Oregon : Safety by City
- Baker City
- Coos Bay
- Hood River
- Klamath Falls
- La Grande
- Lincoln City
Seaside, Oregon, is the quintessential Pacific seaside community.
On this section of the coast, you’ll get rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and scenic views.
This isn’t the typical sandy beach escape you’d expect in a place like Southern California.
This iconic town beckons with its iconic Promenade, a playground of sunbathers, surfers, and cotton candy dreams.
But beyond its charm, Seaside also offers an abundance of outdoor activities for hikers and history buffs.
You can explore the aquarium or get your hands dirty by clamming.
Ride the waves or relax on a trolley ride.
This region was first home to the Clatsop Indigenous peoples.
Lewis & Clark’s Expedition arrived in 1805.
Rail tycoon Ben Holladay built the Seaside House in 1899, sparking tourism – that’s where the city’s name comes from.
The iconic Promenade followed in 1912, solidifying Seaside’s beach town identity.
Before you dive into Seaside’s vibrant embrace, let’s explore the safest paths to navigate its enchanting yet sometimes unpredictable shores.
Warnings & Dangers in Seaside
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Seaside, but I definitely need to explain that one, because crime data out there makes it look worse than it is. With so many things to do, there are many ways to have an excellent Seaside escape, but you also need to know the specific safety steps we'll discuss in this article.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
You can get a rental car in Portland, but there are also options like NorthWest Point - a bus service from Portland. Seaside has a streetcar system that runs on weekends. However, the town is very walkable. Pedicabs are also available.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
While the risk is technically low with just seven pickpockets or purse snatchings in the past five years, you should always treat busy places like this with a medium risk. Car break-ins, property thefts, and shoplifting are more common but also show you that people capable of theft are around you.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Seaside faces a triple threat: powerful earthquakes, tsunami waves, and winter storms. Cascadia's subduction zone quake risks are high, with the potential for devastating tsunamis. Coastal erosion and storm surges pose ongoing threats, while winter blizzards can bring power outages and floods. In reality, the biggest issues that would more likely impact your travel are flash flooding and power outages from coastal storms. It's a medium risk, so please stay weather-aware.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
We're going to dive into this a little deeper later in this article, but on the surface, it looks like robberies are a problem here with a rate 115% higher than the national average. In reality, there were 12 robberies in 2022. The risk is low, especially with just two of those being highway robberies. However, it's worth mentioning that the number of robberies has doubled over the past few years.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
While Portland is close by, this region is still remote and rugged - there's nothing that would attract the attention of international terrorists. The Mexican cartels are in Seaside, but unless you're involved in drug activity, you likely won't notice. You should always be aware of your surroundings and report anything suspicious.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
Treat this as a medium risk, especially if you are looking to rent a home. Many rental scams have been reported, including from sites like Craigslist. These scammers take photos and information about a home and post it online. Then, they demand payment upfront or through a wire transfer. When the guest arrives, the visitor finds out the home isn't available or isn't owned by that person, and is left without a place to stay. Look for rentals recommended by the tourism bureau and, when in doubt, back out. Anything that seems too good to be true usually is.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Seaside is known for getting a bit rowdy, especially on holiday weekends and during spring break. Trash can litter the ground, too, which might not be that safe for moms with small kids. While the risk is low, it only stays that way if you use smart personal safety steps.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The United States has strict water quality protocols, and all communities are required to report testing and contaminants yearly. While the city hasn't posted its report online since 2020, you can ask for a copy of it by calling (503) 738-5112. The risk is low, but always pay attention during flooding or power outages when utilities can be impacted.
Safest Places to Visit in Seaside
Seasideor.com is the official tourism website for the region.
A visitor’s guide is available, but you have to give personal information to view it.
You can also sign up for newsletters to get updates on events and other noteworthy items.
The iconic Seaside Promenade is a must-visit.
Stroll along the boardwalk, indulge in classic boardwalk fare like cotton candy and funnel cakes, and enjoy the vibrant street performers.
The “turnaround” is a circular section for cars, but there’s an epic view with a safety wall waiting for you.
Climb the 300-foot Tillamook Head Lighthouse for breathtaking ocean views.
The surrounding Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail offers stunning hikes through coastal forests and tide pools.
Dive into the underwater world at the Seaside Aquarium.
Explore exhibits showcasing local marine life, from playful sea otters to majestic octopuses.
You can also feed the seals here.
Step back in time at Camp 18 Museum.
Learn about the history of Fort Stevens and the coastal defense system, browse military artifacts, and explore the original gun batteries.
You’ll have 8–10 miles of waterfront fun when considering the tidelands and the Necanicum River estuary.
Clamming, surfing, kayaking, and boating are popular activities here.
In fact, some of the best surfing conditions in the Pacific Northwest await.
(But get lessons if you’re not skilled at surfing.)
Hikers have several options to consider, from the beach to a rainforest.
- Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail
- Fort to Sea Trail
- Oswald West State Park
If you’re adding Olympic National Park to your Seaside adventure, plan to travel 225 miles to get there.
Places to Avoid in Seaside
The places to avoid in Seaside will be obvious, such as homeless camps, rowdy areas, or private property.
There aren’t neighborhoods too dangerous to visit, but it’s wise to stay in the tourist areas where there’s plenty of lighting and security.
While enjoying the coastline, avoid turning your back to the sea.
Large waves can easily knock you off your feet.
It’s also worth noting that the crowds and traffic here can be intense.
It’s one of the biggest coastal tourist communities in Oregon.
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway from a hectic life, this might not be the ideal place for you.
Expect large crowds in the summer, during holiday weekends (or any weekend for that matter), and when the weather is warm and sunny.
