Best Things to Do in Seaside, Oregon

Seaside, Oregon is a picturesque resort town that has become a popular destination for travelers visiting the Oregon Coast. Seaside’s unique historical significance and its history as one of the first popular resort towns draws tourists from all over the world.

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If you’re looking for things to do in Seaside, you’ll be pleased to find that there’s tons to do in the area. Below are some of our favorite things to do in Seaside, along with some things to do for kids and things to do when the weather isn’t ideal.

1. Stroll along the Seaside Promenade

The Seaside Promenade is one of the most iconic locations in Seaside. This boardwalk is locally known as “The Prom,” and features one and a half miles of boardwalk which run alongside the Pacific Ocean. The original “Prom” was made from wood, but today it has been repaved with concrete to make it more durable and convenient for pedestrians. 

Strolling along the Seaside Promenade is a great way to start or end a day. You can take in the Prom by walking, jogging, or cycling. Along the way, you’ll see the sandy dunes of the beach, the incomparable views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as historical buildings and quaint cottage architecture. You can even see the “End of the Trail” statue, a statue commemorating Lewis and Clark, from the boardwalk view.

2. Visit the Turnaround

No visit to Seaside is complete without a visit to the Turnaround, a commemorative statue which celebrates the Lewis and Clark expedition. The journey of Lewis and Clark ended right in Seaside when the team made it to the Pacific Ocean, and the Turnaround marks the general area where the explorers visited back in the 19th century. In addition to a commemorative Turnaround marker, there is a sculpture of Lewis and Clark that looks out over the Seaside traffic. 

The Turnaround is truly one of the most iconic landmarks in Seaside, and a visit to the Turnaround can help put the historical importance and culture of Seaside into better context. You’ll want to snap a photo of the iconic Turnaround statue, so make sure to have your camera ready when you visit!

3. Relax at Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area

Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area is perfect for a relaxing day out at the beach. The area is about a mile long and doesn’t get as crowded as some of Seaside’s other beach areas. In the recreation area there are restrooms, a picnic area, and plenty of beach, ocean, and natural sights to take in while you’re there.

If you head out to Arcadia Beach, make sure to pack a good lunch and all the supplies you need such as towels and sunblock. There are no restaurants or cafes on site, so you’ll have to come prepared or be willing to drive outside of the Arcadia Beach area in order to get supplies or find something to eat. 

4. Learn at the Lewis & Clark Salt Works

The Lewis and Clark Salt Works Oven

The Lewis & Clark Salt Works is part of the broad Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks complex. Back in 1805, when the Lewis and Clark expedition had set up camp in Seaside, they had to endure the winter months without a proper supply of salt. The solution was to create the salt works, a unique furnace system which created salt by extracting it from local ocean water. The actual stone furnace they created still exists and is used today at the Lewis & Clark Salt Works to educate people on the hardships experienced during the expedition. This unique piece of history is something you won’t soon forget! The Salt Works is open year round, but make sure to call ahead to check for closures on days when the weather is questionable.

5. Explore Tillamook Head

Tillamook Head

Tillamook Head is a stunning natural rock formation located in Ecola State Park. This unique rock formation has an interesting appearance and a view so stunning that Clark (of Lewis and Clark) wrote after visiting Tillamook, “I behold the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed.” One look at the views from the higher vantage points and you’ll immediately see why he was so amazed with the beauty of Tillamook. 

There’s plenty to do around Tillamook, but the most popular activities are hiking the trails around the Head and accessing the bluff itself (on foot only) from the Indian Beach pathway. Note that hiking the trails towards the bluff can be difficult and is not recommended for beginners. Always be sure to assess hiking conditions before you start off to ensure a safer and happier hiking trip.

See the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, nicknamed “Terrible Tilly” is a deactivated lighthouse located 1.2 miles offshore of Tillamook Head. Sitting 133 feet above sea level atop a 1 acre large piece of basalt, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is a local legend. Several lives were lost in the process of surveying and constructing the lighthouse, which took 575 days of labor to build. Lit for the first time in January, 1881, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was replaced by a red whistle buoy in September 1957.

6. Visit the Clatsop County Historical Society Buildings

Courtesy of Clatsop County Historical Society

If you’re ready to take in some Seaside history that doesn’t have to do with Lewis and Clark, the Clatsop County Historical Society Buildings have three public venues that are perfect for learning more about local history: The Flavel House, built in 1884, which lets visitors explore a Victorian-era style home; the Heritage Museum, which has unique exhibitions about the history of the local area; the Uppertown Firefighter’s Museum, a museum dedication to tracing the history of firefighters in the region. Most of these historical buildings are open year round, but be sure to check before you visit because they can sometimes close certain weekdays. 

7. Enjoy the Wildlife at the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

If you love wildlife, then you can’t pass up a visit to the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. This wildlife habitat and species refuge was established in 1969 and since then has been operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. If you love birds, you’re in luck: Jewell Meadows is famous for an abundance of local bird species, which makes it a popular birdwatching destination. But the most memorable sight at Jewell Meadows is the Roosevelt elk; over 200 elk regularly call the park home from November through April.

8. Go Kayaking

Seaside Oregon is a great place for kayaking experts and beginners alike! Those without much experience on the water will enjoy paddling through the calm ponds and rivers of Seaside, taking in the local wildlife, plants, and natural scenery. Depending on the time of day and season, you may even spot a bald eagle!

For those who are a bit more experienced in a kayak, there’s no thrill like ocean kayaking! Start in a river and experience the rush of breaking through the mouth out into the Pacific Ocean, or paddle up and down the coast to your heart’s desire – there’s no wrong way to kayak the Oregon coast!

