How to have the best family trip to Seaside on the Oregon Coast
I have been traveling to the Oregon Coast several times just in the past few months, and I’ve found some of the best places in Seaside to visit and explore, as well as where to stay and eat. Read on for some awesome ideas on how to bring some fun into your family vacation to Seaside, Oregon!
I’d also like to point out that I’m not getting any compensation for suggesting any of these places, I’m a family photographer who travels here a lot so these are just my experiences and opinions. 🥰
Visiting Seaside, Oregon with your family
Seaside is fast becoming my favorite place to stay at the Oregon Coast! The hotel prices are pretty low compared to a lot of other areas, and you can stay super close to the main strip for pretty cheap and walk everywhere you need to go.
Where to stay in Seaside
I have stayed at lots of hotels in Seaside and my favorite so far has been Ocean Front Motel. Every room has an ocean view and it’s amazing to stay on a vacation with kids because they have some rooms with a main area and also a separate bedroom, so you can have some privacy if needed. You can also reserve more than one room next to each other and open the connecting door. Another reason to stay here is that it’s just two small streets from the main promenade, and the beach and boardwalk is literally outside your window.
Another great place to stay is the Shilo Inn. This one isn’t as cozy and pretty inside as Ocean front Motel, but it’s usually pretty cheap and is right on the main strip. It’s definitely nothing special but it will do if you just need a place to lay your head; plus it was clean and the staff was nice.
If you’re looking for something a bit farther from the main area, I really liked Coast River Inn by OYO! It was so bright and stylish and the room was super spacious. It was much quieter here since it wasn’t right in the main area so that’s great if you have light sleepers, but there’s no ocean view. I booked a room with a huge jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, and they even have free bikes for you to borrow.
What to do with kids on vacation in Seaside, Oregon
There’s lots of fun things to do on a family vacation in Seaside with kids of all ages! Here are some of my favorite things to do:
- Bring sand toys and play on the large expanse of beach (that one is obvious but I felt like it should be included)
- Go to the arcade at Fascination Games! You can load money onto a card and have a blast. You can choose to play games just for fun, or you can play games that earn you ticket and redeem them for candy or toys at the end.
- Check out the Seaside Aquarium. It’s small but adorable. Admission is reasonable and you can even touch some sea stars and anemones. If you go early, that’s when the seals are hungriest, but you can purchase food any time of day to throw to them. They get pretty energetic and it’s very cute.
- Grab some ice cream at one of the many ice cream shops. Seriously, there are tons! Take your pick, you really can’t go wrong.
- Buy some chocolate covered seafoam. It’s so delicious, you will not regret this one bit! You can find it in lot’s of the candy stores there so just ask.
- Grab a t-shirt or hoodie from the Carousel Mall, and then ride the Carousel! I found the cutest shirts in there and my son got a hoodie that was very comfy. Lots of PNW and Oregon Coast shirts that make great souvenirs.
- Ride a paddle boat shaped like a swan down the Necanicum river! You can get them from Wheel Fun Rentals.
- Park at Ruby’s Roadside Grill and go for a short hike around the water. It’s very pretty and won’t take all that long, so it’s perfect for kids who don’t have a lot of stamina. Afterwards, get a pulled pork sandwich at Ruby’s because it’s amazing!
My favorite place to hike near Seaside, Oregon
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post to my stories about this hike. I went with my husband and then I came back with my 13-year-old son and did it again. It’s not easy but it’s definitely worth the effort! The hike I’m talking about is Crescent Beach and it’s a great activity to do on your Seaside family vacation with older kids! I call it the “secret beach” because the only way you can get to it is by hiking from the main Ecola State Park parking lot for 1.25 miles. So there’s usually not many people there, especially if you head out before 10am. I suggest you bring a picnic along and plan to eat it there because you won’t want to leave right away. And bring water!