Finally, avoid getting this Seaside confused with the 30 or so other communities with a similar name in America.
Seaside, California is in Monterey Bay and can be easily confused with Oregon’s Seaside.
To confirm you are looking at the right place, look for the area code 503 or 971.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Seaside
- Seaside does have its own police department, but it’s a small force – especially considering the number of visitors. You can call them at (503) 738-6311 if you have specific safety questions.
- I’d also recommend keeping the contact information of the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office close by – that main number is (503)325-8635. You can also follow them on Facebook @ClatsopSO.Oregon. They work in tandem with local police as needed.
- Sign up for ClatsopAlerts through the emergency management section of the county’s website. They want to make it clear that, “We will only use this tool when there is a life-threatening emergency, and we need to immediately notify residents.”
- For specific Seaside alerts, use the Nixle program to get updates. I love this tool because you’re getting the information at the same time as the local media, so there’s no delay in information. Plus, it’s free.
- If you’re spending time in remote areas or camping, it’s worth the investment to get a NOAA Weather Radio. This works regardless of a mobile signal or Wi-Fi availability. The only thing you need to do is make sure you have enough batteries for it.
- You’ll need to know the tide schedule while you’re here. I’ve researched the Oregon Coast extensively and there are sea caves and trails that become inaccessible during high tide. You could end up trapped on a stretch of secluded land until the tide lowers, or worse yet, in a life-or-death situation.
- Beachcombing is popular along the Oregon Coast but always confirm with a lifeguard, park ranger, or resort manager if it is allowed at a specific location. Never take a shell that has a creature still inside.
- Bring water shoes with thick soles, as the beaches and cliffs here have some gnarly edges. As a clamming community, you’d be surprised how sharp those shells can be just under a small layer of sand.
- Fishing and boating require specific licenses and permits, so you’ll need to check with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife to get that information. You should also know that clamming requires a specific permit, and the fishing license doesn’t cover it.
- Seaside has a mix of free and paid parking, but expect to pay the closer you get to the water. I’d recommend using the abundance of free parking lots and garages, as the vendors who operate paid parking can set their own rates, and it’s likely to be pricey.
So... How Safe Is Seaside Really?
On the surface, Seaside looks unsafe.
The violent crime rate is 163% higher than the state average and 113% higher than the national average.
On top of that, violent crime rates soared 172% between 2018 and 2022.
Theft rates shatter the national average, coming in nearly 500% higher.
If you sense the “but” coming, you’re perceptive.
The trouble with tourist towns and crime data is the lack of context and accounting for the visitors.
Crime data is crunched by the number of crimes vs. population.
Then, it’s tallied to be “XX crimes per 100,000 people.”
Seaside has both of those things working against it with a town of 7,100 people.
With millions of people coming through the community annually AND the fact that a few crimes one way or another can greatly impact the “per 100,000” people numbers, you deserve to know the truth.
It’s true that violent crime more than doubled between 2021 and 2022 – with 24 incidents in 2021 and 60 in 2022.
However, 60 violent crimes in a town that sees millions of people isn’t that concerning.
On top of that, about one in three crimes happen against a stranger.
That lowers your risk.
About one in five happens in private homes, but keep in mind that this could include a rental home.
Thefts are up 287% compared to 2018 – with 174 happening in 2018 and 587 happening in 2022.
Again, factor in millions of people, and that number doesn’t seem TOO scary, but it’s worth noting and acting accordingly.
20% of those thefts are car break-ins, which come with a simple solution – lock your car and don’t leave personal belongings inside, not even rental car paperwork with personal information.
Another 28% are related to shoplifting.
One in three thefts falls into the “other” category, which could be a stolen beach bag or property at a campsite.
One crime concern you shouldn’t ignore is illegal drugs.
Mexican cartels use the convenience of I-5 to infiltrate tourist towns.
If you stay away from drugs, that’s not going to be a problem for you – but it does emphasize the importance of protecting your stuff, as people dealing with drug issues get desperate and might steal things.
There are too many great things here to let a lack of awareness or common sense get in the way.
However, you must know the context behind the crime data and some websites over-embellish the problems here.
Hopefully, I’ve been able to help you with that.
How Does Seaside Compare?
|New York City
|Santiago de Chile (Chile)
A visa or visa waiver is required for all international guests. The tourist visa takes the longest processing time, so start planning now. If you are eligible for the waiver, that's the easiest route. A passport that is valid for at least six months is also required.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. I'd recommend confirming your credit card can be used internationally and checking the foreign currency transaction fees. Credit cards provide the best fraud and identity theft protection. If you do want to carry cash, get it before you arrive in this tourist town, where fees will be high.
Pack layers for Seaside's fickle weather! Sun-kissed days dance with cool evenings, so layers are your best friends. Think comfy tees, a light jacket, and a cozy sweater. Don't forget a swimsuit for beachy bliss, sturdy shoes for exploring tide pools, and sandals for strolling the iconic promenade. Toss in a hat and sunscreen for sunny adventures, and a rain jacket for surprise downpours.
Portland International Airport (PDX) is the closest commercial airport, and it's about an hour's drive through the mountains. Be sure you don't get that confused with Portland International Jetport, which is in Maine, 3,000 miles away. It will take you about three hours to get to Seattle if you're flying out of SeaTac. Seaside does have its own airport, but it's for charter flights if you'd like to explore that option (seasideairport.org).
Travel insurance is highly recommended for tourist regions to protect against severe weather, theft, breakdowns, cancelations, or delays. Be sure you have supplemental health insurance if you aren't covered in the United States.
Seaside Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oregon - Safety by City