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Seaside's The Cove: N. Oregon Coast Place with Old Secrets

Published 07/23/2019 at 3:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Seaside's The Cove: N. Oregon Coast Place with Old Secrets

(Seaside, Oregon) – Seaside has a unique way of being both bustling and serene in spots, thoroughly modern and yet steeped in history. Nowhere else but Seaside’s “The Cove” presents that distinctive overlay and dichotomy so well: a section of beach that has some very old and trippy secrets.

At the southern end of this north Oregon coast town, the population on the beaches drops and the density of small to medium rocks soars. Polished cobblestones begin to smother the beach as you get farther south towards Tillamook Head, until you finally encounter The Cove – where it’s all rocks and very little sand.


This is, in fact, the way Seaside used to be. If you look at photographs older than the mid 1920s you’ll notice all of Seaside was like this and not the expanse of soft, wispy sands everyone knows now. It was also a lot shorter – only 100 feet or so from The Prom. A change in the jetties at the mouth of the Columbia fairly quickly built all that sand up and elongated the width to about 1000 feet from the vegetation line.

There used to be much less of The Cove as well. Something like 100 yards were added in the ‘80s when a landslide off the headland piled gobs of rocks here, eventually filling the shore up with more sand and substance.

Now, if you’re looking to duck from the crowds, The Cove isn’t really the getaway it used to be. There’s a lot of surfers here, and a lot of people having picnics and simply loafing around the beach.

If you want less folk and more alone time, head just a bit north to that stretch of The Prom within a quarter mile of its end – but not too near the Turnaround. Here, the beaches stay steeped in solitude, as not many venture to this little stretch. Or simply walk out to the beach from Ave. U (where the Prom ends) and walk a ways northward. It’s engaging and lovely here.


Even this stretch of The Prom – where the railings have long ended – is full of meditational delights. The tiny groves of trees clustered together form funky little hidden spaces. The tall dune grass and the bent over trees of intriguing shapes sometimes make a person imagine they’re in Africa.


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More secrets lurk in this uniquely peaceful chunk of an otherwise busy Oregon coast burgh – but these are a bit dark. The Cove itself is a vast graveyard of unknown people. The neighborhood streets and some of the shoreline closeby were where many deceased were buried around the turn of the century. Mostly, these were drowning victims that washed up here and were simply interred near where they were discovered, as no one knew their identities. In fact, there’s a “grave for the unknown sailor” tucked away in one section of The Cove, dedicated to a man found drowned on this beach a little over 150 years ago after his small boat was capsized somewhere out there. He had been seen gathering supplies here hours earlier and then spotted setting sail for some mother ship that is still not known today.


Before white settlers, the area was also where many local tribes people were buried.

Another secret – but more delightful: the painted rock garden here. It’s not far from Avenue U: a cute little tradition where some have left painted cobblestones for generations. Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours





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