Gearhart vs. Seaside Oregon: What’s the Difference

Heading to the Northern Oregon coast? You’re likely sifting through charming waterfront towns laced together by sea stacks and Pacific mist, trying to decide where to bide your time. Gearhart and Seaside are two gems along the Oregon coast waiting to be discovered. But how does one choose between the two? The truth is, you don’t have to. 

When planning your next coastal escape, consider booking one of the exquisite Gearhart vacation rentals. From there, it’s just a short jaunt from Gearhart to Seaside, allowing you to experience the serene charm of Gearhart while still being close enough to dive into Seaside’s bustling attractions. Discover the best of both worlds, and let the waves guide your unforgettable journey.

Gearhart or Seaside? A Little Bit About Both

Seaside, Oregon is a name that resonates with many as a quintessential coastal destination, brimming with vibrant boardwalks, historic landmarks, and an abundance of recreational activities. Whether it’s the delightful carousel for the kids, the unique shops, or the expansive sandy beaches perfect for bonfires and kite flying, Seaside is a hub of excitement and fun. 

On the other hand, just a few miles north lies Gearhart, a tranquil oasis known for its serene beaches, dune grasses swaying in the sea breeze, and a more laid-back, undisturbed atmosphere. It’s a place where one can truly relax, rejuvenate, and soak in the natural beauty of the Oregon coast.

The distance from Gearhart to Seaside is roughly a short 10 minute drive, making the journey between these two towns incredibly accessible. Whether you’re up for a scenic bike ride, a leisurely walk, or a short drive, transitioning from the calm of Gearhart to the lively vibes of Seaside is effortless. This proximity allows visitors to shift from an exhilarating afternoon of arcade games and paddle boating in Seaside to a quiet evening stroll on Gearhart’s pristine beaches.

Staying in Gearhart presents an unparalleled experience for visitors looking to enjoy the best of both towns. Gearhart vacation rentals offer the comfort and solitude of a coastal retreat, coupled with the convenience of being just a stone’s throw away from Seaside’s bustling attractions. Imagine waking up to the gentle sound of waves in a picturesque Gearhart home, then heading to Seaside for a day of fun and adventure, and rounding it off with a peaceful sunset back in Gearhart. It truly offers the best of both worlds.

Things To Do in Gearhart

Gearhart, with its mix of natural beauty and charming establishments, is a destination that promises a memorable escape for all who visit. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history buff, or someone looking for a tranquil coastal retreat, Gearhart has something for everyone.

Gearhart Beach
Photo by Paul Buffington on Unsplash

Outdoor Activities

  • Marvel at the Gearhart Elk, a mesmerizing local herd of about 200 coastal elk that roams the area.
  • Dive into the world of avian wonders with bird watching at the Gearhart Necanicum Estuary.
  • Engage in a sporty afternoon by teeing off at the Gearhart Golf Links, a historic 129-year-old golf course.
  • Experience the town on two wheels with a bike ride through town or along its picturesque beach.
  • Charter a boat for an adventurous day of salmon or sturgeon fishing.
  • Serve and volley at the Gearhart Public Course with a game of tennis.
  • If you’re up for a physical challenge, choose from several great hikes in and near Gearhart, like the Gearhart Ridge Path, Saddle Mountain Trailhead, or Young’s River Falls.
  • For water enthusiasts, go kayaking or paddling in Newanna Creek, Necanium River, Sunset Lake, and Cullaby Lake.
Photo Credit: ‘Lewis & Clark National Historical Park – Fort Clatsop’ by Edward Stojakovic via CC BY 4.0 DEED

Sightseeing & Attractions

  • Feel the salt in your hair as you explore Del Rey Beach.
  • Relive history with a trip to the Peter Iredale shipwreck by driving on the beach.
  • Unwind and refresh with a dip at the Gearheart Resort’s swimming pool.
  • Step back in time and learn about the pioneers at the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park.

