Seaside, Oregon, is named after a summer resort built in the late 19th century by railroad mogul Ben Holladay. Seaside has many of the attractions one might expect from a beach town, including sandy beaches, an aquarium, and a long coastal boardwalk. As the final stop on the expedition of the Corps of Discovery, the group of explorers led by captains Lewis and Clark, Seaside also has great historical significance. Here are the best things to do in Seaside, Oregon.
1.The Seaside Promenade
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The Seaside Promenade, fondly known as the Prom, is a 1.5-mile-long boardwalk running alongside the Pacific Ocean in town. The Prom was initially built from wood in the 1920s, but today it has been paved over in concrete, making it a convenient route for joggers and cyclists.
On one side of the promenade are beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and sandy dunes, while the other side shows off historical motels and beachside cottages. This Seaside hub also has a sightline to beautiful Tillamook Head and includes the famous End of the Trail statue of Lewis and Clark on a roundabout along its path.
2.Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area
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The Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area sits along the coast of Oregon where it meets the Pacific Ocean, creating a tranquil oasis with lovely ocean views and a calming seaside breeze. Located just south of Cannon Beach, the beach area here stretches for about a mile and opens up views of the rest of the coast as well as the headlands that form its borders.
This territory is less crowded than other nearby beaches, making it a choice spot to enjoy the seaside away from the crowds. The location has basic amenities for a trip to the beach, including restrooms and a picnic area.
US-101, Arch Cape, OR 97102, Phone: 503-986-0707
3.Camp 18 Museum, Seaside, OR
© Camp 18 Museum
The history of logging is proudly on display at Camp 18 Museum, an exhibit located on the property of the Camp 18 Logging Restaurant. At the outdoor museum, vintage logging equipment abounds, with some examples of the high-flying technology of the past, such as a large bandsaw, a steam-powered machinery, and a railroad log car, taking center stage.
Each piece of equipment has a placard beside it explaining its history and use. In addition, the museum holds an extensive vintage photograph collection, a portion of which is exhibited. The facility also actively participates in preservation and restoration efforts related to the logging industry.
42362 Highway 26, Elsie, OR 97138, Phone: 503-755-1818
4.Clatsop County Historical Society
© Clatsop County Historical Society
The Clatsop County Historical Society works to preserve the history of this part of Oregon by restoring and displaying some of its significant historic buildings for the public. In total, the society operates four different venues, which differ greatly from one another in terms of their styles and uses.
The Queen Anne-style Flavel House, which was built in 1884, provides information about the Victorian period, while the neoclassical Heritage Museum discusses the history of the entire county in its displays. The Uppertown Firefighter's Museum, a boxy red brick building, traces the history of firefighting in the region through a collection of memorabilia, which includes a 1946 Mack fire truck.
714 Exchange St, Astoria, OR 97103, Phone: 503-325-2203
5.Things to Do in Seaside: Clatsop Plains
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Clatsop Plains is the official and somewhat misleading name for an 18-mile stretch of sandy Pacific coast beach known to most by the more appropriate folk name of Clatsop Beach. The area is named for the Clatsop Native American tribe, who lived in the region in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Clatsop Plains includes two beaches, Sunset Beach and Columbia Beach, and is the location of the Peter Iredale, the skeleton of a shipwrecked British sailing vessel. In addition to creating beautiful beach and inland areas, Clatsop Plains is also the place from which the state of Oregon harvests the vast majority of its razor clams.
6.Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site
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The Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site is a tranquil, secluded area that leads out to the majestic waters of the Pacific Ocean. Unlike other more popular beaches, Del Rey offers a quiet place to enjoy the sun and sand; beachcombers can relax, fish, play, or fly a kite in peace without any crowds or noise.
Facilities are also available that provide horseback rides along the beach. Those in search of razor clams come to this spot to harvest these special creatures of the Pacific Northwest and many stay into the evening to watch the sun set over the horizon.
Warrenton, OR 97146, Phone: 800-551-6949
7.Ecola State Park, Seaside, Oregon
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Ecola State Park is another coastal beach park along the Pacific waters of Oregon. The park is located 2 miles to the north of well-known Cannon Beach and it has both sandy beach areas and inland hiking trails. The beach at Ecola State Park is known as Indian Beach and has a spacious area for relaxing by the waves and exploring in and around the tide pools.
