Seaside's centerpiece is its 2-mile-long beachfront Promenade (or Prom), built in 1921. At the west end of Broadway, the Turnaround divides the walkway into the North Prom and the South Prom. Here a bronze statue marks the official end of the trail for the Lewis and Clark expedition. South of this statue on Lewis & Clark Way between the Promenade and Beach Drive, 8 blocks south of Broadway, you'll find the Lewis and Clark Salt Works, a reconstruction of a fire pit used by members of the famous expedition. During the winter of 1805-06, while the expedition was camped at Fort Clatsop, near present-day Astoria, Lewis and Clark sent several men southwest 15 miles to a good spot for making salt from seawater. It took three men nearly 2 months to produce 4 bushels of salt for the return trip east. Five kettles were used for boiling seawater, and the fires were kept stoked 24 hours a day.
History is not what attracts most people to Seaside, though. Rather, it's the miles of white-sand beach that begin just south of Seaside at the foot of the imposing Tillamook Head and stretch north to the mouth of the Columbia River. Though the waters here are quite cold and only a few people venture in farther than knee-deep, there are lifeguards on duty all summer, which is one reason Seaside is popular with families. At the south end of Seaside beach is one of the best surf breaks on the north coast. You can rent a board and wetsuit at Cleanline Surf, 719 First Ave. (tel. 503/738-7888; www.cleanlinesurf.com). A complete rental package runs $35 a day. Don't know how to surf? You can take lessons from Oregon Surf Adventures, 1116 S. Roosevelt Dr. (tel. 503/436-1481; www.oregonsurfadventures.com).
Because of the cold water, nonaquatic activities such as kite flying and beach cycling prove far more popular than swimming or surfing. All over town there are places that rent four-wheeled bicycles, called surreys, and three-wheeled cycles (funcycles) for pedaling on the beach. The latter are the most popular and the most fun but can really be used only when the tide is out and the beach is firm enough to pedal on. Cycles go for between $10 and $15 an hour, and multipassenger surreys rent for between $20 and $30 an hour. Try Wheel Fun Rentals, 407 S. Holladay Dr. (tel. 503/738-8447; www.wheelfunrentals.com), which also has locations at 153 Ave. A (tel. 503/738-7212) and 21 N. Columbia St., Ste. 103 (tel. 503/717-4337).
If you prefer hiking to cycling, head south of town to the end of Sunset Boulevard, where you'll find the start of the Tillamook Head Trail, which leads 6 miles over the headland to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park. This trail goes through shady forests of firs and red cedars with a few glimpses of the Pacific along the way.
Golfers can play a round at the 9-hole Seaside Golf Club, 451 Ave. U (tel. 503/738-5261; www.cannon-beach.net/seasidegolf), which charges $15 to $16 for 9 holes; another 9-hole course, The Highlands at Gearhart, 33260 Highlands Lane, Gearhart (tel. 503/738-5248; www.highlandsgolfgearhart.com), also charges $16 for 9 holes. However, the area's best course is the Gearhart Golf Links, 1157 N. Marion Ave., Gearhart (tel. 503/738-3538; www.gearhartgolflinks.com), where you'll pay $30 to $65 for 18 holes. This course was established in 1892, which makes it the oldest golf course in Oregon.
The Seaside Aquarium, 200 N. Promenade (tel. 503/738-6211; www.seasideaquarium.com), where you can feed seals, is popular. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.25 for seniors, and $3.75 for children ages 6 to 13. In a big case visible from outside the aquarium, there is a 36-foot-long gray whale skeleton. Kids will also enjoy the gaudily painted carousel at the Seaside Town Center Mall at 300 Broadway.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.