What comes to mind when we say, “kid-friendly beach town 70 miles from Portland?” If you’re thinking Seaside, you’re almost right. Just two miles north of Seaside lies a sleepy little beach town with just enough activity to keep everyone in the family happy without frying your nerves. We’re talking about Gearhart, your next family day trip destination. Gearhart is no major metropolis. If you happen to sneeze while driving by, you just might miss it entirely. It would be a crying shame if you did because Gearhart is gem of a town.
Gearhart boasts the oldest public golf course this side of the MIssissippi and it happens to be a stone’s throw from a deliciously quiet beach. The tiny downtown strip is sprinkled with art galleries and shops and the town bakery offers some of the most tantalizingly flakey pastries outside of Paris, France. If golf and sand castles aren’t enough excitement for you, the town bowling alley is open 7 days a week. And if the weather’s behaving, grab your bike and toodle around town, or take a hike.
Where To Stay
The rooms at McMenamin’s Gearhart Hotel are cozy and comfortable but fairly basic. The place does have it’s benefits. Each room is equipped with a quart jar so you can grab some of their craft brewed beer from downstairs and enjoy it in your room. With live music every friday and a full restaurant with outdoor seating in nice weather, you can catch breakfast, lunch, or dinner without leaving the hotel. For larger broods, the Gearhart Ocean Inn has one and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens. There are also many fine offerings for rental houses and condos on VRBO all close to the beach.
Fill ‘Em Up
You won’t want to miss the clam chowder and artisanal pizzas at Pacific Way Café but it would be a downright crime to leave Gearhart without tasting the ridiculously delicious morning pastries at the adjacent Pacific Way Bakery. Grab a hearty plate of classic American diner food at Gearhart Junction Café. For breakfast they serve up fresh biscuits and pick-your-poison omelettes. A beach vacation wouldn’t be complete without an afternoon scoop and Pop’s Sweet Shop has got you covered. Homemade waffle cones, and fresh baked scones with jam. Don’t forget to take home some fudge.
Fun Factoid: James Beard vacationed in Gearhart as a small boy where he developed a love of Pacific Northwest seafood and wild berries.
Get Your Shop On
Discover local talent at the Trail’s End Art Association or find an antique treasure at Ike & Debbie’s Red Barn. Watch nationally known artist John Cook blow glass in his studio before picking up one of his famous fish glasses from the studio shop. Grab a gift for someone special (like you!) from the selection of locally crafted goods at Pacific Crest Cottage.
Raining Here? Never Fear, Pool is Near
Too cold and wet for the beach? Take your flippers indoors. The Sunset Empire Pool in Seaside just east of 101 on Broadway has 3 indoor pools and is well worth venturing into touristy Seaside for. The 90° learner pool is heavenly and there are loads of floaties and balls to play with in the water. Be sure to check the schedule, open swim times for each pool only happen one to two hours per day.
Have a favorite spot in Gearhart that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credits: Sand Trap Pub photo from McMenamin’s website, girl with ice cream cone from Pop’s Sweet Shop website.