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Different Sides of Seaside and Gearhart: Getting Un-Busy On N. Oregon Coast

Published 04/07/23 at 4:42 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Different Sides of Seaside and Gearhart: Getting Un-Busy On N. Oregon Coast

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(Seaside, Oregon) – Up on the north Oregon coast, Seaside is the seriously buzzing and bustling spot when family vacation periods get turned on full in the region. There's much to do here for kidlets, romancers on a getaway or the younger crowd looking for something rugged to maybe kooky (like the bar scene at night). (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

The Turnaround and Broadway are always on fire with interesting people watching, to be sure. You’ll find another Lewis & Clark landmark just south of the Turnaround, and the Gilbert District lets you disappear into the past a bit.

What if you want to disappear a bit as well?

Interestingly, there are different sides to Seaside that allow you get to something more rugged and off-the-beaten-path, and that includes sneaking up to Gearhart.

If you’re looking to get away from it all, the northernmost end of Seaside’s beaches, at the river mouth, provides some intrigue and mystery – with rarely a soul here. At any regular glance, it looks completely average, perhaps even slightly boring and featureless. But it cloisters a treasure trove of unbroken sand dollars – likely the most you’ll ever find on any beach on Oregon’s coast. Part of this has to do with the fact no one seems to spend much time in this area, so the goodies don’t get picked.

This landscape looks a lot like Gearhart at this part of Seaside, with its large tufts of grass-covered dunes providing a massive border between the beach and the higher ground beyond the vegetation line.

Farther south, towards the Cove area, the beach accesses between Avenue U and about Avenue K see far fewer people as well.

It’s at Gearhart where serious peace and quiet takes over, however, with a town not completely geared to tourists – almost not at all. Stay at the southern end, however, where the beaches take some walking to from these charming streets. There’s a stretch to the north where driving on the beach is legal, so it’s way more populated and the sand is unclean and greasy because of the vehicles.

Explore the northern side of the Necanicum River and you'll again find more of those sand dollars.

Those masses of dunes and their dunegrass make for rather long walk to the shoreline. This part of the north Oregon coast wants you to get some exercise, apparently. Lovely benches lie along the way, often dedicated to the memory of someone. Sticking to the southern edges, you'll encounter long, paved walkways that look quite old. They're broken in patches – and well, they actually remind one of the old Roman roads a tad. Some of the stickly weeds coming up from those patches leave pretty ouchy thorns, so don't walk it barefoot. Seriously.

The other big attraction of Gearhart is the proliferation of old and stunning upscale homes, with some slightly resembling the mansion from that “Hotel California” album cover by The Eagles. This tour is a real jaw-dropper at times. Another attraction here is the James Beard House. It was was the summer hangout of famed American chef James Beard in the early part of the 20th century, and it's said it's here where some of his culinary skills were honed by the family's penchant for living off locally-caught seafood. (Below: a lovely little park in the backroads of Gearhart)


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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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