The calm waters of the Necanicum River in Seaside, Oregon. Photo: Alex Butterfield
There’s something comfortingly classic about Seaside, Oregon. The wholesome downtown that makes grandparents nostalgic, the outdoor offerings that keep kids and teens entertained, and the rugged beauty that makes it feel like both a relaxing getaway and an exciting adventure. Our family has been returning to Seaside for years, and as our kids grow, so does the list of things we love to do here. Here’s just a sampling of what keeps us coming back for more.
1. Start on the Promenade
Yes, the Promenade (I told you this town was a classic!), which locals call the Prom. We like to walk this oceanfront path in the evenings after dinner (when the kids were young, it was the perfect place to roll the strollers for an afternoon walk, lulling little ones into nap time). You also can visit the aquarium, which offers an intimate experience for visitors. It’s been around since 1937 and has kept up with the times. Visitors can feed seals, get hands-on with sea creatures at the touch tanks, and watch jellyfish (highly meditative in itself).
2. Don’t Miss the Funland Seaside Arcade
Honestly, this is just about the only arcade I encourage my kids to visit. The Funland Seaside Arcade is an absolute blast, and its location right downtown on Broadway (in the heart of town, instead of some tucked-away mall like many arcades) is convenient for letting older kids enjoy some free time. The arcade is an obvious choice for rainy days, but also nice for a break from the sunshine of the beach.
3. Rent Bikes or Surreys
For a fun way to tool around the Prom and the rest of town, opt for wheeled exploration. Bike rentals are available in multiple locations, or if you drive to Seaside like we do, just bring your own bikes, scooters, and skates. You can also pile the whole family into a surrey: a four-passenger bike. Laughs are all but guaranteed.
4. Go for a Paddle on Nearby Rivers
For a break from the beach, dip into Seaside’s riverways. Many visitors are surprised to learn they can grab a paddle and explore quiet flatwater instead of the ocean. Paddle boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are all popular ways to explore the Necanicum River and other nearby waterways, where you just might spot wildlife like blue herons. You’ll find several rental options available to get the boat that works best for you. Life jackets are always provided.
5. Roll Over to the Skate Park
Have teens craving some independence? Let them loose at Seaside Skate and Ride in Broadway Park, next to Sunset Pool. There’s no fee, and in addition to skateboards, inlines skates and bikes are permitted. (Just remember your helmets.)
6. Hit the Trails
Multiple day hikes are available within a 30-minute drive of Seaside, and our favorites include the network of trails at Tillamook Head. The Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is six miles long and weaves through thick coastal forest to Ecola State Park (where you can best glimpse the Tillamook Head Lighthouse or “Terrible Tilly” on clear days). The North Coast Land Conservatory is also a great resource for hikes and themed days outdoors, and the Mill Ponds Trail, which is part of the Neawanna Creek watershed, is a prime place to spot wildlife.
7. Soak Up Some Local History
Seaside is a wonderful place to learn more about Oregon and U.S. history—so we’re “those parents” who always include a refresher when we’re in the area. Right in town, Lewis and Clark Way (between Beach Drive and the Prom) marks the location of the legendary explorers’ salt-making camp from 1806. And part of the Tillamook Head Trail traces the route they took to find a beached whale. On rainy days, we stop by the Seaside Museum, or you can drive not far out of town to make a day of the Fort Clatsop Interpretive Center, the site of the expedition’s winter camp in 1806 .
8. Great Local Eateries
One part logging museum, one part historic restaurant, Camp 18 is at the top of our list of favorite places to eat around Seaside. Located outside of town in the coastal range, the restaurant pays homage to the area’s logging culture and history. Peek into a historic caboose and check out old-fashioned logging equipment before or after your meal.
A newer addition to our must-do list is the Times Theatre & Public House. This historic theater and brewery, which also serves up a fun pub menu, dates back to the 1940s but reopened with a major renovation after being shuttered for 30 years in 2018. Classic movies and craft beer (at least for the adults in the group) make for an excellent way to spend a summer afternoon.
Seaside is a small town that rewards repeat visits. Every time you come back, the seasons, weather, and waves make for a new dynamic. You can understand why so many families make this their annual vacation. It’s a place where you can enjoy fun entertainment, affordable attractions, and plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. We always come home refreshed!
For more information, order a free Visitor Guide to help you plan your Seaside getaway.
Written by Amy Whitley in partnership with City of Seaside Visitors Bureau.