Editor’s note: There’s a special place in my heart for Seaside, Oregon. Growing up in nearby Portland, Seaside was our go-to beach getaway as a kid. So when special correspondent Katie Pesznecker said she was going, I was more than happy to have her drive the car down memory lane. And yes, she totally got some sun! This is her report. –Scott
Photo: Katie and husband Joe snap a selfie on the beach.
I recently visited the town of Seaside on the Oregon Coast for an extended family get-together. I grew up in Oregon but hadn’t visited Seaside in at least 15 years. During our lively, sun-soaked weekend, I was happily reintroduced to a town teeming with character, culture, and cuisine — and was reminded why lively Seaside remains an enduring destination for fun-seeking beach-lovers.
Photo: Posing with the pretty Seaside sign.
We visited in late August, flying into the Portland International Airport to make the 90-mile drive due west to Seaside via U.S. Highway 26. Alaskan travelers appreciate a destination that can be reached with a minimal time and logistical investment while yielding maximum payoff, and Seaside fits that bill.
PHOTO: A Bigfoot carving and old train car are among the many displays at Camp 18.
We stopped just short of Seaside at Camp 18. This iconic roadside eatery is, as the name applies, just 18 miles from Seaside, a homage to the logging and timber industry that is part of the fabric of this region. The grounds contain historic logging equipment and displays, and a nature trail. The gorgeous main building is a lovingly constructed 14,000 square foot log building that hosts a gift shop and restaurant.
Photo: Inside Camp 18.
Traveling with my husband Joe, brother-in-law/buddy Josh, and always-hungry stepson Dominic, this crew devoured all Camp 18 had to offer – from ambiance to omelets, from home fries to cinnamon swirl French toast. After a hearty meal, we strolled the grounds and stretched our legs.
Photo: Great grub at Camp 18.
Next stop, Seaside! All told, we spent two days and nights in town with more than 20 extended family members who traveled from Washington, Alaska, Nevada and California for a weekend of relaxed reconnecting.
Photo: Joe, Dominic and Josh approach the fam hangout area after strolling along the waves.
Seaside served as the ideal backdrop for this family gathering. Daytime unfolded at the beach – a broad, wide, huge beach where we lounged and laughed in the sun, threw baseballs, waded in the waves, and strolled on the sand.
Photo: Family bonfire time is fun for all ages!
We also lit a bonfire there the first night. Most local stores sell firewood bundles and many hotels sell S’mores kits too. Around a roaring camp fire, we toasted marshmallows, enjoying the crackling flames and crashing waves, as dozens of other fires glowed along the beach.
Photo: Some family members enjoy dinner at Finn’s Fish House.
We never attempted a sit-down restaurant meal with the entire crew, but we did dine out in groups both large and small and found some tasty options. Finn’s Fish House, with its tabletop fire features, was able to seat a large group of us without too much notice.
PHOTO: Joe brings the beverages at Pizza Harbor!
For another family dinner, we swarmed the patio at Pizza Harbor, a decades-old joint just off the main strip, Broadway Street. With a big outdoor patio and counter-ordering, it was a perfect place for a large group of us to casually lounge while devouring delicious slices of thin-crust pizza with house-made sauce and melty cheese bread.
PHOTO: Perfect pizza at Pizza Harbor!
We discovered a great lunch spot too: Guadalajara Taco Shop. The street tacos were super authentic, served on doubled-up corn tortillas with minimal toppings like cilantro and onion. Protein options included carnitas, pastor, carne asada, lengua, fish and chicken.
PHoTO: Taco time!
Another local fav we hit up was Pronto Pup, a mainstay on the Seaside strip. These hand-dipped, made-to-order corn dogs are a steal at $4.50 a pop – and a quick and cheap treat for hungry kids and hangry adults alike!
PHOTO: A Pronto Pup turns hangry Katie’s frown upside down.
Pronto Pup is smack in the middle of Seaside action on and around Broadway Street – boutiques, ice cream parlors, bookstores, coffee shops, arcades, and more. There’s certainly no shortage of diversions if lounging on the beach isn’t your thing.
PHOTO: Dominic and Joe shoot ‘em up in Seaside.
We hit up skeeball and fired fake pistols at a shooting range game. Several family members played a rousing round of mini golf while others swarmed the bumper cars with competitive hilarity.
PHOTO: Joe goes all in on bumper cars.
Another popular seaside activity is strolling the Seaside Promenade. “The Prom,” as it’s affectionately known, was built in 1920. Fifteen-feet-wide and paved, it runs along the beach for 1.5 miles between 12th Avenue on the north end, south to U Street.
PHOTO: The guys take a morning stroll on the Prom.
The Prom meanders by landmarks like Mo’s Seafood and Chowder (a must-stop for clam chowder fans) and the Seaside Aquarium (check out the whale skeleton in the window!). The Prom also passes through the Turnaround, the iconic one-way circle at the end of busy Broadway Street.
PHOTO: A sand carver works his magic.
The Prom presents breathtaking ocean and sunset views and is full of scenery and historic markers. Watch for artists carving sand sculptures, musicians and crooners performing, and other shoreline entertainers angling for tourists’ tips.
PHOTO: Josh, Joe and Katie have a happy hour at the Bridge Tender Pub.
All told, Seaside had something for everyone, from fun and games to great food and rich local history. With its relative proximity to the Portland airport, pleasant walkability once there, big beaches, and abundance of lodging, it’s an excellent getaway option year-round.
PHOTO: A sandy path cuts through sea grass to the beach.
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