Seaside, Oregon with Kids

Fall might be the perfect time to hit the beach. At least according to Jackie Boucher, a Vancouver, BC mom who also blogs at Wee Life (and that beautiful blog is more than a wee bit addictive). Last year, Jackie traveled over six hours to reach the gorgeous Oregon Coast, along with her husband Adrian and their son, Spenser, then age 5.

The family loved their destination, the outrageous family-fun town of Seaside. “It was quirky and kitschy and fun with loads of stuff for kids,” Jackie says.

Jackie and hubby had been to the Oregon Coast before, pre-baby Spenser. But back then, the coast was only a stopover on a longer trip. “We always knew that one day we would make it our destination and give it the attention it deserves,” Jackie says. “The coastline is simply stunning.”

Q: What did your family enjoy doing in Seaside, Oregon?

We walked the two- or three-mile promenade. We brought hockey and soccer equipment to play on the firm smooth sand, and hung out on the beach. We ate razor clams and candy (in particular, salt water taffy) because that’s what you do when you are in Seaside.

Playing hockey on the Oregon Coast
Playing hockey on the Oregon Coast. Photo courtesy Jackie Boucher

We noted other unique culinary delights too. I wish now I was brave enough to try the chocolate covered bacon at the Buzz on Broadway.

Another must-do is renting a surrey to pedal up and down the main drag. We also took a half-day trip to Cannon Beach where they have a nice playground, gorgeous beach, good shopping and The Wayfarer, a good restaurant with a killer view.

Riding bikes on the Oregon Coast.
Riding bikes on the Oregon Coast. Photo courtesy Jackie Boucher.

Q. What kinds of kid-friendly things did you do in Seaside? Which activities did your son enjoy most?

Seaside’s main drag. We walked up and down that street several times stopping in candy shops, riding the carousel at Seaside Carousel Mall, and spending time on the bumper cars in Funland, the arcade. Our favourite candy store was Seaside Candyman. The Seaside Carousel Mall has a great toy store, Under the Big Top Toys.

We went in last October and stumbled across a captivating pumpkin festival; we witnessed a giant pumpkin smash an old surrey to smithereens. I documented the craziness on my Wee Life blog here.

Q. Where did you stay?

The Sandy Cove Inn was a bit off the beaten track but had a kitchen, a good restaurant across the street as well as a small family run grocery store and the beach/prom was practically right there.

Q. Did you find any kid-friendly restaurants to eat in?

If you love seafood, this is your part of the world. Our favourite was the Bell Buoy at 1800 S Roosevelt Drive. This establishment has two parts, a factory/fish market and a restaurant. The first is the fish market and micro-cannery. They smoke their own salmon and make their own cocktail sauce. This is where you would get your razor clams to take back to your kitchenette (if you are so lucky to have a kitchenette).

Bell Buoy a kid-friendly restaurant in seaside oregon
The Bell Buoy, a kid-friendly restaurant in Seaside, Oregon

The Bell Buoy also offers a family-style restaurant, which cooks up delicious clams, oysters, crab cakes or just simple fish and chips. Oh, and clam chowder.

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.


  • Amy

    Based on this post, we stayed at the Sandy Cove Inn for the 4th of July weekend this year. The location is ideal, 2 blocks from a quiet part of Seaside’s beach, across the street from a neighborhood grocery store, a great pub (with Wyder’s Pear Cider on tap, I was ready to move in) and a coffee shop. My only complaint about the Sandy Cove is that the beds were terribly uncomfortable and even pear cider can’t help that.

    But the location! We didn’t even need to go into downtown Seaside. We did brave the holiday weekend crowds briefly to get the feel and the candy but my 8yr-old declared the Fun Center “a rip-off” and we headed back to “our beach” (where it seemed less windy than up near Broadway) pretty quickly. When I was a kid, we rented a house in Seaside for 2 weeks every summer and we stayed on the north side of the “main drag” and played a lot of skeeball. Seaside is much less sleepy than it was in the late 70’s and I now much prefer the south edge of town.

    Thanks for the recommendation!