The thought of a coastal boardwalk in winter might bring to mind desolate streets and shuttered summer attractions. Not so in Seaside, Oregon’s first resort town. Even during the winter months, this charming weekend destination bustles with activity and offers plenty of indoor diversions and outdoor adventure.
Stroll the promenade: A vintage carousel, sweet shops, ice cream parlors and souvenir stands dot Broadway and the 1.5-mile oceanfront promenade. You’ll also find classic arcade staples like skee ball or fascination, a popular game dating to the 1920s. Fortify yourself at Seaside Brewing Co., housed in the historic, 100-year-old former jail and city hall building. Classic pub fare, local seafood and craft beers are all on the menu.
Feed the seals: No visit to Seaside would be complete without touring the Seaside Aquarium. Originally built in 1924 as a salt-water bathhouse and swimming pool, the aquarium has tanks filled with all manner of sea life, including harbor seals performing and preening as visitors feed them. Don’t miss the Striped Beakfish that moved across the Pacific after the 2011 Japanese Tsunami that now calls this aquarium home.
Step into history: It was in Seaside, along the banks of the Necanium River, that Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery replenished their salt stores. Get the full story at the Seaside Historical Society Museum,which also exhibits Clatsop Indian artifacts and early photos from the region.
Dig for clams: The frequent minus tides that happen in the winter months make razor clamming by lantern a popular activity on the North Coast. This season’s minus tide opportunities in Seaside will occur on December 1-6, December 14-18, December 30-January 3 and January 28-February 2.
Shop, run, and have tea: Seaside boasts a full calendar of events throughout the winter months. Shop at one of 37 local businesses and qualify to win a stocking full of goodies. Get in the holiday spirit with a Gingerbread Tea or the Ugly Sweater Run.
Don’t miss: If the weather cooperates, head to nearby Ecola State Park, one of the most beautiful spots on the Oregon Coast. Extending nine miles between Seaside and Cannon Beach, with trails winding through mountain forests and over headlands, it offers jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. And if a squall rolls in, there may be no more exhilarating place to experience a winter storm. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even see a migrating gray whale.
Image Credit: Don Frank / Visit Seaside