Seaside Oregon with kids: Top 23 Fun Activities

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Are you thinking about visiting Seaside, Oregon with kids? It’s one of our favorite places to visit, either as a couple’s getaway, or with our children for a family vacation.

One major reason for this is that there are many fun options for activities that can be done even when it’s raining. Oregonians are used to the rain, so we have learned to expect it and make plans that a rainy day will not ruin.

Sign says "Welcome to Seaside oregon"

Seaside, Oregon is ideally situated on the northern Oregon Coast. It’s a 15-minute drive from Seaside to Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park, and Rockaway Beach is less than an hour south (with an incredibly scenic drive along the way).

Here are our top 23 favorite things to do if you visit Seaside.

1. The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Peter Iredale shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park near Seaside, Oregon.
The wreck of the Peter Iredale.

Fort Stevens State Park has so much to offer families, but perhaps its most interesting feature is the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a ship that ran aground not far north of Seaside. Salvagers took away what they could, leaving only the metal ribs of its hull.

Peter Iredale shipwreck near Seaside, Oregon.

Depending on the tides, recent storm activity and other factors, you may be able to see more or less of the wreck. I found it eerie and romantic to walk around the skeleton of an old ship.

@dinkumtribe “Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. She was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River channel. Wreckage is still visible, making it a popular tourist attraction as one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.” (From Wikipedia). @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel ##shipwrecked##graveyardofthepacific##oregontravelideas##coolplaces##shipwreckbeach ♬ Beautiful Day – U2

The Shipwreck is one of many wonders of Fort Stevens State Park, which we discuss at length further down in this post, as well as in our Astoria post.

Kids climbing the wreck of the Peter Iredale on a sunny day.

2. Seaside Aquarium

The aquarium is housed in a historic building that is decidedly unimpressive. It’s one of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast of the United States, and the building was converted from an old indoor swimming pool and salt water bath center. Between the building and the low tech website, I didn’t expect much when my daughter begged me to take her here on our mother-daughter getaway.

I was mistaken—this place is fantastic! Reasonably priced for the entire family, and an excellent variety of marine life for such a small space. A couple of hours is more than enough time to see it all, but it was a worthwhile way to pass the time. 

Colorful marine life at the aquarium. The Seaside Aquarium is one of the best things to do with kids in Seaside, Oregon.


Here’s my daughter’s thoughts about this incredible Aquarium:

“The Most Fun Aquarium in All of Oregon!

Now, I know what you’re looking for. “What aquarium will teach you about the ocean, is worth your time and not far from your hotel, and doesn’t bore your kids to death?”

Believe me, this one is what you’ve been waiting for. Trust me, I’m a teenager, easily bored, and I loved every minute. Located at Seaside, Oregon, it’s small but awesome, right on the boardwalk, and only a short distance away from the Seaside Promenade. 10, 20 minutes walking time, 5 minutes by car, but it’s so worth it!

Crab in aquarium tank. The Seaside Aquarium is a highlight of any visit with kids to Seaside, Oregon.

Let me walk you through the Seaside Aquarium. 

Basic information about the Seaside Aquarium

First off, the entrance. It’s a big, wooden boards—style building, with a huge yellow sign. Can’t miss it.

Entrance to the Seaside Aquarium. One of the top favorite things to do with kids in Seaside, Oregon.

Then, once you go inside, you’ll see the first thing that makes this aquarium cool: The seals. They’re in a huge tank positioned helpfully right next to the entrance/exit, admission pay stand, and gift shop.

Admission is $9.00 for adults, $4.50 for kids ages 6-13, 5 yr olds are free if the rest of their group has paid admission (Woo-hoo!), Seniors (64+) are $7.75, and yes, they are wheelchair friendly and dog friendly. Families are $31.00 if there’s 6 of you. We’ll get to the gift shop later.

Marine animals

The highlight of the aquarium is the seals. There are 11 seals, all of which have different fun ways to get your attention. 

Parent Alert! Your kids are gonna want to feed them! It’s only $2.00 for a tray of sardines, but be prepared to get wet, as they will do anything to get a snack from you.

Girl with face mask and holding trays of sardines. One of the highlight of the Seaside Oregon Aquarium is feeding the seals.

There is also a giant orca over the entrance. Just a friendly heads-up so you don’t freak out!  Next up, a shelf full of aquatic animal skulls and other such things. Yawn. I thought it was cool, but most kids will probably be bored by that, so, moving on, the next thing you’ll see is a bunch of tanks!

