Seaside, Oregon, tucked in the northern corner of the state, is a perfect place to have it all. A stroll on the promenade will acquaint you with the charming beachside town, and the eateries will fuel you for the adventures that await.
From excellent surf to epic hiking trails and historical forts to incredible wildlife, here are some of the best things to do in Seaside, Oregon!
Things to Do in Seaside, Oregon
Table of Contents
- Things to Do in Seaside, Oregon
- 1. Be a Bum at Seaside Beach
- 2. Hike the Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail
- 3. Stroll Beside the Ocean on the Seaside Promenade Walk
- 4. Discover Fort Stevens State Park
- 5. Explore Hug Point State Park
- 6. Grab a Beer at Sisu Brewing Company and Times Theater & Public House
- 7. Visit Ecola State Park
- 8. Kayak Along Seaside’s Scenic Waterways
- 9. Shred Some Waves at Various Spots Around Seaside
- 10. See One of Oregon’s Most Famous Landmarks at Cannon Beach
- 11. Enjoy the Peace and Quiet of Necanicum Estuary Natural History Park
- 12. Camp on the Beach at Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site
- 13. Reconnect With Nature at Cullaby Lake County Park
- 14. Take to the Water at Quatat Park
- 15. Watch for Wildlife
- 16. Check out the Rocks at Painted Rock Beach
- 17. Have a Chill Beach Day at Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site
- 18. Enjoy Some Family Time in Downtown Seaside
- 19. Indulge in Seaside’s Foodie Scene
- 20. Marvel at the View From the Summit of Saddle Mountain
- Accommodation & Camping Around Seaside, Oregon
- More Oregon Coast Towns
✋ HOLD UP! Don’t Forget…
You need some wheels! It’s nearly impossible to get around the USA and check out the best adventures without a car! Here are our top recommendations…
1. Be a Bum at Seaside Beach
When the weather cooperates, one of the best things to do in Seaside is to beach bum.
The town’s beach is a wide, soft, sandy expanse—perfect for all those classic beach day activities like sun tanning, sand combing, sand castle building, and just relaxing! To the left, there are even some great mountain views to keep your eyes entertained.
There are also fewer crowds here than at most other much-loved Oregon beaches, so if you want to have a real Oregon beach day, this is a great spot for it. There are some good facilities like showers, picnic tables, and restrooms, so spend a few hours or the whole day bumming it!
2. Hike the Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail
Distance: 12.6 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 1350 feet
The Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is a 12.6-mile out-and-back trail. This incredible trail takes you all the way to Tillamook Head via Ecola State Park, starting at the car park of Indian Beach.
The path starts out wide and graveled, but before long, you’ll head into old-growth spruce and alder woods. The dramatic hike will take you all the way to the thousand-foot cliff of Tillamook Head, overlooking the craggy islands below.
Looking out to sea, you should be able to spot ‘Terrible Tilly,’ a lighthouse sitting on a rock just off the coast, getting its name from repeatedly getting hit by battering storms.
After getting your fill of the views from the cape’s tip, you could make the short detour to Clarks Point of View Viewpoint for a different perspective of the landscape.
3. Stroll Beside the Ocean on the Seaside Promenade Walk
More of a stroll than a hike, the promenade walk is still one of the most popular things to do in Seaside, Oregon. This longstanding favorite is a 1.5-mile paved walkway along the ocean, making for a lovely way to start the day or watch an evening’s sunset.
With the sea on one side and charming oceanfront cottages on the other, it is a picture-perfect place for a walk or cycle. Along the prom, there are many different places where you can access the beach and dunes.
The prom has been around since the 1920s and has been a popular town attraction since. There is parking close by and plenty of benches for you to enjoy a coffee from one of the many coffee shops. There are also many lodging options and places to grab a bite to eat.
4. Discover Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens is often described as one of Oregon’s best state parks, making it a must-see while visiting Seaside. The park is nestled in the northwest of the state, at the mouth of the Columbia River, and has enough to do and see to last at least a few days.
Spanning 4,300 acres, there is enough room for everyone. Two of the biggest human-made attractions in the park are the shipwreck that lies hauntingly on the beach and the primary military defense system on the Columbia.
