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Seaside's Wilder Side: A Historic Kind of Oregon Coast Rugged and Unruly

Published 3/02/24 at 6:05 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Seaside, Oregon) – One of the busiest and most bustling of Oregon coast burghs has a healthy set of layers beyond the obvious. Seaside, also the oldest of tourist towns in the region, is often known for its sizable amusements along Broadway, both in the shopping and kiddie attractions realms.

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Yet there is a wilder side to Seaside – a chunk of stuff to do in the natural world that has its own surprises.

At the southern end of this North Oregon coast town, the beaches get less populated - except by rocks. Larger cobblestones begin to cover the sand, and the beach gets a little rougher.

If you check out historical photographs of Seaside from earlier than the '20s, you'll notice there was a lot less of the beach. It was comprised of larger stones and some sand, and then a dropping slope into the surf. The difference comes from the construction of the jetties at Astoria to the north, which altered the tidal action and distribution in the sand. That added some 600 feet or more to the beach of Seaside, making it the soft, dunse-y place it is now.


The southern end of town – including the Cove – now looks more like the original Seaside.

The Cove is more deserted than much of the town, but not as much so as just north of The Cove. From about Lewis & Clark Way southward (where the memorial to the Corps of Discovery sits). Play around these beaches and you'll rarely find others. Plus, the Promenade is especially interesting in spots, including this mysterious little path that goes nowhere (Quirky Oregon Coast History Embedded in Seaside: Mystery Wall, Fishing Pier).

See Three Curiosities of Seaside's The Cove - North Oregon Coast Oddities - From morbid to delightful; geology, history, surprises

At the Cove, you're up against Tillamook Head [What is Tillamook Head Geologically? Deep Inside N. Oregon Coast Headland at Seaside / Cannon Beach]. It was somewhere on this north face that part of Lewis and Clark's troupe climbed to get to what is now Cannon Beach. Or, take Avenue U for a nice little beachside drive past interesting, old cottages and motels, and watch the beach change from to even larger, bulkier cobblestones. It ends up at the "Cove," which is a surfer's paradise.


Photo courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

It's also a great place to watch storms, though this place can have its dangers. Large waves occasionally fire off into the parking lot.

For hikers, Tillamook Head is an irresistible endeavor, with six miles of insanely cool forest and views to contend with. Its summit is at 1,112 feet, and there's an elevation gain of 400 feet. This side, from Seaside, has a much steeper upward grade.

See Hiking Tillamook Head and Its Discoveries, N. Oregon Coast Icon Between Cannon Beach, Seaside

There's also a trippy World War II bunker there. The Mysterious World War II Bunker Atop Oregon Coast's Tillamook Head

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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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