Display of various marine animal skeletons and artifacts at the Seaside Aquarium in Oregon.

This aquarium has several types of fish, wolf eels, a moray eel, some sharks, (small ones, but still cool!) and a rather small octopus who likes hiding. I call him Fred. 😊 The information on whatever creature is in the tank you’re at is posted helpfully right above it!

Touch tanks and other tanks

@dinkumtribe Seaside Aquarium in #seasideoregon has touch pools where you cal interact with live #seaurchins ! #dinkumtribe_oregoncoast #oregonexplored ♬ Riding the Rainbow – Ken Miller

There are also 3 touch tanks! Complete with sea cucumbers, sea urchins (which can’t hurt you, but they will hug you if you rest your finger on them long enough,) sea anemones, crabs, all sorts of small creatures.

Finger touching sea anemone in touch tank. The aquarium in Seaside, Oregon has several touch tanks.

There’s also another tank in the touch area with baby fish in it, but, spoiler alert, you can’t pet them. ☹️ There’s all sorts of interesting things around the touch tank area, including shells from Japanese mollusks, and a giant 6-ft-long squid (preserved, not alive).

There’s also a large tank about three feet deep, with a giant Pacific octopus! Sadly, again, no touchy. However, it is pretty cool to watch.

Pacific octopus in tank. The Seaside Aquarium in Seaside Oregon is a favorite with kids.

History and more

For the fellow history nerds out there, this place does have history. Look for the funny-shaped tank. No more hints, though.

When you’re done, and your kids are thoroughly bored, don’t forget to check out Victor the Lobster on your way out. His weight and size may surprise you, but no spoilers here!

Other amazing stuff

Do not skip the gift shop. It’s really cool, and you can get all sorts of cool things for great prices. They have glass statues, Christmas ornaments, books, stuffies, toys, you name it. Your kids (and you!) are gonna love it, so give them time to save up!

Girl in front of window with whale skeleton. The Seaside Aquarium is one of the best things to do with kids in Seaside, Oregon.

Once you leave, don’t miss this amazing photo spot. On the outside wall–get this– on the outside wall facing the street, they have a (model? real? I don’t know!) whale skeleton on display! And a seal one! (Again, I dunno). And some other cool stuff! I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember that it was cool.

So people, put this on your vacation list when visiting Seaside Oregon with kids! It is definitely worth visiting! Have fun! ” -Burro


3. Stroll along the Seaside Promenade

Early morning view of the Seaside Promenade with no people.
Street lamps along the Promenade at Seaside

The boardwalk runs along the edge of the Seaside beach and the town. In roughly the middle, there’s a statue commemorating Lewis and Clark’s arrival at the Pacific Ocean, the final stop on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The roundabout at the Seaside Promenade with the statue of Lewis and Clark, and the sign indicating the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail

Walking along the Prom is a great way to enjoy the views after a meal, and yields incredible views of the sunset at the right time of day.

4. Quick stop: Lewis and Clark Salt Works

Lewis and Clark Salt Works. Part of the NPS Lewis and Clark units in Seaside, Oregon.
The Lewis and Clark Salt Works.

Towards the southern end of the Promenade, about a block away, you can peek at the Lewis and Clark salt works. There’s not much to see, but history buffs will enjoy the novelty. It’s also an easy stop to make if your kid is working on the Lewis and Clark National Park Junior Ranger badge.

5. Seaside Candyman salt water taffy

girl in candy store
There were SO MANY different flavors of saltwater taffy

I’m no fan of salt water taffy, but this place is worth visiting. With over 150 flavors of saltwater taffy, you’re sure to find something. It’s a kid’s dream world!

There’s also a little free crazy hall of mirrors right around the corner, which made for some funny pictures with my daughter.

6. Fort Clatsop National Park

Our son walking away from the Fort Clatsop replica

Fort Clatsop is one of a series of units for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail that thread along the Oregon and Washington Coast. This location is further inland, and is the spot where the Corps of Discovery made its winter encampment.

@dinkumtribe Fort Clatsop is one of our favorite places to visit on the Lewis and Clark Trail of National Historic sites. The walk from the reconstructed fort to the canoe landing on the Netul River is beautiful and showcases several different biomes along the way. #lewisandclark #traveltok #nationalhistoricsite #npsoftiktok #nationalparksusa #nationalparkservice #traveloregon #hikingwithkids @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel ♬ Acoustic Folk Instrumental – Yunusta

The Visitor center has excellent exhibits, and lots of trails to walk along. Unless it is pouring rain or freezing cold, this is a park you could enjoy most days.

