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Seaside Cove on N. Oregon Coast: Guide to Beach and Surreal History

Published 01/28/21 at 6:26 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Seaside Cove on N. Oregon Coast: Guide to Beach and Surreal History

(Seaside, Oregon) – Call it "The Cove" or Seaside Cove, but a cove on the Oregon coast is a cove by any other name. The area is a hotspot at Seaside and yet still out-of-the-way enough that there are secretive aspects. This southern end of a very popular town is a bit different than the rest.

It's known mostly for being a surfers destination, with easy access to waves large enough to catch a ride on a regular basis. At any one time it you can often see two to five folks out there zooming around on boards.

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The main attraction is simply watching the waves from this parking lot, situated where Seaside's beach curves around abruptly and the contours of the shore take the lead from Tillamook Head. Yet there's a lot more going on here than just the waves: a handful of secret attractions and factoids lurk here.

Favorite sights get unruly here quite easily. Seaside's Cove compresses the energy of the waves and keeps them coming onto shore sizably higher than most areas of the Oregon coast. Then, when even the smaller, calmer waves lap at the rocky shoreline, these smooth, rounded stones make cool rattling noises.

This beach is noisier, however, because of that. Larger sneaker-like waves can create sudden, alarming sounds when they smack this shoreline harder.

All these waves are great fun and games until you get to higher-than-normal tidal / storm events. Then the Cove at Seaside gets dangerous. You can see video here of a sudden gargantuan wave swatting cars and causing humans to scream.

If this beach is cordoned off because of such a storm event, then stay away. Waves can and do toss large logs onto the parking lot, posing extreme dangers.

Thankfully, these events happens fairly rare, only a few times a year. The rest of the time the sandy stretch here is rather unique and often unpopulated. Walk a bit farther north and it really gets secluded.


As with much of this Oregon coast town, history takes a front seat in some interesting ways, and Seaside Cove is no different. At the edge of the parking lot, there's a unique monument marked “Found on the Beach April 25 1865.” This is the “sailor's grave,” a kind of tomb of the unknown soldier but for a mystery man found here after drowning. Theories abound on his actual identity.

The site has been steadily maintained for over 150 years.

This mystery also reveals another startling curiosity: local historians say there are lots of unknown souls buried in this area, mostly up a bit further where the homes are in what was once simply forestland. It started with native tribes burying some around here, then continued when steady streams of drowned individuals from ships offshore were discovered over the decades until about the ‘30s or so.

Another remarkable aspect of Seaside Cove is much of it did not exist before 1987. The beaches were much farther back – more than 800 feet in many stretches from here through to around Avenue U. That year, a major landslide farther down Tillamook Head resulted in massive boulders and other debris piling up here, which slowly filled in with sand. After awhile, the beach was extended by hundreds of feet. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium: storms toss logs onto the parking lot

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