Whether you're interested in spectacular scenery, discovering the region's history or visiting remarkable natural areas, Seaside makes a great base for exploring the Northwest coast.
Take a Pacific vista tour and enjoy dramatic views of the coast, visit quaint coastal communities and experience regional attractions. You can walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, taking in scenes described in their historical journals, tour area lighthouses or visit regional museums. Several state parks and natural areas are a short drive away, offering access to the moss-draped forest, beautiful beaches, sparkling bays and wild rivers where you will find great hiking trails, see wildlife, enjoy world-class bird watching or discover your own beach paradise.
Ecola State Park & Haystack Rock
Just 10 minutes south of Seaside, the beach community of Cannon Beach is known for its many art galleries and surrounding natural wonders. On the beach, Haystack Rock rises 235 feet above the shoreline, with fascinating tidepools at its base and observable puffins and seabirds nesting in spring and summer. At the north end of Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park. Take camera and binoculars to the viewpoint with views encompassing Crescent Beach, Bird Rocks, the town of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. The park offers several miles of hiking trails and vantage points for great bird watching or observing seasonal gray whale migrations. Ecola State Park is a day use facility and a fee is charged for entry.
Pacific Vista Drive
Unforgettable vistas can be enjoyed at several waysides and viewpoints within 20 miles as you drive south of Seaside on Highway 101. Just south of Cannon Beach, a turnout at Silver Point offers views of the ocean, Haystack Rock and Tillamook Head. Farther on, you'll find the Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area beach access. A few minutes farther south investigate Hug Point where there is beach access, along with caves, a waterfall and a marvelous view. Just past the Arch Cape tunnel is Oswald West State Park, with viewpoints and hiking trails through scenic moss-covered forest to Short Sands Beach and rugged Cape Falcon. If you're not prone to vertigo, stop at several turnouts along the edge of Neahkahnie Mountain offering spectacular views of the coastline from hundreds of feet above the crashing surf.
Astoria & Columbia River History
The historic seaport of Astoria on the Columbia River is the oldest United States settlement west of the Rockies. Located 18 miles north of Seaside, Astoria has a riverfront walk and a restored trolley that follows the historic waterfront district. Stop off at the Columbia River Maritime Museum to see excellent maritime displays and tour a real Coast Guard ship. Visit the Flavel House, a well-preserved Victorian mansion of a former sea captain. Follow the signs on Coxcomb Hill to the Astoria Column for fantastic views of the city, Youngs Bay and the mighty Columbia. Follow in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center just south of Astoria. Near Hammond, southwest of Astoria, Fort Stevens State Park, features the remains of the 1906 shipwreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach, a Clatsop Indian longhouse replica, historic military fortifications that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River and a military museum. The park also offers miles of biking and hiking trails.
Cape Disappointment & Lighthouses
The Northwest's lighthouses are inspiring symbols of the region's rich maritime history. About an hour drive from Seaside, on the north side of the Columbia River, is Cape Disappointment, where two lighthouses mark the entrance to the river. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (1856) is one of the Northwest's oldest structures and nearby is the North Head Lighthouse built in 1898. Both lighthouses are located in Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco, Washington. Also located within the park is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center recounting the journey of the Corps of Discovery.
Tillamook & Three Capes
About an hour drive south of Seaside, you can visit the home of Tillamook Cheese. The Tillamook County Creamery features an extensive visitor center where you can learn about the history of the 100-year-old brand and sample famous Tillamook cheese, ice cream and fudge. If you'd like to make a full day's trip of it, head west to the Three Capes Scenic Route, where visitors can see the lighthouse at Cape Meares State Park, find day use beach access and hiking trails at beautiful Cape Lookout State Park and continue south to the sculpted sandstone headland of Cape Kiwanda before returning to highway 101. Just south of Tillamook is the Tillamook Air Museum.
Mountains & Meadows
About 18 miles east of Seaside is the Saddle Mountain State Natural Area off Highway 26, known for its rugged trail to the top of Saddle Mountain, offering expansive views of the Northwest. Spring and early summer seasons display colorful and diverse wildflowers, many unique to this area. Another side trip of interest is the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. The open pastures border a state highway, offering dependable viewing of herds of Roosevelt Elk during winter and spring. The main meadow is a year-round refuge. The wildlife area has two paved parking areas, four viewing areas and interpretive signs. Best chances of spotting herds are just after daylight and again in the early evening.
- Published in: Seaside Visitor Guide Winter 2010
- Click to see other items about: Seaside
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