Another favorite site at the state park is Ecola Point, which opens up views of the ocean and the rocky cliffs as well as of Tillamook Lighthouse. Eight miles of the Oregon Coast Trail run through the park and camping facilities are available to hikers.
84318 Ecola Park Rd, Cannon Beach, OR 97110, Phone: 503-368-5154
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Fort Clatsop, which sits inside the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks, was used as an encampment site for the Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1805–1806. This national monument includes two main structures, a visitors center, and a replica of the fort itself.
The center has an interpretive area and exhibit hall, which provide information about the history of the site as well as two educational films and a gift shop. Visitors can explore the monument on a self-guided audio tour or hike or take an excursion with one of the on-staff rangers, who often dress up in period costumes.
92343 Fort Clatsop Road, Astoria, OR 97103, Phone: 503-861-2471
9.Lewis & Clark Salt Works, Seaside, Oregon
© Lewis & Clark Salt Works
The Lewis & Clark Salt Works is another interesting exhibit within the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks. The Corps of Discovery, a group of early 19th-century voyagers who were part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, reached the Columbia River region of Oregon in the winter of 1805 and set up camp during the cold months.
By the time they arrived, they had run out of precious salt, which had been used to season and preserve the explorers' meals. To compensate, they created the salt works, a furnace system in which they constantly boiled ocean water to extract its salt. The stone furnace still stands and can be visited today, a reminder of the hardships faced by the first expeditioners of the Pacific Northwest.
56 Lewis and Clark Way, Seaside, OR 97138, Phone: 503-861-2471
10.Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge
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The Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge is truly off the beaten path as it includes a series of rarely trodden islands in the Columbia River. The 20 islands of the refuge, which are only accessible via boat, cover 27 miles, reaching all the way up to the state of Washington.
The refuge includes a range of different wildlife habitats, such as upland pasture, forested swamps, marshes, and tidal sand flats. These ecosystems create homes for gulls, raptors, songbirds, waterfowl, and many other species. Reptiles, amphibians, and mammals also find space on this 33,000-acre territory, and a great number of fish use the estuary for feeding and spawning. The refuge is popular for boating, hiking, paddling, and wildlife observation.
Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, OR 97103, Phone: 360-795-3915
11.Necanicum Estuary Park, Seaside, OR
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Although Seaside is best known as a fun beachside tourist town, the region also has much to give in terms of natural beauty. In addition to the many coastal scenes, steep rock bluffs, and dense forests of the area, greater Seaside is also home to the Necanicum Estuary, which is where the Necanicum, Neawanna, and Neacoxie rivers converge.
Here, mudflats are formed at low tide and salt and fresh water mix together, creating a favored fishing spot for many birds of the region. At Necanicum Estuary Park, birdwatchers and lovers of the outdoors can stroll along the grassy marshes and look out for blue and green herons, elk, otters, and other creatures of the estuary. The park also has a wooden walkway and interpretive signs.
1901 N Holladay Dr, Seaside, OR 97138
12.Oswald West State Park
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Oswald West State Park includes 2,484 acres of sandy beaches and lush temperate rainforest, making it a popular spot for exploring nature and taking in the exquisite Pacific coast. The 4-mile coastline within the park incorporates Short Sand Beach and Smugglers Cove, both of which are favorites for surfers and those who want to enjoy the beach away from the crowds.
These areas provide not only clean sand beaches, but also views of rocky cliffs and thick green forests. Further inland, Oswald West has a number of hiking trails, some of which form part of the famous Oregon Coast Trail. Some of the best hikes lead to breathtaking views at the Cape Falcon and Neahkahnie Mountain headlands.
Oswald West State Park, Arch Cape, OR 97102, Phone: 800-551-6949
13.Seaside Aquarium, Seaside, Oregon
© Seaside Aquarium
Seaside Aquarium, which opened its doors in 1937, is one of the West Coast's oldest aquariums. The 1924 building that houses the facility is a treasure in itself, as it maintains its classic look with antique signs and siding. Inside, Seaside Aquarium has many different tanks with crawlers and swimmers from the Pacific Ocean ecosystem. Underwater tanks provide a glimpse into the lives of such ocean dwellers as the sunflower star, nudibranch, and Giant Pacific Octopus.