When it comes to natural attractions, you’ll be spoilt for choice – it’s where the sea, forest, and river collide. Miles of trails wind their way around the forests, over towering dunes, and along the coast, and there is also a network of paved, mostly leveled-out biking trails for keen cyclists.
This also happens to be one of our favorite state parks to camp at; it’s huge, too!
READ MORE: Your Guide to Fort Stevens State Park
5. Explore Hug Point State Park
Hug Point is one of the most scenic spots on the Oregon Coast. Covering 43 acres, it is relatively small, but there is a lot packed into a small space.
One of the main attractions here is the beautiful seasonal waterfall that cascades right down onto the beach. With a bit of a scramble, you can reach the reservoir above.
The Pacific’s pounding waves have also carved out several explorable caves, cliffs, and tide pools, including the famous Haystack Rock you’ll see down the way.
Once you get hungry, hunker down at one of the picnic tables and grab a bite to eat before going off to explore the other things to do in Seaside, Oregon. We stop here for a good leg stretch every coastal road trip we take.
6. Grab a Beer at Sisu Brewing Company and Times Theater & Public House
Sisu Brewing Company is one of our favorite breweries in Oregon, and it’s one of the best things to do in Seaside!
The brewery is hidden away inside the old Times Theater, which has an old movie theater screen. While it’s definitely more of a place to eat and drink nowadays, the brewery still plays movies at 9 o’clock most nights, and during the day, it’s all about sports.
The food is great, and you can wash it down with a tasty lager (which is what the brewery specializes in). They also have other options, so it’s not just for light beer lovers. You can pick from movie theater-style seating or grab a regular table or a spot at the bar.
7. Visit Ecola State Park
Beautiful Ecola State Park perches dramatically on the edge of Tillamook Head and is a hiking and sightseeing Mecca. It is one of the most beautiful things to do in Seaside, Oregon, and one of our favorite state parks on the Oregon coast!
It is home to one of Oregon’s most famous viewpoints, overlooking the many beaches, coves, rock formations, and capes that run for many miles to the south.
There are tons of easy walking trails that provide access to yet more stunning vantage points, such as Tillamook Lighthouse, sitting on a lone rock just offshore.
In terms of hiking, the park contains an 8-mile stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail, and Indian Beach also connects to the 2.5-mile Clatsop Loop Trail.
8. Kayak Along Seaside’s Scenic Waterways
For those who love getting out on the water, the prime spot for kayaking near Seaside is on the Necanicum River. While on the water, you have a good chance of spotting some local wildlife, so watch out for elk, beaver, otters, and any number of migratory sea birds.
There’s another kayak launch at Broadway Park (one of the oldest in the city), but you’ll need to watch tide levels and they can get quite low. If you don’t have your own kayak, grab a rental at Quatat Marine Park in downtown Seaside, where there is also a public boat launch to get you down onto the water.
For those with a bit of kayaking experience, you can get an extra thrill by kayaking from the mouth of the river’s estuary into the Pacific’s roaring surf. It is such a fun thing to do in Seaside, Oregon, so hop onto the water and give it a go.
9. Shred Some Waves at Various Spots Around Seaside
Oregon’s north coast has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest, so it is no surprise that Seaside is a surfing hot spot and one of the most popular things to do in Seaside, Oregon. There are plenty of local surf shops that provide lessons, rentals, and wetsuits.
Big and stormy surf is often found here in the winter, whereas the surf is smaller and more gentle in the summer, providing opportunities for a range of experience levels.
Where you surf depends on your level of expertise. Beginners should start on Seaside Beach in front of Avenue U or Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park, while more experienced surfers can take on the waves at Indian Beach inside of Ecola State Park.
Seaside Cove is one of the most popular places for surfing here. Just beware of chilly temperatures (49-58 F), and be sure to bring a wetsuit or rent one from one of the Seaside surf shops. Even if you’re not surfing, this is a great place to go and watch the surfers and the sunset.
10. See One of Oregon’s Most Famous Landmarks at Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is one of Oregon’s most popular coastal destinations, and for good reason! The beach is well known for being one of the most stunning, with a diverse range of activities for all to enjoy.
Head out onto the sand for a nice gentle stroll, take a beach bike ride, take in the views, or even fly some kites if the conditions are right.
To the south, you should be able to spot Haystack Rock, standing proud at 235 feet tall. At the base of Haystack Rock, there is an assortment of tidal pools just waiting to be explored.
