Seaside without the bustle of Broadway Street? If that sounds more like your speed, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to experience a relaxing beach getaway without ever venturing as far north as downtown Seaside. Whether you’re a frequent visitor or even a first-timer, I invite you to explore the quieter, more peaceful side of Seaside – the south end.
Where to Stay
No need to sacrifice beach access or beach views while staying on the south end of Seaside. At the very end of the Promenade, you’ll find the Inn at the Shore (2275 S. Promenade) with its oceanfront suites, some with awe-inspiring views of Tillamook Head. Hop on one of the complimentary bikes and explore the shoreline. Want a pool for the kids during the warmer months? Check out spacious The Tides by the Sea (2316 Beach Dr.), whimsical Sandy Cove Inn (241 Avenue U) or secluded Lanai at the Cove (3140 Sunset Blvd.).
Where to Eat
Start your morning at cozy Osprey Cafe (2281 Beach Dr.). Fill up on a hearty breakfast of homemade biscuits and gravy, pain perdu French toast or a breakfast hash. Or try one of its more unusual traveler’s breakfast dishes like arepas, which are South American corn and cheese cakes. Don’t be afraid to linger on those colder mornings with a steaming cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll in front of the roaring fireplace.
For lunch, make the short walk to one of my favorites in Seaside, Ruby’s Roadside Grill (2323 S. Roosevelt Dr.). Along with gourmet burgers and creamy shakes, you’ll find upscale pub food like flash-fried Brussel sprouts (made even better with bacon!) and barbeque shrimp tacos. The inviting patio with fire pits makes it the perfect spot for families and the family dog!
For dinner, eat like a local and head to unassuming U Street Pub and Eatery (220 Avenue U). On pleasant evenings, you can sit outside enjoying steamed mussels or fish and chips with one of its popular adult libations. Fido is welcomed here, too.
What to Do
If you’re feeling adventurous, take one day to hike the Tillamook Head Trail. Park at the entrance to the Elmer Feldenheimer Forest Reserve on the south side of Seaside where the trail begins. Rated as a moderately difficult hike, the entire trail to Ecola State Park just north of Cannon Beach is 6.3 miles with an elevation gain of 1,126 feet, but of course, you’ll need to hike back, too. Or you can just hike to the point where you glimpse Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, also known as “Terrible Tilly” by locals. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the barks of sea lions that inhabit the rock.
Another day, explore the off-Broadway sights in south Seaside. Start by turning left onto Lewis and Clark Way from Beach Drive. Walk west toward the Promenade until you find the Lewis and Clark Salt Works. It’s a small, fenced plot of land sandwiched between residential homes. During the rainy winter of 1805, the Corps boiled ocean water here to extract salt that was then used to preserve elk meat. According to the logs, they left in February 1806 with 28 gallons of “excellent, fine, strong and white” salt.
Further south at the intersection of Ocean Vista Drive and South Edgewood Street near the beach access point, you’ll find the Grave of the Unknown Sailor. One account tells the story of three men who rowed ashore to load up on freshwater only to wash up dead the following day after a storm in 1865. However, no one knows for sure who’s buried here. The grave — which reads “known only to God” — is maintained by local residents.
As you make your way back up Ocean Vista Drive, look for a semi-secret Painted Rock Beach near Avenue W. Here you’ll find rocks painted by locals and tourists alike with their names, sayings and year. Feel free to leave your own rock memento behind. In fact, it’s encouraged.