The Tale of the Driftwood Forts - Seaside Oregon

Seaside Stories

The Tale of the Driftwood Forts

September 1, 2011 | by Julie

When I was a kid, I lived in Washington State, and every summer my family visited the Oregon Coast. Although we most frequently haunted Seaside and Cannon Beach, we also went to Lincoln City. On our vacations, we would spend hours combing the beach and collecting soda cans to turn in for candy money.

At times, there was so much driftwood on the sand that the sand was barely visible, and the nooks and crannies of stacked-up driftwood were certainly more than any kid could resist. So we climbed, slid (until we once got slivers-ouch) and found forts in the driftwood where we huddled and let our imaginations go wild. We were careful to not make beach fires in the middle of the stacks, but the stacks did become our “houses”. We were somewhat disappointed to learn on our next trip that our houses were gone. But of course, it didn’t take us long to find new ones.

Driftwood forts are unique and if you’ve been in one, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. The wood does a good job of filtering out sound and it offers a sense of peace to duck below and experience the quiet. No matter how warm the day, the sand is cool to the touch, and often undisturbed. Once in awhile, unique treasures can be found including shells, rocks, smooth glass and items left behind from other visitors. We commonly found one shoe, or one flip-flop and (more unusual) coins, buttons and left-behind sand shovels.

Here in Seaside and in many towns along the coast, there has been a general decline of driftwood. We see pieces here and there but rarely the massive stacks that used to litter the coast. I am reminded that, throughout the years, the ocean changes…yet remains the same. Is the reduction in wood due to society making better use of our natural resources? I don’t know. I do know that having less driftwood swing ashore is likely safer for both people and wildlife alike and although it is a good thing, I always wished that I could show my kids how we used to find forts within the stacks.

Last weekend when we were traipsing on the beach, I did get that opportunity. We found a fort made entirely of driftwood. Inside was a driftwood bench, and plenty of room to sit and enjoy the dull roar of the ocean on the other side of the wood walls. Someone had likely stayed there and we didn’t stay long, just in case someone was coming back.

I realized that it is a fort of a different kind. Not one that nature made, as we used to play in, but one that man made, by dragging driftwood to where it was needed. It was different, yet offered me at least a small opportunity to show my kids what driftwood forts are all about.  And it was worth it when they sat on the bench, paused to listen to the muffled sounds outside and said “Hey mom, this is cool.”

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

Trying to take flight during a wind storm on the beach in Seaside, Oregon.
Tides and Tide Tables: What You Need to Know

If your winter beach vacations to date have required sunscreen, then you clearly have not experienced a magical Seaside day in Jan...

Learn More
Seaside Downtown Wine Walk
Seaside’s Spring Downtown Wine Walk

A deeper look inside an annual spring event in Seaside

Learn More
A Stop on the Art Walk

Capturing what goes on behind the scenes of a First Saturday Art Walk

Learn More
Find a Beach Path Less Traveled By

A Sunday stroll along the beach at 12th Avenue in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Seaside

Seaside has many treasures “hidden” before our very eyes, ones we may take for granted because we don’t fully grasp their importance.

Learn More
The Beer 101 Pint Pass

While attending the 2015 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism, I met Brandon Holmes, co-founder of technology startup Bandwan...

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
Fruits of Your Labor

Picking blackberries on the Oregon Coast, local coastal berries

Learn More
Seaside’s History is an Honored Guest in Its Present

There are many local landmarks that celebrate the rich history of Seaside, a town that has been enjoyed as a popular beach getaway...

Learn More
Oregon Coast: Lodgings with a Tale to Tell

Historic coastal inn in Seaside, 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
A New Year of Seaside Adventures

A new year in Seaside means you have 12 months of adventure ahead —  trekking through rain forests, watching whales spray and d...

Learn More
Color Now Bursting on the Coast

Pick up a colorful bouquet of summer dahlias at roadside stands along Highway 101 and other coast highways

Learn More
Postcards from the Past

Ancient postcards from Seaside's distant past

Learn More
Alcohol Server Training at Clatsop Community College

Alcohol server training certificate at Clatsop Community College in South County Center

Learn More
Celebrating Spring

Celebrating spring and the lush wildlife in Seaside and the North Oregon Coast.

Learn More
Garden Circle Evolution

The evolution of Seaside's Turnaround garden circle.

Learn More