You can either explore these tidal pools on your own or take a trip with a guide. The rock and surrounding area are also home to a lot of seabirds, including Tufted Puffins.
11. Enjoy the Peace and Quiet of Necanicum Estuary Natural History Park
Get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Seaside at the Necanium Estuay National History Park. This is located inside the city, so you won’t actually have to go very far to feel worlds away from the crowds. We were here on a Saturday, and there was almost nobody here!
The park sits at the Necanicum River headwaters and is a prime example of Seaside’s thriving coastal environment. Many birds and other wildlife live in this area, so keep your eyes peeled as you wander.
You’ll have access to the beach, which is really cool when the tide goes out, and there’s also a viewing deck above the water that has some pretty great views.
12. Camp on the Beach at Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site
The Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site is a secluded beach with fantastic views located just a few miles north of Seaside. It’s a great spot for a chill afternoon stroll, clamming, and catching one of those famous Oregon Coast sunsets.
The main draw here is that you can drive on the beach and pitch a tent if you feel like staying overnight. It’s definitely a great place if you want to camp along the coast, but beware that the sand is pretty soft and you’ll likely need four-wheel-drive to make it in and out without any issues.
13. Reconnect With Nature at Cullaby Lake County Park
You’ve seen the ocean, you’ve seen a river. Now check out a lake while you’re in Seaside. This 165-acre park is perfect for outdoor lovers to spend an afternoon. There are trails, boat launches, and docks, and some great spots for fishing.
You can also go swimming (depending on the season, of course), play horseshoes, watch for wildlife like bald eagles, beavers, and a ton of waterfowl, and make use of the BBQ pits and picnic tables when you get hungry.
14. Take to the Water at Quatat Park
Quatat Park in Seaside is a lovely place to pass the time. Water-bound explorers can take to the helm of various watercraft, including kayaks, paddleboats, and swan boats. The beautiful waterways of the area have a lot to enjoy; in the summer, you may paddle past a park concert or view the blue or green herons that line the banks.
Stand up paddleboards or floating trikes are other options for exploring the waterways. The mellow waters and easy-to-load dock mean it is the perfect spot for beginners and families, making it one of the best things to do in Seaside, Oregon, for everyone.
15. Watch for Wildlife
Seaside is home to some pretty unique animals, and depending on the season, you might see anything from whales and puffins to elk and sea lions.
The state parks are some of the best places to watch for wildlife in Seaside. There are dedicated whale-watching stations for the grey whale migration between mid-December and mid-January (and again in late march), and if you’re lucky you might spot these magnificent creatures in the off-season as well.
No matter what time of year you visit Seaside, Oregon, you are sure to spot some wildlife. Lots of colorful and interesting sealife fills the tidal pools at low tide, and seals and sea lions can sometimes be spotted off the shore from the beaches or the coastal rocks’ viewpoints.
Bird enthusiasts should head to the Necanicum estuary and watch the skies for eagles, or visit Haystack Rock and look for Tufted Puffins (April through July are your best months to catch them hanging around).
Heading slightly inland, herds of Roosevelt Elk graze on the coastal meadows and emerge from the dense clutches of the rainforest. Elk are most often spotted in the early mornings or late evenings, and some of the most common spots they are sighted are the meadows at Ecola State Park, the grassy areas of Les Shirley Park, and along the north side of Ecola Creek.
16. Check out the Rocks at Painted Rock Beach
One of the more unique things to do in Seaside, Oregon, is to check out the rocks at Painted Rock Beach. These are stones that people have actually picked up and decorated, and it’s pretty fun to see what people have painted.
Of course, it’s not just the rocks that draw people to the beach. The scenery is also stunning, with Tillamook Head overlooking the beach and driftwood covering the shoreline.
You can reach Painted Rock Beach by hopping on the gravel footpath west of Ocean Vista Dr. and Avenue W, or drive to Avenue U or Seadie Cove and walk from there.
17. Have a Chill Beach Day at Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site
Ditch the crowds and have a chill beach day at Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site. You’ll have to drive about 20 minutes south of Seaside to reach this spot, which is why it’s never crowded!
There’s a small parking lot off the main highway, and there are few facilities (but you will at least find some toilets next to the parking lot). There’s a short trail down to the beach from the parking area, and from there you’ll have a long, wide beach with fine off-white sand to enjoy.
