beaches between Seaside and the mouth of the Columbia River account for 95 percent of Oregon’s razor clam harvest every year. It’s easy for new diggers to join the fun: Once you’ve learned what to look for—divots and V-shaped streams in the sand, generally speaking—just get a license, a shovel or clam gun, bucket, and some kind of waterproof footwear…and start digging.

Clam diggers must keep the first 15 they catch—and, while cleaning takes time, it’s a fun way to experience Oregon’s famous seafood scene and embrace the “locavore” ethos for which the state is known. One quick note: Clam season is occasionally postponed due to an insufficient number of mature clams. Make sure it’s open season before you go.

4. Witness Nature’s Wrath (Safely, Of Course)

3NcGOJSYEUOcQUmAOsmaIS
The beaches take on a different look in the winter, and storms can produce a fascinating show. Sam Beebe

Forget the Kardashians: Mother Nature puts on her own reality show every winter as storms roll in off the Pacific Ocean and collide with the rugged Oregon Coast.

Some of those waves can reach 50 feet high–or taller–making the wide-open coastline at Seaside’s feet an ideal spot for winter storm-watching. Seaside has a few restaurants with a view, in addition to beachfront hotels and vacation rentals, so you’re never far from the action when the rain rolls in and waves crash into the shore.

Feel free to head out to the beach itself for the closest views. Just make sure you’re dressed for the weather and watch from a safe distance.

5. Watch for Whales

Whales regularly swim up and down the Oregon Coast, but winter is one of the best times of year to spot some of the 20,000 gray whales that migrate along the coast every year. While whales migrate all winter long, you’re most likely to spot a gray whale in December and January. And if you’re watching for that distinctive spout, there are few better outposts than Ecola State Park and Tillamook Head, which sits at the southern edge of Seaside.

If you’re up for a challenging hike, make your way on the hardy trail along Tillamook Head for wide-open ocean views—not to mention views of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, also known as “Terrible Tilly,” which sits more than a mile offshore.

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

and so much more!

The Best of Times News: The Beach at the End of the Trail

Travel writer for the fabulous 50-and-over set, Andrea Gross, spent some time on Oregon’s North Coast in the summer of 2014....

Learn More
Summer in Seaside can offer as much variety as our local candy stores.
How to Have an Epic North Coast Summer

A summer spent in Seaside is like a good clam chowder — fresh, flavorful and filling.

Learn More
How To Walk Seaside, Oregon

Discover things to see in Seaside, OR including the Seaside Promenade, Tillamook Head Trail & Tillamook Head Lighthouse, bird...

Learn More
Clamming Chronicles

History of clamming in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Hiking Saddle Mountain is one of our four favorite hikes around Seaside.
4 Favorite Hikes Around Town

The sheer variety of trails in and around Seasie Oregon means you have plenty of hiking options, from kid-friendly strolls on the Prom to more strenuous climbs with stunning views.

Learn More
Ice cream time in Seaside, Oregon
An Adventure to Share

A winning family vacation in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Camping in Seaside

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. One of my very favorite things to do during Memorial Day weekend is to go camping. I love setting up the tents, snuggling in a warm sleeping bag, sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores, and smelling like a campfire all weekend. I love every bit of it! If you’ve never camped by the Pacific Ocean then you are missing out! You get to add the salty air, sandy beach, and all the benefits of being near Seaside to add to your camping experience.

Learn More
October is a Fickle Friend in Seaside

October weather is unpredictable on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
The Iron Horse Comes to Town

A look at the train that connected Seaside to Portland in 1898

Learn More
View from the Pacific Pier

The view circa 1906 of Seaside's old Pacific Pier

Learn More
For a Taste of Oregon’s Beautiful North Coast, Visit Seaside

Seaside has been a vacation destination for nearly as long as Oregon has been a state.

Learn More
Our timeless ocean

Enjoying the ocean can be a timeless endeavor.

Learn More
Terrible Tilly

A brief history of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, or better know as "Terrible Tilly"

Learn More
Portland to Seaside by Bus

Visiting Seaside without a Car

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
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
The Daddy Train

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

Learn More