It took Lewis and Clark 18 months and 4,000 miles to reach Seaside, which marks the official end of their famous cross-continental expedition. And since then, this charming town on Oregon’s North Coast has become much easier to explore, but no less exciting to discover.
Come and indulge in an expansive selection of dining and shopping, stroll the miles of beaches, and take in the history of that famous journey — but without all the hard work, of course. Here are five simple ways to embark on your own Seaside adventure.
1. Hike the Tillamook Head Trail
Soak up the salty air and enjoy scenic overlooks on this mossy trail set on a high promontory above the Pacific Ocean.
From Seaside, the moderate Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail starts in the Elmer Feldenheimer Forest Preserve, but a shorter climb to the tip of the Tillamook Head can be accessed from Indian Beach in the nearby town of Cannon Beach. Climb switchbacks for 900-feet of elevation gain (an achievable challenge for the whole family) to the stunning Tillamook Head viewpoint (about four miles into the hike if you set off from Seaside). Here, you can catch a glimpse of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in the distance.
Nicknamed “Terrible Tilly”, the lighthouse (which was decommissioned in 1957) is perched a little more than a mile offshore on a rock that resembles a creature crawling out of the sea. No need to worry about monsters, but many say the lighthouse is haunted as it served as a columbarium from 1980 through the late 1990s.
2. Kayak the Necanicum River
Combine the serenity of a peaceful paddling trip with the hustle and bustle of downtown Seaside by kayaking the Necanicum River. You’ll glide beneath Seaside’s bridges, past views of the shoreline and through the heart of town.
Quatat Park, located near the Convention Center, offers in-season boat rentals and a launching point. Nearby, Claeanline Surf Shop offers year-round watercraft rentals. You can also enter at Seaside’s ADA accessible kayak launch point in Broadway Park, which just opened in 2015 and gives everyone an easy way to play in the water.
Quick tip: Before setting out on your paddling adventure, pay close attention to tide charts. The flow and level of the city’s rivers are tidally influenced, and the tides play a role in determining when you should launch.
3. Stroll the Promenade
Walkers, joggers, bikers, stroller-pushers and dog-walkers all come together to enjoy the 1.5-mile beachfront Promenade, locally referred to as “the Prom.”
Before you set out, pick up an ice cream cone, or a hot beverage to warm your hands in chillier weather, at one of the many shops on Broadway Street, then hit the Prom. The sounds of families playing in the sand, seagulls and crashing waves will lull you into the instant relaxation you’re looking for.
4. Search for sand dollars and seashells
Roll up your pant legs and frolic in the foamy surf to find sand dollars and seashells. Let the chill waters lapping at your feet awaken your senses as you scan the ground for these beloved, natural souvenirs.
These treasures in the sand will delight beachcombers of all ages, just avoid disturbing a living creature in their home. Snap a picture instead.
Quick tip: As with kayaking, tide charts can help you determine the optimum (and safest) time for beachcombing. Try the early morning hours after an overnight storm for some of the best finds.
5. See the sights on four, pedal-powered wheels
Hopping in a four-wheeled surrey bike is another fun way to explore Seaside. You can’t help but smile when you’re pedaling side-by-side with your bike partner — the vehicles sport two seats and a cover to keep you dry if it rains.
This unique mode of transportation can take you along the Necanicum River or straight into the action of downtown Seaside — how you explore is completely up to you. You can rent surrey bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals, the Prom Bike and Hobby Shop or opt for only two wheels, instead. A regular ‘ol bike is fun, too!
There are many more ways to explore, but don’t stress about packing it all into just one trip. The joys of the Coast are easily accessible year-round, and you’ll certainly want to return for more uniquely Seaside adventures.
Photo by Don Frank / City of Seaside Visitors Bureau