Seaside has been the Northwest United States' most popular ocean resort for over a century and is located just 90 minutes from Portland, Oregon. It is a destination paradise with spectacular ocean views, miles of public beach, unique natural setting, plethora of outdoor activities, mild ocean climate, year-round events, excellent shopping, and unforgettable dining.
As the end of the Lewis and Clark trail, Seaside is a national landmark. This event is commemorated by a statue of Lewis and Clark and a reconstructed salt makers’ camp site. Seaside has a long history of being a tourist destination – the city has been a "beach playground" for 150 years.
The site of Seaside was first inhabited by the Clatsop Indians whose ancestors had lived for thousands of years before the coming of the white man. Clatsop Indians were non-nomadic people; fourteen Clatsop villages are known to have existed. The native people gathered berries, fished for salmon, collected clams and mussels, and hunted whales and sea lions for meat.
The history of Seaside is connected with the discovery and development of the Columbia River. The river was first sited in 1775 by the Spanish navigator Bruno de Hezeta (aka Heceta) who mistook the estuary for an inland bay, although its seething currents indicated to him that "it may be the mouth of some great river or some passage to another sea." He did not attempt to enter.
On October 16, 1805, Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery reached the Columbia and viewed the Pacific Ocean on November 7. Their winter campsite, named Fort Clatsop, was constructed on the bank of the Lewis & Clark River. Supplies were depleted by the time they reached the Columbia and several months would be needed to prepare for the return trip. Desperately needing salt now to cure and preserve a meat supply and for their personal use, the expedition sent five of its men to find a beach site for salt making. The camp was established some 15 miles south of Fort Clatsop near the mouth of the Necanicum River, the present site of Seaside. The camp was comfortable; deer and elk were plentiful for meat; and some 2 to 3 gallons of salt a day could be extracted when the kettles were boiled constantly.
In 1850, Seaside's first guest house was opened and in 1870 Ben Holladay, a prominent Portland land developer and railroad builder, purchased that property and built a luxury hotel. He named the resort Seaside House, officially labeling Seaside as a travel destination.