The Seaside Promenade has survived through decades of history. The iconic trail, which turns 100 years old next August, has endured historical moments like World War II, a 1964 tsunami and the coronavirus pandemic, as well as countless volleyball tournaments and festivals.
However, Seaside’s history and allure aren’t limited to the Prom. Since being established in 1899, the coastal town has acted as a destination for both locals and tourists alike, with historical spots to visit, miles of beaches and a variety of eateries.
Between late 1805 and mid 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery traversed around the North Coast, visiting sites such as Tillamook Head, Ecola State Park and Fort Clatsop. At the time, about 200 members of the Clatsop Tribe lived on land that is now Seaside. The tribe shared hunting tips, plus foods like salmon and berries with the corps.
The tribe’s living members make up the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes of Oregon, a joint group of Clatsop and Nehalem tribe members.
When visiting Seaside this summer, you’ll be sure to find that the usually hustling and bustling town is still busy. But unlike usual, visitors are expected to wear masks while inside buildings and are encouraged to keep face coverings on while outdoors in areas like downtown, where it can be difficult to keep six feet away from others.
Many restaurants and businesses have reopened to visitors. Before visiting a restaurant, consider calling ahead to make a reservation or order food for take-out. Also, keep in mind that business hours may vary and seating may be limited, leading to longer wait times than usual.
What to do
Many of Seaside’s popular activities can be experienced on a minimal budget. To start, the beaches in Seaside are easily accessible and worth a visit. While it’s a fairly common activity, walking along the Seaside Promenade is always a worthwhile experience, as you can easily enjoy nature’s beauty, while also seeing a unique variety of tourists and locals who come to visit.
If you’d rather have a quieter experience, consider heading south to enjoy Tillamook Head, which links to the aptly-named Sunset Beach. Painted Rock Beach is another worthwhile spot to visit and features dozens of hand-painted rocks that are placed for visitors to enjoy. Up north, consider checking out Oogie Island or the Necanicum Estuary Natural History Park, both of which make for nice, short walks.
If you’d rather explore town on wheels, boat or board, there are equipment rentals at Wheel Fun Rentals, Cleanline Surf, Seaside Surf Shop and Northwest e-Bike. If you’re more of a golfer, head south to Seaside Golf Course.
As you’ll likely notice, there are historical relics scattered around Seaside. One worth visiting is the Lewis and Clark Salt Cairn Historic Monument, a small monument located off Lewis and Clark Way. The monument is easy to miss but offers some historical background on how important salt was to the Discovery Corps during their travels around the area.
Other points of interest include The Sailor’s Grave Monument (located in south Seaside near the golf course) and the End of the Trail Lewis and Clark Monument (located in the center of the roundabout near the Seaside Promenade).
And if you’re in the mood to play tourist for a day, consider checking out some of downtown’s attractions, like the Seaside Aquarium and Captain Kid Amusement Park. Keep in mind to check ahead of time whether an attraction is still open, since many have been closed during the pandemic.
Where to eat
If you’re hungry in Seaside, you’re in luck. Regardless of if you’re looking for a full meal, a drink or a snack, there are an abundance of options available in Seaside.
Like many of the North Coast’s towns, Seaside is a fantastic place to get a locally-made meal. The town is home to a handful of eateries that are recognized by the North Coast Food Trail, a resource guide that promotes sustainable dining and tourism. Seaside’s current food trail options include the Osprey Cafe, Maggie’s on the Prom, SISU Brewing (brewed downtown inside the Times Theatre & Public House), Sea Star Gelato, Dough Dough Bakery, Seaside Brewing Co. and the weekly Seaside Farmers Market. All the locations are worth a visit.
If you’re in the mood for breakfast, there are many coffee shops and stands along U.S. Highway 101. If you have time to stay downtown for a couple hours, consider grabbing breakfast to-go downtown from Bagels by the Sea, Seaside Coffee Roasters or Dundee’s Donuts. Then, bring your breakfast for a walk along the beach.
If you’re ready for lunch or dinner, there’s an abundance of places to get fresh seafood, like Finn’s Fish House or Norma’s Seafood and Steak. If you’d rather have Mexican or Thai food, consider trying Thai Me Up, Taqueria Pelayos, Yellow Curry Cozy Thai, New Garden Asian Cuisine, Guadalajara Taco Shop or one of the other available restaurants.
And not to be forgotten, drinks and dessert. There are plenty of places to pick up something sweet, especially when walking in downtown Seaside. Ice cream, elephant ears, shaved ice and candy are all easily accessible. The same goes for getting a drink: many places are located downtown but some are on the outskirts of town. If you’re looking for a dive bar or sports bar, there are a handful that are currently open to visitors. Consider visiting the Bridge Tender, which is reportedly haunted, or End of the Trail Public House, which has deep Seaside ties.
Where to stay
If you choose to stay in one of Seaside’s many hotels or inns, expect to pay upwards of $125 per night. Most places you can stay in are located along the beach, while some are situated downtown. There are also airbnb locations available to rent in the same areas and for similar prices.
If you’d rather have more of a camping-like experience, there are a couple RV lots toward the east end of town, Thousand Trails Seaside RV Campground and Seaside RV Resort.