NW Family Jaunts: Seaside, OR
Two hours from Portland and three and a half from Seattle is a quintessential ocean town perfect for families on the lookout for fun. Seaside, OR has it all, from arcade games to gourmet delights.
Located in the Northwest corner of Oregon, Seaside is a concise little town filled with history (think Lewis and Clark). More family-friendly that it's hoity-toity neighbor, Cannon Beach, it is also a bargain for families looking to get away without breaking the bank.
On a recent visit, we stayed at the Ebbtide Inn (300 North Prom.). Check out our view! Located right on the Promenade, an Ocean Front suite that included a King Bed, a separate bedroom with a Queen Bed, a kitchenette and a gas fireplace was $153 a night. The Ebbtide also features a hot tub and indoor pool. As we were traveling with four girls under ten years of age, the pool proved to be a popular destination.
The room and property is clean and well maintained. However, if you are expecting five-star accommodations, this is not it. Cabinets in the kitchenette show their use, and the color scheme of the room may have reflected a different decade than the one we are currently in. If you are looking for a higher end accommodation, I would suggest one of the area's many bed-and-breakfast Inns (prices start at about $90 a night). There is also the Shilo inn, at 30 N. Prom, which has basically the same amenities as the Ebb Tide, but costs, on average, about $100 more a night. My only complaint about the Ebb Tide was that the advertised Wi-fi was down during my entire stay. Fortunately, there are other hot-spots in town.
Our $1,000,000 View
We arrived early evening, and once I parked my car in the hotel lot, I didn't touch it again until we checked out, four days later. Everything in this little town is within walking distance, even the Safeway "out on the highway" is within half a mile.
First thing, of course, was exploring. We walked the Prom (a three mile walking path between downtown Seaside and the beach) played volleyball on the public nets, and swung on the swings that are every 1/4 mile or so along the beach. The center of Seaside is the Turn Around, where Broadway dead ends at the Pacific Ocean and cars have to turn around. Located here is a statue of Lewis, Clark, and Clark's dog, Seaman, alluding to the fact that this is also where the Lewis and Clark expedition turned around, and headed back east. Broadway is also the main drag in Seaside, and a great place to look for eats and fun. That first night we ate at Fultano's, a pizza joint located in the Fun Town arcade. The pizza was delicious, hot and made to order, with fresh and plentiful toppings and a crisp crust. After returning to the hotel, and some fun in the pool, we returned to the beach for a bon fire and toasted marshmallows. There is a cottage industry with the locals in providing bonfire wood for the tourists. Prices range from $4 to $10 a stack.
The next morning, after eating breakfast in, we bravely rented a bicycle surrey and tooled around town. I make it sound breezy, easy, and fun, but honestly, those things are work! But don't take my flabby, middle-aged word for it; I invite you to give it a try yourself! There are several outfits in town that do rentals. After recovering at a Tillamook Ice Cream outlet (several stores in the area sell Tillamook, which is made right down Highway 101 about 45 miles) I went to scope out the Wi-fi scene while the rest of my party headed to the beach. I found reliable service at Internet Coffee, located kitty-corner to the Trendwest property on A Street. Coffee drinks and hot chocolate are expertly poured and delicious; the accessorizing pastries seem to be direct from a wrapper, but perhaps I caught them at the end of the morning rush and all the best was gone.
Seaside at the Turn Around
Dinner tonight was at Girtle's, a Seafood and Steak joint
located right on Broadway. The wait was long, about 50 minutes,
but once seated, service was quick and the food was top-notch.
The staff was quick to keep the kids happy, with a quick-arriving
bread basket and crayons. I had the seafood combo, which included
a razor clam, prawns, scallops, and halibut. It was served hot, and
the flavors were complimentary. The sides of veggies were
surprisingly not overdone, and the au gratin potatoes were
comfort-food-like in their appeal.
Seaside really is a foodie town. Despite being two hours from any
major metropolitan area, Seaside has a good selection of tasty,
high quality restaurants. Another evening was spent at Lil Bayou,
a place I had visited on an earlier trip to Seaside and dreamed of revisiting. It is a
Cajun eatery, and they feature live music a couple nights a week. I felt some trepidation,
as I had heard ownership had changed late last year, but I was not disappointed. They are
very kid friendly, the staff is knowledgeable, and the atmosphere completely unexpected
for an ocean resort town. They are at 20 N. Holladay.
Yummy, a wine bar and bistro has a changing menu that
reflects seasonal availability. All I got to say is ya have to love
a place whose motto is "in our establishment it is known & o.k. to lick
your plate ..."
Yummy SOOO lives up to it's name, I wish there was one
somewhere in Western Washington! I will dream about the seafood
For fun and souvenirs, just start at the Turn Around and head
east. There is FunTown arcade, an indoor mini-gold
range, an old-fashioned carousel, a train ride for the wee ones, and
plenty of shopping.
Under the Big Top Toys is located in the Seaside Carousel
Mall, and is a world class toy store. It would compete well
with anything located in Portland or Seattle. They specialize
in what I call" thinking" toys, such as puzzles, paper dolls,
crafts, games and the like. What you will not find in hear is
video games. The staff is quick to respond, and is knowledgeable
about the merchandise.
Also in the Seaside Carousel Mall is Maryanne's 12.99 Store.
Do you need a t-shirt to take back to the dog-sitter? This is
the place. The store is PACKED to the gills with shirts,
sweats, and hoodies, and nothing is over $12.99. How cool
is that? Designs ranges from standard to bling-bling, and pretty
much everything in-between. My daughter selected a bright
pink hoodie with Seaside, OR written in script "diamonds" on
the front. Ugh! But for $12.99, I could close my eyes and
disperse the charge card.
Right around the corner from Seaside Carousel Mall is The Buzz
on Broadway (411 Broadway). It is the candy shop of your children's
dreams. Bins of hard candies live in harmony with salt water
taffy. Remember Abba-Zaba, Smarties, and Necco Wafers?
They have 'em! How about Zagnut and Chik-o-Sticks? Yep!
They also have Cola Barrels, Butterscotch Rounds, and too much
more to list. They have a chocolate counter and homemade
fudge for the chocoholics among us all.
Our four days in Seaside were a blast. Kids and adults both
are already making plans to return. The fun was budget-conscious,
and there is SO much to do. I didn't even mention Tillamook Head,
Ecola State Park or the outlet center. All that will have to wait
for the sequel! In the meantime, get out there and enjoy this
little gem of a town on Oregon's North Coast.
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I am the president of a small not for profit community foundation in Western Washington. By small non-profit, I mean SMALL, and 100% volunteer. By president, I mean grantwriter, go-fer, event planner, volunteer...