Kids will love working on earning a wooden Junior Ranger badge here!

Our son shows off his Junior Ranger badges from Fort Clatsop.

It’s a short drive (20 minutes) from Seaside. Fun fact: there are plenty of elk in the area. We came upon an entire herd on our way back to our hotel!

@dinkumtribe Elk are a fairly common site along the Oregon coast, especially early in the morning, and towards the evening. These elk were less than 10 feet away from our van, even when we stopped to look at them. @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel #elk #oregonwildlife #oregoncoast #oregoncoastcheck #pnwonderland #pnwwildlife ♬ Beautiful Paradise – Aga Alamsyah

7. Funland Arcade and pizza

Good pizza, and something for everyone. We happily passed a couple hours playing video games and other arcade games. Fruit Ninja, Mario Kart, Guitar Hero – nearly all the most popular games and traditional favorites like air hockey and Skeeball.

Girl playing Fruit Ninja at the Funland Arcade in Seaside Oregon

Funland Arcade is walking distance from most of Seaside’s local hotels. It’s the perfect spot to hang out on rainy days.

8. Campfire on the beach

Boy on sand with campfire. Seaside Oregon has a beautiful beach that permits campfires.
My son thought this was one of the best things about the beach

We make a trip out to the beach at Seaside at least once every summer. Most recently we decided to bring wood and make a fire so the kids could roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Sheer happiness.

There’s always a lot of interesting things to find on the beach, from stranded jellyfish, to driftwood, to sand dollars. Lots of people dig for razor clams here too at low tide, although we haven’t yet attempted it.

jellyfish on sand
One of several jellyfish that washed ashore on the Seaside beach

There are decent changing rooms right below the Promenade, and parking in Seaside is generally not too much of a challenge.

Seaside postcard mural with girl in front. Visiting Seaside Oregon with kids is a great plan for a family vacation.

Here’s a list of Essentials For a Family Beach Packing List, so you can make the most of your Seaside Beach visit.

9. Times Theatre and Public House

Times Theatre and Public House in downtown Seaside Oregon.

This was a great spot to have lunch with my husband. The food was delicious and creative – we loved the sriracha bacon appetizer and the pretzel knots.

The building is an old theater, and they sometimes show movies there. When the movie is not playing, the stage has all the brewery apparatus on it. My understanding is that they also give brewing demonstrations.

10. Stroll along the Necanicum River boardwalk

girl and mom with coffee cups along boardwalk of Necanicum river in Seaside, oregon.
Happiness is a hot drink and a beautiful stroll with my daughter

There is a second, shorter boardwalk a few blocks up from the beach. The river walk is quiet and there are often ducks in the water, or shorebirds.

Necanicum River Boardwalk at dawn.

You can rent paddle boats and kayaks, but somehow we are never in Seaside when they are open. Guess we have a good reason to return!

A family paddles a swan paddle boat on the Necanicum River in Seaside.
Swan paddle boat on the Necanicum River in Seaside.

11. Captain Kid Amusement Park

Captain Kid Amusement Park is a small, family-owned amusement park located in Seaside, Oregon. It’s open from March to October, and offers a variety of rides and fun activities for all ages. 

Some of the rides and attractions at Captain Kid Amusement Park include: mini golf course, go-karts, small rollercoaster, helicopter/airplane ride, a water slide complex, bumper cars and a gem mining sluice. The park also has a covered area available to rent for parties.

Captain Kid Amusement Park sign as seen from Highway 101.

12. High Life Adventure Park

High Life Adventure Park is an aerial challenge course located in Seaside, Oregon. It’s open from May to September, and offers several courses for you and your kids and teens to climb, swing, and balance on.

With four levels of difficulty and over 50 different obstacles on the courses (zip lines, rope swings, balance beams, and ladders), it’s a great place to test your skills. Trained staff members can help you if you need some assistance and they’re on hand to ensure your safety.

People climbing the aerial challenge course at High Life Adventure Park.

High Life Adventure Park is one of the best places for adults and kids ages 4 and up to have fun and challenge themselves. 

13. Norma’s Seafood Restaurant

This place has a family friendly atmosphere, and award-winning clam chowder! We make a point of enjoying seafood when we are near the ocean, so we frequently have at least one meal here when we stay in Seaside Oregon with kids.