Dining & Shopping

  • Satiate your taste buds with delicious fare at the legendary McMenamins Sand Trap Bar & Grill.
  • Indulge in some retail therapy with a visit to the old-fashioned stores and boutique shops on Pacific Way.

Unique Experiences

  • Try your hand at digging for razor clams on the beach – a fun activity that’s also a taste of the local lifestyle.

Things To Do in Seaside

With a blend of natural wonders, historical treasures, and urban delights, Seaside, Oregon is a destination that promises rich experiences and lasting memories. Whether you’re an adventurer, a history buff, or a leisure seeker, Seaside beckons with open arms.

Photo Credit: ‘Volleyball on the Beach Seaside, Oregon’ by Seaside Visitors Bureau via CC BY-NC 4.0 DEED

Outdoor Activities

  • Walk the historical Turnaround, known as “The End of the Lewis and Clark Trail.”
  • Get adventurous with kayaking or paddling in the Necanicum River or Broadway Park.
  • Embark on biking adventures, ranging from five to 42 miles on trails such as the Crown Camp Loop, Lewis & Clark Mainline, or the 500 Mainline.
  • Immerse in nature with hikes on the Tillamook Head, Saddle Mountain, or Mill Ponds.
Photo by Gilles Lambert on Unsplash

  • Catch some waves surfing or savor a picturesque sunset from The Cove.
  • Experience the thrill of surfing, kiteboarding, or skimboarding on Seaside Beach.
  • Challenge yourself on the aerial ropes course with 50 obstacles at High Life Adventure Park.
  • For some family fun, head to Captain Kid Amusement Park for go-karts, bumper cars, rock climbing, and mini-golf.
  • Observe or participate in the local art of crabbing on the 12th Avenue bridge.

Sightseeing & Attractions

  • Play timeless games at the iconic Funland Arcade Corner.
  • Engage with marine life by feeding seals at the Seaside Aquarium.
  • Dive into history at the Seaside Historic Museum with tales of local mining, the Tillamook Lighthouse, Seaside’s railroad past, and Native American culture.
  • Visit vibrant wildlife habitats like Jewell Meadows and the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Take memorable vacation photos at The Inverted Experience.
  • Explore the rich past at The Salt Works, learning about Lewis & Clark’s innovative ways to make ocean water potable and suitable for preserving meat.
  • Play a round or two at the lush Seaside Golf Club.
  • Tour the picturesque town aboard a vintage Seaside Streetcar.
  • Delve into local history by visiting the renovated 1912 Butterfield Cottage or admiring architecture at the Clatsop County Historical Society.
  • For those interested in logging history, a trip to the Camp 18 logging museum is a must.
  • Immerse yourself in numerous local events, from the Miss Oregon pageant to kite festivals and music extravaganzas.

Dining & Shopping

  • Indulge in retail therapy at Gilbert District shops, the vibrant Seaside Carousel Mall, or hunt for deals at the Seaside Factory Outlet Center.
  • Savor local flavors at the Seaside Farmers Market, showcasing organic cheeses, grass-fed meats, and artisanal treats.
  • Embark on a culinary journey with the North Coast Food Trail, discovering Seaside’s sustainable eateries, bakeries, and breweries.

Get The Best of Both Worlds

The allure of the Oregon coast is undeniable, with each town offering its unique charm and treasures. While Seaside buzzes with activity and vibrant attractions, Gearhart envelops visitors in its serene embrace, providing a tranquil base to recharge and rejuvenate. Choosing Gearhart as your stay doesn’t mean missing out on the excitement of Seaside; it simply means enjoying the best of both worlds. 

By staying in Gearhart, you’re perfectly positioned to soak up its peaceful ambiance while still being a stone’s throw away from Seaside’s bustling attractions. So, as you ponder your coastal getaway, rest assured that Gearhart is the idyllic starting point to experience everything the Oregon coast, including Seaside, has to offer.