Carolina: Cruising Past 70: TRAVEL AWAITS: The Best Things To Do In Seaside, Oregon: Where To Stay, Eat, And Play

Friday, July 29, 2022

TRAVEL AWAITS: The Best Things To Do In Seaside, Oregon: Where To Stay, Eat, And Play

full article was published in Travel Awaits on June 11, 2020

There was a year when we wanted a vacation from months of RVing. We also wanted to make our wedding anniversary more special than usual that year. As we were coming down from Vancouver, we whose the romantic town of Seaside, Oregon to do that. It is complete with beach fun, awesome scenery, fantastic shopping, and amazing history. There were two days of drizzles, three days of partly cloudy weather, seven days of strong winds, and two days of sun but it was all worth it. It was not surprising. Having lived in Seattle for three years, we were familiar with this kind of weather. It’s part and parcel of life in the Pacific Northwest.

Things to Do in Seaside

Seaside is known as the Jewel of the Oregon Coast. A town of Clatsop County, it has a small population well under 7,000. But it is in the middle of a historically important area, the last stop of the two and a half year, 8,000-mile Lewis and Clark Expedition that led to the doubling of the size of the US. Blessed with a romantic name that comes from Seaside House, a historic summer resort built in the 1870s by the railroad magnate Ben Halladay, the town also hasn outstanding beach, lots of shopping, and many beautiful spots to spend hours with your camera in tow. It was a perfect vacation for us.

Where We Stayed

We had enough Club Wyndham timeshare points to stay at a spacious one-bedroom unit at the four-star resort called WorldMark Seaside. Also available for booking by the public, it is recognized as one of the state’s best waterfront locations. It was a great choice and it became our wonderful home that’s not on wheels for a full week.

There is a large pool area that looks outside to the huge and expansive beach. It is surrounded by several hot tubs where we spent many hours of relaxation. We also frequented the game room where we enjoyed playing table tennis. But the Fitness Center saw us every day for our daily exercise regimen. At the end of the day, however, we thoroughly treasured our drinks and appetizers at our balcony. It offered such a great view of the town, the nearby hills, and the beach and the ocean. Equipped with a kitchen, we bought a lot of seafood and other supplies at the grocery and prepared most of our breakfasts and dinners.

Unique Beach Scenes

It was also tremendous luck that the American Kite Fliers’ Association’s 39th Annual Kite Festival was going on during our stay. The competing kites were quite a sight as we luxuriated at the hot tubs beside the pool at WorldMark. The beach and sky was a wide canvass littered with those giant colorful “beings” that danced to the hum of the ocean and the songs of the winds.

More at the Seaside Convention Hall

We even got a huge bonus because some competitions of the festival were held indoor at the Seaside Convention Hall.  That is where we got the unique opportunity to see some humongous kites up close as they competed and while lined up for registration. Some of the excited participants even schooled us on the basics of kite flying competitions.

Where to Have a Special Dinner

The most important thing we had to decide was where we were going to dine to celebrate our anniversary. We went around town to scout for the special place, comparing menus and ambience. We were ecstatic when we found the  Mo’s Seafood and Chowder at the ground floor of Shilo Inns Seaside Oceanfront. It had those huge picture windows for scenic dining by the sea. The Seaside Promenade is the center of the beach drive that spans Seaside Beach. World Mark Seaside is just to the left of it, facing the sea, and Shilo Inn is just to the right.

The Seaside Promenade

After dinner, we walked the Seaside Promenade together with many other strollers. At the end of the Promenade was the Seaside Turnaround. That is a small pedestrian rotunda that reaches out to the shoreline and marks the actual spot of the historic end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Their statue aptly stands at the middle and friendly strollers took our souvenir photo with them.

Where to Shop

Shopping is one of the activities I love. We started at the Seaside Carousel Mall in downtown Seaside. It was built in 1985 on the site of the old Bungalow Dance Hall. This Hall was built in 1920 for the big-time bands of the era. It ran for 20 years and had greats like Bing Crosby and Glen Miller perform there. Seaside was the place to be during those days.

The Mall today is full of crafts, local products, and food outlets aside from fun things to do like riding the Old Carousel that is right in the middle. It is open from 9am to 9pm. My husband thinks riding a carousel is one of the most romantic things in the world so, of course, we had to ride the grand old carousel.

But it was at the Seaside Outlet Mall where I found a lot of treasured items. Featuring outlets for 22 name brands, the stores were just starting to reopen It was at an Eddie Bauer store that I found a black light jacket on sale at a 70% discount. It has become a favorite of mine and is still in good use today. What surprised me most, however, was the multi-station recharging area near the Mall. It was the first time I saw such a thing for EVs.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Twenty minutes from our Resort stands the Fort Clatsop National Memorial. It was where Lewis and Clark were encamped in the winter of 1805-1806. This Memorial was later grouped with the other spots the duo explored around the vicinity. The whole area was then renamed the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. History will be recreated for you as you meet Sacagawea and wander through the historical replicas of the last stop of the two explorers’ historic Expedition.

Fort Stevens and Iredale Wreck (headline photo)

Just ten minutes north of the Park is Fort Stevens. It was built near the end of the American Civil War. It had such great infrastructure that it continued to be of very good use as an active military reservation protecting the Harbor all the way up to WWII. But it was the sailing ship Peter Iredale which ran aground at its beachhead in 1906 that has drawn tourists to the area. The Iredale Wreck was a great photo opportunity for me.

