Seaside Stories

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

May 28, 2020 | by Jen Anderson 

Seaside’s wide-open sandy shoreline has been a favorite playground for generations of visitors. As you plan your next trip, you can feel confident that the beach and the historic Seaside Promenade are fabulous places to social distance. It’s important to bring your face covering (now required in all of Oregon’s public indoor spaces) and stay at least 6 feet away from people outside of your household, but luckily everyone in the family can do just that in Seaside. Here’s what to expect when you return to these beloved spaces on your next visit. 

Safety First

Seaside’s beaches are among the safest on the Oregon Coast, with a long tradition of lifeguards stationed on the sand between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They’re here to assist with everything from First Aid needs to beach rescues, as sneaker waves are a real threat. As most public pools remain closed, it’s tempting to cool off with a dip in the surf — but make sure you know your ability before venturing in. 

The Beach is Wide-Open and Accessible to Everyone

Seaside’s sandy shores are typically hopping in the summer months with 4th of July celebrations, volleyball and soccer tournaments and other hallmark events, but this summer they’re all canceled per statewide mandate. That means more beach space is open for you! Anyone needing use of a beach wheelchair (with wide, sturdy tires for the sand) may reserve one for free by calling the Sunset Empire Parks & Recreation District at 503-738-7393; know that they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All public restrooms are open for visitors, including those at the Seaside Visitors Bureau (7 North Roosevelt) and at the Turnaround. Remember to keep practicing good hygiene, carry your own hand sanitizer and stand 6 feet apart in line for the restroom.

Skyler Archibald, executive director of Sunset Empire Recreation District, says the community can’t wait to see visitors return for a safe, close-to-home beach vacation. “The ideal visitor is willing to give business and restaurants an opportunity to earn their business again, even if it looks different,” he says. “Our businesses have worked really hard to make it safe for people.” 
 


 

Lots of Spaces for Adventure

Seaside is great for lounging and being more active too — there’s no judgements here. Visitors of all mobilities may access the water via dozens of locations that are flat and relatively easy to bring a paddle craft. The Necanicum River Estuary at the north end of town is a particularly quiet spot, where the tide moves with the current of the river. Come for excellent wildlife watching, crabbing and paddling opportunities. Wheel Fun Rentals rents paddle boats and, for those looking to stay dry, bikes.

The Prom is Your Playground

Stretching for 1.5 miles from Avenue U on the south end of town to 12th Avenue on the north end, the Prom is the quintessential place to stroll with loved ones, including leashed pets. The 15-foot-wide paved walkway provides plenty of leeway for social distancing, and has endured so much history in its 100 years, starting with its dedication in 1921, which attracted an estimated crowd of around 25,000. From previous pandemics and world wars to “Daddy Trains” and the first moon landing,  the Prom has been a steady companion throughout. 

Steve Wright, board president of the Seaside Historical Museum and a member of the City Council, has jumped headfirst into the community since moving here in 2014. He’s in awe of how Seaside has evolved into a year-round visitor destination after waves of expansions and urban development, with a mind-boggling array of events for every interest. Personally, he helps organize “History and Hops,” a chance for people to talk about history over dinner and a beer once a month in the winter months. Wright is already dreaming up ways to make the Prom’s 100th anniversary celebration next summer an event not to be missed, with a parade, Model T rides and more nostalgic draws. “I’ll see if I can convince people to dress up in 1920s bathing costumes and have promenades on the Prom,” he says. “There’s something for everybody here. It’s all still here.” 

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