The start of the 1.25 mile hike to Crescent Beach is just to the left of the bathrooms at the main parking lot of Ecola State Park. Make sure to pay your $5 parking fee first, unless you have an Oregon State Parks pass.
You’ll hike up steps, along the road for a very short time, and then down into the forest where you’ll walk over lots of tree roots. It makes the hike more interesting for sure! Most of the hike is fairly easy, especially on the way there. And it’s truly beautiful down on the beach, with lots of rocks to climb and explore. There’s even a small waterfall! The hardest part is once you are all done exploring and you’re ready to walk back. The way back starts with a LOT of uphill climbing so be sure you have saved some water. But once you finish the initial climb back up, it’s smooth sailing from then on. Expect to sweat a lot on the way back, and feel a sense of accomplishment when you make it back up!
I saw some pretty young kids hiking this trail, but I wouldn’t suggest it if they either like to run away (because there are some spots where there is a cliff right next to you), or if they complain about being tired. Because I guarantee you won’t want to carry them!
Once you’re done with the hike, be sure to walk to the viewpoint there at Ecola State Park. It’s up high and you can look down at Crescent Beach and see where you just were. You can also drive a few minutes up the road to Indian Beach. It’s a short walk down some steps to that beach and it is stunningly beautiful, as well. Basically you can’t go wrong with any of the places in Ecola State Park, but the harder it is to get to, the less people there will be. It’s best to go to Indian Beach at low tide because you can walk to the left, get around the rocks, and check out the tide pools. Just pay attention to the tide because people have literally gotten stuck out there before and had to be rescued by helicopter.
Best places to eat on your family vacation in Seaside
Ah, food! I just love it! At first glance, you may think that you’re stuck eating overly fried food on your Seaside family vacation. I know that’s what I thought when I first was searching. But if you look a bit harder, you’ll find some delicious hidden gems!
I’m starting with this one because it’s my favorite of all places in Seaside! You can eat here for all the meals and be a happy camper. Their breakfasts are fantastic (try the Eggs Benedict), and their seafood dinners are worth every penny. I’ve ordered the Salmon and the Crab Legs and still dream about them.
I love me some Thai food, more specifically Panang Curry. Mmmmm… delicious! I found this place on accident and am very glad I did because their Panang Curry is one of the best ever!
If you’re heading out on that hike I mentioned earlier, you should come here first and grab sandwiches to take with you. Theirs are full of delicious meats and will not disappoint. The only drawback is that they’re closed Tuesday and Wednesday so plan accordingly.
I mentioned this earlier but it deserves to be on this list, for sure! Come here if you’re in the mood for some yummy barbeque and a casual atmosphere. The building used to be an old gas station so the walls are all open in the front and back, giving you a great view of the water and greenery behind the building. My favorite is the pulled pork sandwich.
This is a total dive bar, so come here for a late night snack and drinks if you can get away from the kids for a while. Not only are their drinks cheap and strong, their bar food is actually good. The chicken wings are so crispy, just how I like it!
Have a family photo session near Seaside
Okay, okay, you knew I had too add this in here! Come on, I’m a family photographer, it was bound to happen 😆. But what better way to remember your family vacation to Seaside than getting it documented forever?
I’m not the boring photographer who has you stand and smile at the camera, though. I’ll have you play little games that will get everyone feeling comfortable and having fun together. You’ll cuddle, play in the sand, and laugh together all while creating beautiful memories for you to hang on your walls.
If you want to capture the beauty and nature of the area, my suggestion is to get your photos taken at Ecola State Park, which are the family photos that you see scattered throughout this post. I schedule those at sunset for the best light.
To book a session there, you can check my booking calendar to see if I already plan to be there and have spots open (scroll down past the local sessions to check on that), or contact me if you need a different date. Typically I will book Oregon Coast sessions April-September.
That’s it for my list of what to do on a family vacation to Seaside on the Oregon Coast! Tell me what your favorite places are there, did I miss anything amazing?
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