Fun in Seaside, for visitors and residents alike

The Seaside Beach Run, put on by Fit to be Teens Inc., the nonprofit arm of Sunset Family Fitness, includes a Kids' Sand Dash for young runners.

Now that summer has absolutely settled — the streets just shy of too full to be useful, sand piling up in all corners of our cars, and something of a tan building into the skin — it’s high time for Seaside residents (yes, you read that right) to stop by the Visitors Bureau to enrich the “staycation” that is our lives during off-work and weekend moments in the busy tourism months.

And why not? Thanks to Pam Fleming and company at Nature’s Helper landscaping, the grounds here at 101 and Broadway have never looked better. Over the last few months, I’ve watched the flowers bloom and the greenery thrive in equal measure as the number of daily visitors has picked up. I’m sure most of them don’t even realize the pillars, the tower, and the trim of the Visitors Bureau and Chamber building were repainted this month and a new stone walking path installed through the hedge to the oversized Adirondack chair. They only see the loveliness of it all, as they should.

Come in and pick up a copy of our newest handout for a self-directed walking tour of Seaside’s pocket gardens. There are eight stops highlighted along the way from the Visitors Bureau to the Seaview Garden at the Turnaround, including spots by Beach Books, Dooger’s, Pig ‘N Pancake, and Phillips Candies. Each stop a unique collection of beautiful plants and plays-on-words from the mind of Fleming, who has designed and maintained these in-between spaces for 25 years now.

If you were a fan of last year’s illustrated Travel Oregon campaign with giant bunnies and sky ships, you’ll be equally pleased with the refresh this summer featuring walking clouds and a sentient Proposal Rock. We’ve got a new stock of posters, postcards, and stickers for you and your drop-in visitors this season.

You know what else? We’ve got a collection of information on destinations across the entire state of Oregon. Planning a trip to Bend? We’ve got you covered. Looking to hit up some parks this summer? There’s a guide for that. Headed elsewhere on the Oregon Coast? NOT ALLOWED. Just kidding, we stock lots of information on coastal goodies to explore from Astoria all the way down to Brookings.

Might also be a good time to take stock of what you have here.

Seaside is truly an authentic destination through and through. Unlike most cities in the West, there never was a timber-dependent or fisheries-based economy in Seaside. We’ve been a resort and tourism destination from the start.

I was looking at archival images from the Oregon Historical Society recently and found some of Seaside at the turn of the last century, some 120 years ago. There were teens splashing and jumping in the waterline, parents walking hand-in-hand with little children on the beach, people napping on blankets under wind breaks, postcards and trinkets for sale, hot dogs, candy, and even sand sculptures. Essentially, it was Seaside. Completely recognizable.

The reach is further than you might imagine. I was in Boise over the Fourth of July holiday for a family reunion on my wife’s side of the family. I couldn’t believe how many people from this far-flung group had been to Seaside in their lives and how their memorable stories came flowing out as soon as I mentioned my work here.

Last year at this time, too, we were telling our then-neighbors in Portland that we were moving out to the North Coast and, again, I was overwhelmed with stories of families having come out to Seaside every year, for generations in some cases. It was profoundly moving.

And we can all be proud to be part of that long string from the past and to carry these experiences forward. A visit to the Visitors Bureau is an easy way to remind yourself how lucky we are to live amongst such beauty and tradition.

Got a tourism-related comment or question? I’d love to hear from you. Write me at jheineman@cityofseaside.us.

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