One of the most picturesque resort towns along the Oregon Coast, Seaside has attracted families and holidaymakers for over a century. It boasts a beautiful broad beach with countless attractions and arcades on its bustling boardwalk and beachside promenade.
Since so many people descend upon the town in the summer months, the centre of Seaside takes on an almost carnival-like atmosphere. Dotted about are innumerable cotton candy stands, ice cream parlours, and gift shops. Superb seafood restaurants and a scattering of museums and art galleries also top the list of things to do in Seaside.
Aside from exploring the tourist attractions in the center of town, strolling along the Prom and lounging on its golden sands, the small city also has historic sites relating to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
With so much going for it and numerous state parks and nature spots to be found nearby, Seaside is well worth checking out if you have the chance.
In this post, we'll cover:
12. Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail
The Tillamook Head National Recreation Trailhead is five minutes drive south of Seaside, not far from Sunset Beach. The trail is a treat to hike along. Part of the Oregon Coast Trail, the picturesque path follows in the footsteps of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, which explored the area in 1806.
Stretching just under 12 miles in length, the out and back trail weaves through pristine forests and rolling hills before finally emerging at the Pacific. Described by Captain Clark as the ‘grandest and most pleasing prospect’ he had ever seen, the views from atop the huge promontory of Tillamook Head certainly are spellbinding.
As well as viewing the breathtaking panoramas over the ocean and Oregon’s craggy coast, you can enjoy the fabulous fauna and flora of Ecola State Park.
11. Seaside Carousel Mall
A firm favorite with both locals and tourists alike, Seaside Carousel Mall lies in the center of town, just a couple of blocks from the beach. A fun, family-friendly place, it is home to dozens of shops and restaurants, as well as countless arcades and carousel rides.
Since opening in 1985, the brightly-colored building has delighted generations of young and old alike with its enticing attractions. While it has more modern additions, such as a game-filled arcade and lazer tag arena, its standout feature is still the lovely antique carousel that lies at its center.
Aside from enjoying games and rides, the mall also has numerous shops and a handful of great restaurants and cafes for you to try out.
10. Lewis and Clark Monument
Lying at the center of the Turnaround – one of the city’s most iconic attractions – is the Lewis and Clark Monument. Gazing out majestically over the Pacific Ocean, it makes for a striking sight with phenomenal views to be enjoyed from its foot.
Erected in 1990, the bronze statue marks the official end of the Lewis and Clark Trail and commemorates the explorers’ epic eighteen month expedition. Besides the two hardy adventurers, it also depicts their loyal hound Seaman with vignettes around the bottom portraying various events that happened along the way.
While Lewis and Clark never actually stood in this exact spot, the statue certainly makes for some fantastic photos.
9. Camp 18 Museum
An interesting place to visit in Seaside, the Camp 18 Museum documents the history of logging in Oregon and the impact the industry had on the state. Set half an hour’s drive southeast of the city, its rustic log cabin and restaurant lie in a lovely scenic spot.
Since the 1970s, its founder Gordon Smith has been collecting logging equipment with huge axes and saws on show alongside other tools, trucks, and antiquated machinery. Dotted about are informative displays on the history of logging and the purpose of each piece of equipment.
Just as impressive as its artifacts and exhibits is the large log cabin itself that was made by Smith and his friends. Besides taking in its fine features and wood carvings, you can also enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant.
8. Fort Stevens State Park
Occupying the northwestern most tip of Oregon, Fort Stevens State Park offers stunning scenery and interesting historic sites and is only a twenty minute drive north of Seaside. Formerly an American military installation, its vast swathes of woods, beautiful beaches, and coastline offer all kinds of excellent outdoor activities.
Built in 1863, Fort Stevens guarded the mouth of the Columbia River during the Civil War and later saw action in numerous other battles and disputes. While most of it has since been demolished, it is still well worth stopping by the fort’s military museum and its remaining bunkers and batteries.
Due to the fantastic hiking, mountain biking and swimming, the state park is a popular place to go camping.
7. Turnaround at Seaside
Set at the spot where Broadway Street meets the Seaside Promenade is the Turnaround; one of the most popular places to visit in town. For a century now, the iconic little loop of road has attracted visitors due to its unique and unusual layout and the epic views it offers over the ocean.