It’s a casual place, but also has enough variety so that the whole family can find something they’ll enjoy. Our kids usually order the grilled cheese, and they also steal the garlic toast from my plate. Norma’s is centrally located just steps off Broadway Street, which is the “main drag” for downtown Seaside.

5 great state parks near Seaside

14. Ecola State Park

View of the sea stacks from Ecola State Park.
View of the sea stacks from Ecola State Park

This park is located between Seaside and Cannon Beach, and it offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a popular spot for whale watching, and several times when we’ve visited, we’ve seen whales spouting just offshore.

Ecola SP also has excellent hiking trails, tide pools, and includes access to Indian Beach, one of the more secluded beaches on the Oregon Coast.

Our children overlooking the picnic area at Indian Beach.
Indian Beach

15. Fort Stevens State Park

This park is located just north of Seaside, and it was once a military fort. We spent several hours here, exploring the World War 2 barracks, military battlements and even the Civil War earthworks. There’s also an annual Civil War battle reenactment on Labor Day weekend (September).

Woman standing on a World War 2 firing gun.

This is a popular camping destination, and in the summer months the reservations fill up quickly. Disc golf, biking, hiking trails and access to the South Jetty Viewpoint of the mouth of the Columbia River make this a definite must-see!

16. Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site

Boy splashing in the waves.

This park is located south of Seaside, and it offers sandy beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and tidepooling. There are also hiking trails and a campground.

17. Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site

This park is located near Gearhart, Oregon. Its most unique feature is the horse trail that winds through the dunes.

18. Oswald West State Park 

Just south of Cannon Beach, Oswald West SP offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Short Sand Beach is a great spot for surfing or just playing in the waves. We had a great afternoon there, and the mile-long hike down is manageable for most kids.

@dinkumtribe One of the most beautiful beaches in Oregon! This beach requires a mile long hike through the rainforest, but the views are well worth it! @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel @DinkumTribe ADHD family travel #oregonbeach #beautifulbeach #beachwithkids #playingonthebeach #oregoncoastcheck ♬ Happiness – Yaniza

If you’re limited on time, drive up to Neahkanie Viewpoint near sunset. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down over the Oregon Coastline.

19. Dundee’s Donuts

Dundee's Bar with the Dundee's Donuts shop on the right (sign is obscured by a tree).
Dundee’s Bar with Dundee’s Donuts on the right.

Dundee’s Donuts is a locally owned and operated donut shop in Seaside, Oregon. It’s my favorite spot to grab a coffee and donut before a busy day of exploring the beach town. And what kid doesn’t like donuts? 

Dundee’s Donuts is known for its wide variety of donuts, including traditional favorites like glazed and chocolate donuts, as well as more unique creations like the Official Pink Dundee Donut and the Maple Bars. The donuts are made fresh daily using only the finest ingredients, and they are always cooked to perfection.

Coffee foam art.

Dundee’s Donuts also serves a variety of other baked goods, such as muffins, cookies, and croissants. They also offer a full coffee bar, featuring Sleepy Monk Coffee from Cannon Beach.

Seaside Carousel Mall as seen at night.

Right in the heart of downtown Seaside is the Seaside Carousel Mall. We love browsing its different unique shops, and grabbing a cup of coffee while the kids take a couple of spins on the beautiful carousel. There’s also an arcade and laser tag, so this is another fantastic spot to explore on a rainy day.

Girl on a carousel horse at the Seaside Carousel Mall.

21. Pig ‘N Pancake

Pig ‘N Pancake is a casual family dining restaurant located in the heart of Seaside, Oregon. The restaurant is known for its large menu of pancakes, including the signature Pig ‘N Pancake, which is a stack of six pancakes topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and a dollop of butter.

Pig 'N Pancake restaurant in Seaside

We stopped by for lunch, and my daughter loved the burger and fries! For lunch and dinner, Pig ‘N Pancake offers a variety of American dishes, including steaks, seafood, pasta dishes, and burgers. The restaurant also serves desserts, including pies, cakes, and shakes.

Girl eating a burger at Pig N' Pancake in Seaside Oregon.

22. Dooger’s Restaurant

Dooger’s Seafood & Grill is a popular seafood restaurant in Seaside, Oregon. It is known for its fresh seafood, casual atmosphere, and friendly service. We’ve enjoyed dinner there twice, and it’s quieter than some of the other casual dining options in Seaside.

