As one of the oldest tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest, the small resort city of Seaside, Oregon, is a fun place for families or for the young at heart. Located on the Oregon Coast, Seaside is about an hour and a half hour drive from Portland. Seaside attractions include a huge sandy beach, lots of opportunities for play, a 1920s-era promenade, and tasty treats of all kinds. From spending the day at a classic arcade to strolling leisurely along the beach to a 19th-century lighthouse, there's no shortage of great ways to spend your vacation in Seaside, Oregon.
One of the most popular outdoor attractions in Seaside is the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean you'll find at the historic oceanfront Promenade. Guests can stroll, jog, bike, or skate along this 1.5-mile paved promenade and enjoy great people-watching and beach views along the way.
You'll also find the Seaside Aquarium and the landmark automobile turnaround at the promenade, the latter of which includes a statue of Lewis and Clark commemorating the end of their long journey to the Pacific Ocean. The historic Promenade and automobile turnaround are both free to access and welcome guests to bring along their dogs, strollers, and wheelchairs.
Get Outdoors and Play
The beach and waters in and around Seaside provide abundant opportunity for outdoor fun. Whether you want to bike or skate the Promenade or fly a kite at the beach, you'll find plenty of ways to enjoy some fun in the sun at the waterfront, but there are also many other outdoor adventures in and around Seaside.
If you're a fan of golf, you can spend the day on the green at either Seaside Golf Club or the Gearhart Golf Links, but if you'd rather leisurely paddle on one of the many waterways in Seaside on a kayak, you can book an adventure with Sunset Empire Park and Recreation, which leads group floats several times a year. Other outdoor adventures include learning how to surf from a certified instructor at the beach and hiking Tillamook Head, among others.
Discover Amusement Parks and Games
There are a number of fun arcades located both in Seaside's central shopping district and around town. Skeeball, bumper cars, a carousel, pinball and video games, air hockey, miniature golf, and go-karts are among the available activities.
At Funland Entertainment Center (201 Broadway), you can find a full range of games and activities (including bumper cars) as well as a cafe serving pizza, and just a little further down Broadway, Interstate Amusement Company (110 Broadway) offers classic 1950s bumper cars, miniature golf, and a tilt-a-whirl ride. A few miles south of Seaside on Highway 101, you can also visit Captain Kid Amusement Park (85911 U.S. 101) for a full day of family fun.
Shop for the Perfect Gift or Treat
Whether you're looking to refresh your beachside wardrobe or you're looking for the perfect souvenir to take home to your loved ones, the shops in Seaside offer visitors plenty of opportunities to find some great local crafts, fresh candy, and unique clothing.
You can watch candy makers pull and wrap fresh taffy and other handmade sweets at Phillips Candy Kitchen (217 Broadway) and then choose from a huge selection of fresh and packaged candy, including old-time favorites like hand-dipped caramel corn. Another fun shopping adventure can be found nearby in the Seaside Carousel Mall at Under the Big Top (300 Broadway), a store full of toys, games, puzzles, and novelties that make great gifts for kids of all ages.
If you're looking to take home a piece of art, the Oregon Gallery (15 Broadway) offers a selection of photography and gift items including poster-sized prints of some of the breathtaking scenery found in and around Seaside. On the other hand, if you'd rather spend the afternoon flying a kite but forgot to pack your own, Above It All Kites (19 Broadway) in downtown Seaside is stocked with all sorts of flying flags, banners, windsocks, and kites to purchase.
Located on the Promenade, this privately-owned aquarium occupies a former natatorium. Open daily starting at 9 a.m., the Seaside Aquarium (200 North Prom) welcomes guests year-round to discover a variety of unique exhibits including the famed Feed the Seals attraction where kids of all ages can purchase fishy treats to give these creatures throughout the day.
The Seaside Aquarium also features a variety of touch tanks, where kids can touch such creatures as sea anemones, sea stars, and sea urchins. Live and preserved marine specimens are among the other exhibits inside this modest aquarium. Admission is required to attend but special family discount packages are available for up to six guests.
Seaside has some interesting local history: It was one of the Northwest's first resort towns, is part of the region the Clatsop people call home, and was where Lewis and Clark expedition members established a salt-making camp during the winter of 1805.
If you're looking to learn more about the unique origin of this popular destination, The Seaside Historical Society Museum offers interesting exhibits, artifacts, and photographs on these topics. Exhibits at the museum include topics like the Native American history, the history of logging, Seaside's historic hotels, a scale model diorama of the city in 1899, and an exhibit dedicated to the now-collapsed Pacific Pier.
Although the museum is relatively small, you can spend some more time exploring nearby at the adjacent Butterfield Cottage, a rooming house for summer visitors recreating the early 1900s in Seaside.
Attend Special Event and Festivals
Seaside, Oregon, hosts a number of special events and festivals throughout the year. Depending on what time you visit, you can enjoy festive holiday celebrations, car shows, craft beer festivals, and even beach volleyball tournaments. Here are some annual favorites:
- Pouring at the Coast Festival: A day of craft beers from nearly 30 breweries presented by the Seaside Chamber of Commerce and Seaside Brewing Company
- Spring Downtown Wine Walk: An annual celebration of local vineyards that takes place on the third Saturday in May
- Seaside Muscle 'n' Chrome: A car show that brings dozens of classic automobiles to the Promenade each June
- Miss Oregon Pageant: The official selection of the state's representative in the Miss America Pageant takes place in June each year
- Independence Day Parade and Fireworks: On the Fourth of July, spend the full day celebrating with a parade and fireworks show over the Promenade
- Seaside Beach Run: Several races including a 5 and 10-K run take place each July to raise money for local charities
- Beach Volleyball Tournament: Over 1,000 teams compete each August in this annual beach contest, which is known as the largest amateur event of its kind in the world
- Hood to Coast Relay: This 200-mile race in August stretches from Mount Hood to the finish line at the beach in Seaside, which is celebrated with a beer garden, live music, awards, and plenty of food