Some of our favorite places to rent kayaks in Seaside, Oregon:

9. Go Biking

One of the best ways to explore a beach town like Seaside, Oregon is to get out of your car and hop on a good old-fashioned bicycle! Ride down the historic ocean promenade and feel the breeze in your hair, or pedal your way around the ice cream shops and boutiques. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could even rent a beach bicycle and take a cruise down the sand – talk about a beautiful way to get some exercise!

While renting a traditional bike can be fun, we definitely recommend looking into renting a Surrey! A Surrey is a popular 4-wheeled bike that can accommodate 2, 4, 6, or even 8 people with room to store personal items! You’ll need all of the help you can get, as these require some serious pedal power to keep moving! As long as you have a good partner to help you, Surreys are a fun, comfortable, and relaxing way to experience Seaside! Add in some extra horsepower from energetic kids, and you might even be able to get away with not pedaling at all!

*Please note, Surreys are not permitted for use on the Promenade

Some of our favorite places to rent bikes in Seaside, Oregon:

  • Wheel Fun Rentals – Offers bikes, scooters, Surreys (single, double and triple), golf carts, kid trailers, mopeds, and more.
  • Prom Bike Shop – Offers bikes, Surreys, trikes, and more.

Things to Do in Seaside for Kids

There are plenty of fun things to do for younger travelers in Seaside. Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting things to do in Seaside for kids:

Visit Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Seaside for families because of its relatively calm atmosphere, even on crowded days. Best of all, there are restaurants and shops nearby, so after the kids have had their fun in the sun, you can all head out for lunch!

Take a Spin at Seaside Carousel Mall

Photo courtesy of the Seaside Carousel Mall

The Seaside Carousel Mall is a quaint mall based around a full size, historical working carousel. The mall has 20 different shops and a food court, but the main attraction for kids is the colorful, fun carousel experience that will surely put a smile on their face.

Funland Arcade Corner

Funland, open since 1931, is a Seaside landmark for families with children. Funland features a host of exciting attractions for children, including but not limited to: the largest arcade on the North Oregon coast; skee ball, air hockey, pinball; bumper cars; and so much more. There is an onsite pizza place for parents and kids to enjoy a slice while waiting to get back to the arcade games.

Things to Do in Seaside During the Winter

While many people visit Seaside during the late spring and summer months, Seaside is truly a place that can be enjoyed year round. If you do decide to visit in the winter, you’ll want to partake in some of the best attractions that Seaside has to offer during these colder months.

Visit Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park has stunning views year round, and you can take in some pretty unique sights if you visit during the winter. Ecola State Park has a beautiful beach that is perfect for afternoon or evening strolls, and if you care to take a hike, get up to Ecola Point and you’ll see some of the most spectacular views that Seaside has to offer. There are camping facilities available, but check to make sure that they are open during the weeks you are wanting to attend before you make plans.

Take a Look Inside the Camp 18 Museum

The Camp 18 Museum is one of the most unique museums around. This outdoor museum highlights the history of logging and you can view plenty of vintage and antique logging equipment, each explained by a helpful tour guide. There is even an antique railroad log car on display. The museum is open during the winter season, so it is a perfect choice when you want to take in some logging history without the usual crowds of the busier summer months.

Head Downtown

Downtown Seaside is a perfect combination of history, shopping, and great local experiences for both visitors and locals. Downtown Seaside has everything from the Gilbert Historic District to local shops offering art, home goods, and everything in between. Walk along the downtown shopping district and when you get hungry, check out any of the downtown restaurants, especially those that offer fresh seasonal seafood dishes. The downtown district is perfect for winter visits since it’s not as crowded and you can get a better feel for the true culture of Seaside. 

Things to Do in Seaside When It Rains

Seaside is there for visitors rain or shine, but there are some attractions you’d rather avoid when the weather decides to turn sour. If the sky is overcast and already drizzling on your day, then check out these great things to do in Seaside when it rains.

Visit the Aquarium

The Seaside Aquarium is one of the oldest aquariums in the world; it was first established in 1937, and since then has been a cornerstone of the region through its unique exhibits and popular animals. The Seaside Aquarium is fun for the whole family and features exhibits such as touch tanks, discovery centers, as well as Seaside Harbor seals that always put a smile on visitor’s faces. The entire aquarium is an indoor exhibit, so you won’t have to worry about getting wet!

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

If the rain has you feeling blue, don’t fret: get your spirits soaring with a little sugar indulgence at the popular Seaside Candyman shop. This is one of the largest candy shops in the region, and has everything a sugar-lover could dream of, including: 180 different flavors of mouth-watering salt water taffy; 68 flavors of jelly beans; 33 different types of old fashioned candy sticks; and over a hundred other options for sugar-seekers. 

Seaside Historical Society Museum

The Seaside Historical Society Museum is the perfect one-stop museum for any rainy day. This charming museum tells the entire story of Seaside all in one multi-room exhibition, starting with the earliest Native American residents of Seaside all the way through the development of Seaside as one of the first resort cities in the area. The exhibitions include artifacts, antique photographs, and much more to help visitors get a better understanding of the history of Seaside. If you’re itching for more history, head next door to the Butterfield Cottage, a renovated historical cottage designed to give you a taste of what life was like in Seaside in 1912.

Whatever you decide to do in Seaside—whether it’s indulging in local restaurants, taking a stroll at the Prom, or taking in the history that has helped make Seaside famous—you’ll be sure to create memories that you will never forget.

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