My husband loves anything with crab, so the crab cakes are our standard appetizer. I prefer calamari, which Dooger’s also offers. We still talk about the amazing Diablo (spicy) shrimp we enjoyed on one visit! 

Dodgers Seafood and Grill in Downtown Seaside Oregon.

After dinner, enjoy a slice of key lime pie, or share a hot chocolate lava cake. If you’re willing to share, that is!

23. Seaside Outlet stores and Seaside Cinema

For families that love bargains, the Seaside Outlet stores have got it covered! Grab discounted items from brand names, and then finish off your shopping spree by catching the latest movie at the Seaside Cinema. We’ve watched two of The Hobbit movies there when we vacationed without kids, and it’s a nice quiet theater.

Visiting Seaside Oregon with kids

Girl burying a boy in the sand at the Seaside Beach.

Seaside has so much to offer families! Exploring the city of Seaside Oregon with kids will make for a memorable and fun family vacation. And if you’re looking for a family-friendly hotel in Seaside, we highly recommend the River Inn at Seaside (read our full review here).

When you’re done exploring this adorable little coastal town, drive half an hour north to Astoria, Oregon and check it out. Or drive a few hours south and check out Rockaway Beach or Pacific City, Oregon!

© Copyright 2022 Jennifer D. Warren and Burro Dinkum. Updated April 22, 2024.

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About the author

I’m Jenn Warren, Co-Founder and Content Creator for Dinkum Tribe. I'm a Third Culture Kid (TCK) from Jamaica and California, married to my college sweetheart. I've been a missionary kid, pastor’s kid and (former) pastor’s wife. My husband and I traveled as pastors for 12 years throughout the United States and Canada before becoming travel content creators.

I love living in Oregon and exploring new places with my family. We’ve road tripped over 30,000 miles across the United States and Western Canada with our six children since their infancy. Prior to our marriage, I also lived in Spain for a summer and spent another summer in Mexico.

I’ve homeschooled our six children for over 10 years, and served on the board of a homeschool co-op for 4 years. Several members of our family are neurodivergent (gifted, ADHD, cPTSD), and I’ve spent 5+ years learning how to accommodate neurodivergent needs as well as supporting the resultant mental health challenges (anxiety, depression).

I’ve also served as a support group leader and co-director of Pure Life Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports families struggling with sexual addiction.

I write about family travel and road trips, millennial marriage, general parenting, homeschooling, parenting neurodivergent children, grief, and abuse recovery.


    1. Thanks for reading! The Oregon Coast is amazing – glad we live within easy driving distance.

    1. Yes it is! We’ve spent several weekends together just my husband and I also. Can’t lose with the beach!

    1. Oregon is one of the most underrated states, in my opinion. Hope you can come see for yourself sometime!

  1. I think I would head straight for the funland area for some games and pizza! I love that. This is so helpful for those family adventures in the rain.

  2. Yay for cooking sausages on the beach on chilly days! My parents used to do this with us in Ireland and it is one of my fondest memories as a kid!

    The Oregon coast line is sooo beautiful! I love that there are things like the aquarium and the wreck of the Peter Iredale, so there is plenty to visit, even in colder weather.

  3. Seaside looks like such a fun destination to visit with the family! I would love to explore more of the Oregon Coast. It looks like there is so much to do! Thanks for sharing this awesome guide.

  4. I don’t even have kids, but I still find it helpful! Better than any other articles out there, so thank you for putting it together!

  5. Great post! They all look like really fun places to visit, but the shipwreck looks the most intriguing to me 🙂

  6. Seaside, Oregon looks like the best place for kids, especially with that aquarium and the Candyman place! It’s always fun when there are interactive things to do like touching and feeding animals.The Shipwreck looks awesome! 🙂

  7. I love how well-documented this is! The wreck of the Peter Iredale is definitely something I’d want to see one day!

  8. I loved reading your daughter’s thoughts – kids’ minds are simply the best! Can totally see why the kids would enjoy all these activities on your list!

  9. The shipwreck and the campfire on the beach scream childhood to me! Fantastic guide, I love that there are great indoor options if it rains too.

  10. I can see how all of these activities would be a delight for any child! Count me in for campfires in the beach!

  11. I liked everything about your list except for the following sentence, (please remove the dead seal from the list of fun things to find on the beach. )

    “There’s always a lot of fun things to find on the beach, from stranded jellyfish, to a dead seal, to sand dollars”

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