Built in 1920, the Turnaround marks the point overlooking the Pacific at which the Lewis and Clark Expedition finally finished their arduous trek across the States. As well as commemorating their achievement, the little loop of road also serves as a roundabout, allowing drivers to take in the view before returning down Broadway Street.
Looking out over the beach and Pacific, the pavement and viewpoint are lined by a balustrade and lamps with the Lewis and Clark Monument lying at its center. The symbolic center of Seaside, the Turnaround is not to be missed for its lively atmosphere and incredible views.
6. Lewis & Clark Salt Works
Lying alongside the Seaside Promenade is another of the numerous historic sites in the area that relate to the infamous Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was here at the Salt Works that some of the Corps spent the winter of 1805 preparing salt for the return leg of their mammoth journey.
As the expedition had run out of salt by the time they reached the Pacific, the explorers had no other choice but to boil seawater over a stone furnace. While Captain Clark didn’t care too much for it, salt in those days was key for preserving and seasoning food and could be the difference between life and death.
As the original oven used by the men had long since collapsed, a replica cairn was assembled by local historians in the 1950s with an informative plaque and protective railing now marking the site.
5. Saddle Mountain Trail
If it’s an adventure you’re after then you can’t beat hiking along the stupendous Saddle Mountain Trail. Located half an hour’s drive to the east of Seaside, the trail takes you past sublime scenery and nature before you emerge at a magnificent viewpoint.
Stretching almost three miles in length, the picturesque path winds its way steeply up the side of Saddle Mountain. On the way you pass by pockets of pretty wildflowers and through verdant woods with the view steadily getting better and better the higher you go.
Once you arrive at the top of the 3,280 foot-high mountain you can bask in epic panoramas with the Cascade Mountains, Columbia River, and even the Pacific Ocean spied off in the distance.
4. Old Seaside
The main place to shop, dine and go out in the city, Old Seaside is centered around Broadway Street; the seaside resort town’s bustling main thoroughfare. While most attractions and establishments lie towards the Turnaround end of town, yet more shops and restaurants can be found east of the estuary that divides downtown in two.
To the west of the Necanicum River Estuary you’ll find family-friendly places to stop by with arcades and ice cream parlors alongside souvenir shops and seafood restaurants. In contrast, the Gilbert Historic District to the east boasts some of the oldest buildings in Seaside, as well as numerous art galleries and a fabulous farmers market.
In addition, both Broadway Street and downtown lead onto the Seaside Beach, Promenade, and Turnaround; all of which offer fun activities.
3. Seaside Aquarium
Located just north of the Turnaround, alongside the promenade, is one of the city’s main attractions: the superb Seaside Aquarium. One of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast, it has an extensive array of animals and exhibits that focus on the marine environments of the Pacific Ocean.
Established in 1937, it contains a number of aquariums with shimmering shoals of fish on show alongside starfish, stingrays and octopuses. On top of learning about its more than a hundred species of marine life, you can also stroke some of its residents in its terrific touch tank.
The aquarium is particularly known for its friendly family of harbor seals who playfully splash about and even do tricks for fish in their spacious enclosure.
2. Seaside Promenade
The historic Seaside Promenade is a treat to stroll along with stunning scenery and views the whole way along. For over a century, the picturesque path has been popular with both locals and tourists alike for the numerous attractions and sights that line its route.
Stretching almost one and a half miles in total, the Prom separates the city from the beach and the ocean. While gorgeous swathes of sand lie on one side, the other is home to charming beachside cottages and historic hotels.
Initially built out of wood in the 1920s, the paved concrete path is now perfect for walking, jogging or cycling along with majestic views over the ocean and Tillamook Head.
1. Seaside Beach
The main reason that people visit the resort town of Seaside is for Seaside Beach, which is one of the biggest and most beautiful along the Oregon Coast. Its expansive sun-kissed sands offer all kinds of fun outdoor activities with countless shops, restaurants and sights also lying nearby.
The beach stretches nearly two miles in length and is bordered by the hulking Tillamook Head to the south and Necanicum River to the north. As well as lounging lazily on its sands or swimming in the sea, you can also play volleyball or enjoy surfing and paddleboarding.
Seaside Beach hosts several fun competitions and sporting events during the year.