Seaside Secrets and Surprise Layers: Oregon Coast (Part 2)
Story by By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff - Story Source
It's no secret that Seaside is likely one of the most crowded towns on the Oregon coast during peak seasons, so finding an empty spot is a bit of an art. But they exist – and they host loads of natural wonders. The strange secret about this frenetic beach town is that its hidden parts can truly be wild and untamed, because so much attention is concentrated in the main area around the Turnaround. 12th Ave. Access. At the Prom's northern end, at 12th Ave., things become markedly more deserted. the mouth of the Necanicum and its slightly weird mudflats. For some reason, people tend to migrate south of this rather popular entrance, but leave the northern section alone – which is where the river mouth sits.
Walk this stretch of perhaps a quarter mile or a little more, and you'll discover one of the more unusual spots on Oregon's coast, albeit deceptively so. At any regular glance, it looks completely average, perhaps even slightly boring and featureless. However, it cloisters a treasure trove of unbroken sand dollars – likely the most you'll ever find on any beach on Oregon's coast. The reasons for this involve a nearby reef that is especially ripe with these creatures, and tidal conditions that can plop them onto the sand with greater regularity. Another big part of this has to do with that no one seems to spend much time in this area, so the goodies don't get picked.
All this depends on conditions, but it is easy to find way more of these sand dollars freshly washed up than average.
Like Cannon Beach, and many other beach towns, often the extreme southern and northern ends tend to be the least populated, usually because they're farther from beach accesses or the center of activity. With Seaside, the southern end – known as the "cove" - is a bit more clandestine. It is, however, often a hotspot with surfers. But beachcombers don't find it to easy to stroll on as the large stones are not conducive to such activity, and the sandy stretches there are hidden by the tide half the time.
Between the cove and the southernmost end of the Prom, that walkway gives way to a simple concrete path that runs alongside the beach. Here – between Ave. E and Ave. U - the beach slowly changes from the softer sands to rocky and stone-covered, which is much more like the entire beach of Seaside was back in the early part of the century, before the building of the jetties in Astoria. These 15 blocks or so tend to be even more deserted than the southern end, as nothing but summer homes and suburban neighborhoods occupy this part of the beachfront. Tourists tend not to gather here in any great numbers.
Near the Turnaround, one major attraction brings the visitors back around Seaside history, albeit unknowingly. That building was originally natatorium: hot salt-water baths, which often had entertainment as visitors relaxed in the warm water. These were very popular at the turn of the century.
Even more fascinating is the fact that were once apartments at the top floor of the aquarium. See This N. Oregon Coast Hotspot Hides a Spooky, Historical Attraction Upstairs.
Looming above it all is Tillamook Head, where a strenuous hiking trail takes you past amazing viewpoints, a remnant of an old military installation and a primitive campground. There's also a major Lewis & Clark landmark here as well.
If you want to add yet another dimension to your discoveries of Seaside, numerous bars give the place quite a buzzing feel (no pun intended) at night. Here, too, is the goofy, inadvertent humor factor, which is given extra-added spice when you mix wacky locals and silly tourists with alcohol. You'll find most locals and tourists a convivial bunch, however.
Seaside is not just the kitschy, commercialized place it's often slapped with for a label. People often forget it's on the beach, and then they don't realize what those beaches hold. It is possible to get away from it all, even in this nutty, frenzied beach town.
You simply have to know where to look. Read full story