Tillamook Head

This is a lovely promontory that makes a steep rocky bluff on the ocean, approximately 1,200 ft. high. It was named after the Tillamook, a Salishan-speaking tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the coast around the area in the 19th century. In 1806, Clark led a team who traveled south from Fort Clatsop to harvest blubber from a beached whale in the area. That is the reason the area is now called Ecola State Park. Ecola is the word for big fish. And Tillamook has become a famous Oregon cheese brand.

Seaside Aquarium

Just after the Shilo Inn is the Seaside Aquarium. Privately owned, it was an indoor saltwater public bath in the 1920a with water pumped from the Pacific Ocean through a still visible pipe. In 1937 it became an aquarium, making it one of the oldest in the United States. In fact, it was the first to breed harbor seals in captivity. A more interesting fact is that during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a boat drifted from across the Pacific and washed up on the shores carrying trapped live fish. The remaining of these so-called tsunami fish are still on display in the Aquarium.

Seaside Museum and Historical Society

This small museum will take you back thousands of years through its many exhibits. If you allow at least an hour, then you can have the chance to go through Native American history of logging, historic hotels, the old Pacific pier, Turnaround Building, Broadway Billiards, railroad history, the Hall of Fame, and other more recent sections. Allow yourself at least an hour to get at least an overview.

But locals will tell you that nearby areas would add more connections to the area’s history and even more fantastic scenery. The historic city of Astoria with the Column and "Bridge to Nowhere” is just twenty minutes to the north of Fort Stevens. The scenic town of Cannon Beach with Haystack and the Needles is just fifteen minutes to the south of Tillamook Head.

Our week in Seaside, Oregon was such a welcome break from all our months of RVing. Our Anniversary that year became a special celebration. We had everything from history, to scenery, to shopping, and to beaches. The weather may not have been perfect but we had a wonderful place to stay in. Everything became a luxurious treat.



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  1. So lucky to see a kite festival during your stay in Seaside. Mo's Seafood and Chowder sounds delish. Definitely I want to visit Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. And of course, the captivating Tillamook Head can't be missed. I will spend more time there, trying to make beautiful pictures.

  2. Dinner at Mo’s Seafood and Chowder with those scenic windows overlooking the sea seems pretty amazing. I love eating seafood while observing the Ocean. The Seaside promenade and aquarium is something I really would consider doing when visiting Oregon.

  3. We will have to plan a visit to Seaside, Oregon the next time we are on the west coast. We could use a vacation with beach fun, awesome scenery, fantastic shopping, and amazing history. We too are used to the weather on the west coast and can work around that for a great time. I can see that this would be a great break from RVing.

  4. Sounds like a good number of attractions in this small town. Festivals are always fun ways to feel a part of a community, so lucky you were able to experience the kite festival. I especially liked seeing the rock bluff and to learn of the history behind it is interesting.

  5. Great that your visit to Seaside Oregon coincided with the Annual Kite Festival of the American Kite Fliers’ Association. I would love to experience this one day. The colorful seaside promenade looks like a great photo spot!

  6. My sister lives in Oregon. I will have to ask her if she's been there. Although I'm not much of a shopper, I have a thing for carousels so I would have to check out that mall. I also aspire to travel the Lewis and Clark trail so hopefully I will get a chance to visit that town eventually.

  7. I've always wanted to go to Seaside Oregon to the Tillamook head. What a fantastic view!

  8. The Seaside Museum sounds like a fun one! I also have a Wyndham timeshare, and this looks like a fun option for a stay. I'll have to check into it. It's a lovely area!

  9. Seaside sounds amazing! But I'm also a big sucker for any rugged coastline!

  10. Seaside in Oregon looks like a spot that we need to plan to visit. And the WorldMark Seaside a great base to explore from. We too would buy lots of fresh seafood. And take many strolls along the Seaside Promenade.

  11. I would love to explore this region some day since there is so much to see and do with all these small communities, gorgeous landscape and delicious local food to try in the area. I love the idea of seeing a kite festival, that sounds fun!

  12. This trip sounds like a lovely break from RVing and a special way to celebrate your anniversary. (Happy Anniverary!) As someone who loves learning the history of a place, I'm fascinated with the history of Seaside, Oregon. I would love to see the end of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, and tour the park. I especially love that the Native American history of logging has been included in the museum, too. This looks like such a beautiful place to visit!

    1. Yes, Seadidevis a hood place to relax and enjoy the sites!

  13. Happy to learn more about your shopping experience in Seaside. I love shopping too so this is a big plus if a shopping mall is accessible.

    Your husband is so sweet and I agree that riding a carousel is romantic. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience in Seaside. We'd love to visit soon. Everything I love is in this place.

  14. I would love to visit Oregon around the Annual Kite Festival. What a pretty site to walk along the beach and see the amazing kites floating by in the sky.

  15. Oregon is one of my favorite states, but I haven't had a chance to see Seaside yet. The last time the weather was so bad, the downpour was so huge that we skipped the stop there. But I hope I'll be back again. I especially want to see this shipwreck and the Seaside Carousel Mall. Also, Fort Clatsop National Memorial is on my list.


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