Seaside has been one of the Northwest’s most popular recreation destinations for over a century. And it’s not hard to see why: Seaside’s spectacular ocean views, miles of public beach, forested setting, mild climate and year-round outdoor activities. Whether you want to use feet, wheels, paddle or shovel, Seaside can keep you active 365 days a year.
Hikers can explore lush Northwest rainforest just minutes from downtown. There are options for hikers of all skill levels. The closest trail to Seaside proper, and one of the most popular, is The Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail. Access is at the parking lot at the entrance to the Elmer Feldenheimer Forest Reserve. The trail follows the western edge of the headland, through thick coastal forest south to Ecola State Park.
The pathway is well-marked, and there are maps and historical keys at the trailhead. Rainy season can make the trail muddy, and it is not unusual to have to occasionally traverse downed tree limbs a few times along the way. Spring and summer bring drier, easier walking conditions. Overall, the trail is a fairly easy climb, offering plentiful views of both ocean and forest along the way.
The region offers several other world class hikes within easy driving distance of Seaside: Fort to Sea Trail from Fort Clatsop National Monument, Saddle Mountain in the Coast Range off Highway 26, and Oswald West State Park just 20 minutes south of Seaside. “Seaside and the entire North Oregon Coast are fairly temperate, which make for an ideal outdoor setting, especially for active individuals,” said Jon Rahl, director of tourism marketing for the Seaside Visitor’s Bureau. “The lack of extremes lends itself towards year-round activities.”
If you want to see a different side of this coastal town, consider kayaking. Seaside’s plentiful waterways provide a different perspective for kayakers to explore. For more experienced kayakers, there is the additional opportunity of ocean kayaking and the thrill of paddling through the breaking surf of the Pacific.
If you are a beginner, a quiet paddle along Seaside’s rivers and ponds is smooth and stress-free. It provides expanded opportunities to view native shoreline birds in their natural habitat, including blue herons, bald eagles, ducks and geese. “Our waterways offer easy access via kayak and with more than 300 species of birds in the area,” Rahl said.
Prefer your adventure on two wheels? Grab a water bottle, strap on your helmet and peddle through the bikeways of Seaside’s forests and flatlands. The beauty and panorama of Seaside is easy to enjoy on a bike, and this option is often overlooked. “Few locals have even experienced some of the great biking trails in the area,” Rahl said.
Local bike routes include options for different personal travel styles and equipment. They range from leisurely peddles to more strenuous adventures. Whatever your experience or enthusiasm level, there is a trail suited for you.
The eight-mile Seaside Bike Trail is a nice sampler of the best of the area. Beginning at the Visitor’s Bureau, it offers an easy-to-navigate trail that combines highlights such as the Seaside Estuary and the Prom. “The city is very flat, so nearly any ability can pedal the prom or the side streets,” Rahl said. Bikers seeking a more challenging route can navigate the 30-mile loop between Seaside and Fort Clatsop.
Digging for razor clams is an excellent way to experience coastal life while connecting with friends and family. Seaside offers the opportunity to put on some waders and get face-to-face with one of the best activities the North Oregon Coast has to offer.
The broad sandy beaches in Seaside and the surrounding area offer the most productive razor clam digging along the Oregon Coast. More razor clams are dug from the 18 miles of sandy beaches from Clatsop Spit to Seaside than from all the rest of Oregon’s beaches combined. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website states that “Clatsop beaches have the most stable razor clam populations. Because of beach stability, 95 percent of Oregon’s razor clam digging occurs here.”
Before you go clamming, there are three things you will need: a license, knowledge of current rules and the appropriate equipment, usually a clam gun and a narrow-bladed clam shovel. Everyone 14 years of age and older is required to have a valid shellfish license. The daily razor clam limit per person is the first 15 clams. Any clam you dig up is part of your daily limit, regardless of size or condition.
With the razor clam season generally open from Oct. 1 to early July, there is plenty of time to dig in. Seasonal closures - July 15 to Sept. 30 - on Clatsop beaches are in place to protect juvenile clams, which are most vulnerable at those times.
Whatever your idea of outdoor recreation includes, it is undoubtedly available in Seaside. “The playful nature of Seaside’s endless recreational options makes it a perfect fit for everyone who enjoys the outdoors,” Rahl said. “It’s the reason that the Oregon Coast is such a sought out locale for fun.”