The touch tank and discovery center provide more interactive experiences in which visitors can actually touch live sea creatures and see microorganisms through microscopes. But the highlight of Seaside Aquarium is its seal family, a group of over ten fun-loving, friendly harbor seals who love attention.
200 North Prom, Seaside, OR 97138, Phone: 503-738-6211
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The Seaside Carousel, located in the Carousel Mall, a kitschy shopping center with a number of small vendors, is a bright and beloved Seaside attraction. The mall is only two short blocks from the beach and the carousel creates a classic beach atmosphere. It keeps an antique, magical feel as it was modeled on exhibits from the San Francisco Carousel Museum.
Children of all ages can ride on one of the traditional horses or climb onboard an ostrich, pig, or other creature spinning around on the carousel platform. Beyond the carousel, the mall features fun shops like an old-time photo booth and a classic malt shoppe.
300 Broadway, Seaside, OR 97138, Phone: 503-738-6728
15.Seaside Museum & Historical Society
© Seaside Museum & Historical Society
The Seaside Museum and Historical Society is housed in Butterfield Cottage, a quaint beachside house and the site of the town's first seaside resort. The only beach cottage museum in all of Oregon, this museum, which has been fashioned in the style of approximately 1912, depicts the history of Seaside through the exhibits in its halls.
These include photographs, ancient artifacts, and even a diorama of 1899 Seaside. Some of the major themes of the museum are Native American history, the history of logging, and Seaside's hotels throughout the ages. Outdoors, a beautiful flower garden is maintained by volunteers from the historical society.
570 Necanicum Drive, Seaside, OR 97138, Phone: 503-738-7065
16.Tillamook Head, Seaside, OR
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Tillamook Head is an awe-inspiring promontory that overlooks Oregon's Pacific coast just 5 miles outside the town of Seaside. Situated within Ecola State Park, the rock formation ascends more than 1,000 feet above the water and is covered in Sitka spruce trees. In 1806, the Corps of Discovery crossed the head on a trip to purchase whale blubber from a local Native American tribe.
Captain Clark said of the ocean and island view from Tillamook, “I behold the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed." Hiking trails of varying lengths run through the park at Tillamook Head and the bluff is accessible by foot from Indian Beach.
17.Turnaround at Seaside
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The commemorative statue at the Turnaround at Seaside celebrates Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, a group of expeditioners who set out from St. Louis, Missouri, in the early 19th century to map the western part of the United States. Their trail ended here in Seaside, where the crew reached the Pacific Ocean.
In the middle of the Turnaround, which is where Broadway meets the famous Seaside Promenade, a tall bronze statue of Lewis and Clark towers above the traffic. Another important figure found in the image is Seaman, the explorers' dog, who accompanied them on the trip out West.
30 N Prom, Seaside, OR 97138
17 Best Things to Do in Seaside, Oregon
- The Seaside Promenade, Photo: Courtesy of cascoly 2 - Fotolia.com
- Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area, Photo: Courtesy of paulfell - Fotolia.com
- Camp 18 Museum, Seaside, OR, Photo: Camp 18 Museum
- Clatsop County Historical Society, Photo: Clatsop County Historical Society
- Things to Do in Seaside: Clatsop Plains, Photo: Courtesy of pelecanidae - Fotolia.com
- Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site, Photo: Courtesy of cmbankus - Fotolia.com
- Ecola State Park, Seaside, Oregon, Photo: Courtesy of elena suvorova - Fotolia.com
- Fort Clatsop, Photo: Courtesy of cascoly 2 - Fotolia.com
- Lewis & Clark Salt Works, Seaside, Oregon, Photo: Lewis & Clark Salt Works
- Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Courtesy of west wind graphics - Fotolia.com
- Necanicum Estuary Park, Seaside, OR, Photo: Courtesy of madajar - Fotolia.com
- Oswald West State Park, Photo: Courtesy of tusharkoley - Fotolia.com
- Seaside Aquarium, Seaside, Oregon, Photo: Seaside Aquarium
- Seaside Carousel, Photo: Courtesy of Frank Jr - Fotolia.com
- Seaside Museum & Historical Society, Photo: Seaside Museum & Historical Society
- Tillamook Head, Seaside, OR, Photo: Courtesy of good light hunting - Fotolia.com
- Turnaround at Seaside, Photo: Courtesy of cascoly2 - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of paulfell - Fotolia.com