This is a great spot for tidepooling as there are some rocks along the shoreline. Just be careful where you explore – you don’t want to get stuck somewhere when the tide comes back in! There are a few nooks and crannies that offer shade, but overall, this is a pretty exposed area, so pack accordingly!
18. Enjoy Some Family Time in Downtown Seaside
If you’re traveling with youngsters in tow, head to downtown Seaside for some fun for all ages.
You can head to Wheel Fun Rentals and rent surries (which is like a multi-person bike cart), tandem bikes and other cool gear. This is also fun for a group of friends – no kids required ;).
Next, head to Interstate Amusement Co. Inc. and ride bumper cars, take a turn on the tilt-a-whirl, or play a round of mini golf. There’s also a hotdog stand here to complete the amusement park vibe.
The Seaside Carousel Mall is another one of the best things to do in Seaside for families. This cute “mall” is made up of a bunch of shops surrounding a mini merry-go-round, and there is also laser tag and an arcade. Seriously this is every kids fantasy.
19. Indulge in Seaside’s Foodie Scene
The town of Seaside is full of places to eat and drink, especially when it comes to seafood. Favorites include locally smoked salmon and arguably the best clam chowder in the world.
For some of the best fish and chips you’ll ever try, head to Grizzly Tuna. We shared a large portion (about 5 pieces) and it was nice and meaty inside and perfectly crisp outside.
The town has long been known for street foods such as elephant ears, saltwater taffy, and ice cream, but as a whole, the eclectic dining scene really is flourishing. Although seafood is commonplace, the town also offers plenty of traditional American food, Italian restaurants, various pubs, bakeries, and ethnic restaurants, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
20. Marvel at the View From the Summit of Saddle Mountain
Distance: 4.7 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 1,794 Feet
Trek up Saddle Mountain and enjoy some breathtaking views along the way. It is quite a climb, but the views from the top make it all worth it. The good news is that the trail is pretty easy to follow and is in good condition, with some additional exploring available at the summit if you still feel up for it.
This is the highest point in the northern half of the Coast Range, with sweeping 360-degree vistas. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St Helens, Mount Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Jefferson, plus of course, the ocean.
TIP: The trail begins in the campsite area near the parking lot. Look for a paved trail!
Before long, the paved trail will end, and you’ll enter a lush forest filled with red alder trees, Douglas fir, and Sitka spruce. As you switchback up the hillside, you’ll pass some vast, house-sized boulders, and after a lot of climbing, you’ll begin to see what this hike’s hype is all about.
Epic views await you at a viewpoint wrapped by a metal railing. Congrats – you’ve made it to the 3,283-foot summit! Now, catch your breath and soak up the views before you head back down.
Accommodation & Camping Around Seaside, Oregon
There are plenty of choices, but state park campgrounds aren’t as abundant in this area of the Oregon Coast, so here are two of our favorites/the closest to Seaside plus some holiday homes and hotels for those needing a bit more than a parking spot for the night!
Sea Glass Inn – This spacious studio has been renovated for a bright and airy feel. There’s a small kitchenette, dining room, and a fireplace in the bedroom. You’ll be a short walk from the Promenade and downtown Seaside.
RiverWalk Cozy Condo – This spacious two-bedroom condo is a great choice for groups or families, with room for up to five people. It features a large modern kitchen, flat-screen TV, and balcony with views of the Necancium River. It’s pet friendly too.
Inn at the Shore – This small hotel sits at the south end of the Seaside promenade, with views out over the Pacific Ocean and Tillamook Head. All rooms come with a balcony, and the large suites include a kitchen. The hotel is dog-friendly so your pet can join you!
Fort Stevens State Park – Fort Stevens State Park has the largest campground in the Oregon State Park system. It has more than 500 campsites for you to choose from, with 11 deluxe cabins and 15 yurts if you’re looking for a more relaxing camping experience.
Nehalem Bay State Park – Nehalem Bay has a pretty large campground, with 265 electrical sites with water. There are also 18 yurts, 9 of which are pet friendly.
Oregon native and explorer at heart. Loves tackling expeditions around the world and drinking a good beer at the end of the day. PNW obsessed, VW nerd, and surf or snow riding fanatic.