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Seaside/Gearhart, Oregon Travel Guide Popular
Last Updated: Jul-02-2014, Hits: 9,094, Rating: 4.5, Reviews: 2, Votes: 2 Bookmark and Share
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Seaside/Gearhart, Oregon Travel Guide Restaurants (35)
Hotels and Lodging (29)
Bars and Nightlife (12)
Attractions (9)
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Oregon Travel Forum (20)
Cannon Beach, Oregon Travel Guide
Location: North America
Geography: Beach
Vacation Type: Family, Relaxation
Popularity: Touristy
Costs: Budget, Moderate
Attractions: Golfing, Scenery, Camping, Fishing, Shopping, Surfing

Facts and Stats:
Seaside Population: 6,258
Gearhart Population: 1,480
Seaside Land Area: 3.94 square miles
Gearhart Land Area: 1.9 square miles
Elevation: 15 feet
Country dialing code: +1
Telephone area code: 503
Languages: English
Electricity: 110v
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: PST (GMT -8 hours)
Current Time:

Seaside is a small, yet popular oceanside family tourist town on the Oregon Coast. Popular for its beaches and promenade boardwalk, there are more things to do in Seaside than many of Oregon's smaller coastal towns. It is a walking town with a 2 mile promenade that runs north and south along the 3 mile beach. The main street is Broadway which has a coastal town feel with taffy shops and arcades. The people are friendly, the promenade has a ton of shops and restaurants, and there is a small aquarium with a feed the seals feature that kids really like. There are a variety of things to do in Seaside including crabbing, fishing for steelhead, salmon and sturgeon, kiting, surfing, hiking, golf, whale watching, tide pooling, horseback riding and more.

Gearhart is a much sleepier community than Seaside and is home to a number of retirees. The slower pace, less populated beach, and 2 golf courses attract discerning visitors.

Seaside is located on the North Oregon Coast in Clatsop County. It is located on the Pacific Ocean between Tillamook Head and the mouth of the Necanicum river, and is one of the closest coastal towns to Portland. The town of Seaside has 3 miles of wide sandy beaches, which is a little unusual for the Oregon Coast. Backdropping Seaside are lush rainforests with parks and hiking trails galore.

The town of Gearhart is located immediately north of Seaside, and has a very long beach which is one of the few on the Oregon Coast that allows vehicles.

Brief history:
Seaside marks the end of the Lewis and Clark trail, where they reached the Pacific Ocean on October 16, 1805. From the success of Lewis and Clark's expedition came settlers to make land claims and join the lucrative fur trapping, logging and fishing industries. Vacationers became coming out in the 1850's as a summer retreat from hotter inland climates, and the city slowly built itself, gaining great popularity once the railroad opened from Young's Bay to Seaside in 1888. The railroad offered more families a chance to come and summer here while the father could go back home on the train for the work week, returning to spend weekends with his family. Of course, long before Lewis and Clark landed in Seaside, it was home to the Clatsop Indians, who had at least 14 villages established and lived off the diverse natural resources of the region: berries, salmon, elk, deer, clams, mussels, sea lions, and whales.

The draw of the Oregon coast to Oregon residents is certainly an escape from higher temperatures in the summer, with summer temperatures ranging in the 70's. However, the coast's appeal also stretches into the other seasons. The brooding storms of winter over rugged cliffs are beautiful, with the added attraction of the annual migration of the Grey whale in December and January from northern feeding grounds to the shallow breeding bays in Baja. The spring affords more whale watching as the Grey whales return back to Northern feeding grounds with their babies in April and May. It is reported that as many as 30 per hour can be seen from whale watching boats or various vantage points. At any time of the year, herds of elk are not uncommon to see as well as Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and Puffins. Spring time also offers hordes of daffodils growing on the sides of the roads, where you can gather armfuls and putting your monetary donation in a coffee can. Fall is beautiful driving, with many deciduous trees changing foliage set against the vibrant greens of the evergreens.

The people are warm and friendly, and there is a relaxed pace here. It feels safe, although it isn't exactly a town teeming with nightlife either. Primary activities occur during the day time, be it the beach, shopping, galleries, arcades, sports, or festivals. There are some nice restaurants, but not much in the way of clubs. Oregon is home to many fine pinots and world class microbrews, as well as some of the finest seafood in the United States. Do not leave without trying some of the local food or drink!

Most of the restaurants will bank on their native shores to offer you some of the best seafood ever. Dungeness Crab, Razor Clams, Sole, Cod, Salmon, Clams, Mussels, Snapper, Sturgeon, all come right out Seaside's back yard - but if you aren't into seafood there will always be an alternative nearby- Chinese, Italian, Pizza, etc.

There are several grocery stores in the area, and there is a large Safeway right on highway 101 within walking distance of most places in Seaside.

Prices are comparable to any place in the Pacific Northwest. Most Hotels will run between $60-150 per night depending on location and season. There are many cabins to rent that might be more cost effective if you have to rent multiple rooms. Dinners in a moderate restaurant will probably be in the $10-15 dollar per person vicinity, with cheaper and more expensive options available.

Getting There and Around:
While Seaside does have a small airport, it is likely not cost effective to fly there. Your best bet is to fly to the Portland International Airport (PDX) and make the 80 mile drive out to Seaside. To get there from Portland, take highway 26 west to the coast, then take highway 101 north for a short distance.

Below are the distances from Seaside to other towns and cities in the area.
Astoria - 17 miles
Bandon - 239 miles
Bend - 237 miles
Coos Bay - 215 miles
Eugene - 181 miles
Hood River - 141 miles
Lincoln City - 93 miles
Medford - 344 miles
Newport - 117 miles
Portland - 80 miles
Salem - 118 miles
Vancouver, WA - 87 miles

Seaside is a small town so getting around is easiest on foot. Having a car is very nice for exploring the beautiful Oregon coast to the north and south. Astoria, to the north, is a short 30 minute drive away and is worth visiting. Many movies such as "The Goonies" and "Kindergarten Cop" have been filmed in Astoria which is also home to the Columbia River delta.

When Oregonians head to the ocean, they are going to the "coast", not the "beach". The reason for the distinction is partially due to the terrain, but also due to the weather. The weather at the coast in Oregon is typically cool and windy. The coast also gets a very large amount of rainfall as you will see in the table below.

The current weather conditions in Seaside:

Below are the monthly weather averages:

Month Avg High Avg Low Average Rainfall
January 52 38 10.27"
February 54 39 9.52"
March 56 40 8.44"
April 58 42 5.74"
May 62 46 3.96"
June 65 50 3.0"
July 68 53 1.63"
August 69 53 1.34"
September 70 50 3.0"
October 64 46 6.07"
November 56 42 11.38"
December 52 38 11.34"

Tips/Additional information:
  • The Oregon Coast is very beautiful, but very windy. It makes for great kiting, but always having a windbreaker or hat handy will probably make your day more bearable.
  • Even in the summer the Oregon Coast isn't really a swimming ocean. The average water temperature is 55 degrees. Some people swim, but it is certainly for the more bold spirited. Surfing is very popular here, because of the waves, but the surfers wear wetsuits.
  • If you do brave the temperatures, the Pacific Ocean is turbulent with undertows, so never swim out past breakers alone.
  • There are 3 golf courses in the Seaside Area.
  • The legendary James Beard vacationed in Gearhart as a child. At the peak of his career, he had cooking schools in New York City and Seaside. His ashes were spread in Gearhart.
  • Founded in 1892, Gearhart Golf Links is the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River.

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User Reviews (2)

Reviewed by: semelio
Review date: Feb-10-2011

We very much enjoy weekends in Seaside. It's a great little town to walk around in, many fun shops and spots to eat, not to mention the most beach activity I've seen in most coastal towns in Oregon. Even in Oregon's rainy months you can find some very nice days here. Great for kids and adults! Thanks for all the GREAT information you have posted here on Seaside!  

Reviewed by: sloshed
Review date: Apr-16-2010

Seaside is a very nice, clean town with that definitive Oregon Coast feel. It is a little on the touristy side compared to some other destinations, but not to the point of being obnoxious. The beach is beautiful and is a great spot to whale/people watch, play volleyball, make sandcastles, etc. Seaside is one of my favorite coastal towns. 

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