The Getaway
Discover the Magic of Cannon Beach

Blink, and you might mistake Cannon Beach, Oregon, for Hawaii. It's the kind of place we'd choose to land if we were from another planet—the beauty is undeniable, the forest could hide a spaceship, and the locals are tolerant of quirky out-of-towners. There's also loads going on throughout the year, whatever your interests. Check the calendar, and book a mini trip ASAP for rest, relaxation, and the best change of scenery you could hope for.

Advertisement

01 Haystack Rock

Near downtown Cannon Beach, the town's most recognizable natural feature struts out of the water. It's close enough to the shore you can walk right up to and around the 235-foot rock formation when the tide is super low after a new moon. The eroding volcanic monolith, also known as "The Rock," is a million years old and a protected Marine Garden. Assigned locals guide visitors to spot the fauna and nesting birds without compromising the habitat. It's a wonderful initiative that enriches the experience of everyone who visits.

Sunset on Sea stack formations off the town of Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast Don White/ Getty Images

02 Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park rewards visitors with sensational views and a different perspective of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. There are short and long trails among old-growth rainforests, secluded beaches, and picnic areas. Simply driving up offers a good vantage point if you have mobility issues or are traveling with seniors or little kids, and dogs are welcome too. Parking will cost you five dollars, but it's arguably the best money you'll spend while in town. You can spot Roosevelt elk, bald eagles, the Tillamook Rock lighthouse, and filming locations for The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.

A woman hiking a secluded path along the coastline. Jordan Siemens/ Getty Images

03 Hug Point State Recreation Area

Hug point is a family-friendly spot with a shaded cove where you could while away an entire day. You can explore sea caves, a mini waterfall, and what's left of an old road at low tide. Frolic in the tide pools with starfish, gather shells for sandy constructions, sunbathe, or go fishing. It's free and a favorite in good weather.

04 Whale watching

Visit Cannon Beach during the off-season in winter and spring, and you may see one of the approximately 18,000 gray whales that migrate along the coast. If you're staying at a hotel with ocean views, you can enjoy a warm beverage while using binoculars to view these marine mammals better.

A young girl on a whale watching excursion looks through binoculars to find a whale Pete Ark/ Getty Images

05 Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach is accessible from Ecola State Park, but you'll need to hike two miles to reach Chapman Point through vibrantly green woods of Sitka spruce and another two miles to return to the parking lot at Ecola Point. When you arrive at your destination, it's not unusual to see pelicans, seals, and sea lions in the water.

Late afternoon view of Crescent Beach from Ecola State Park along the Oregon Coast. Lidija Kamansky/ Getty Images

06 Art scene

Cannon Beach offers plenty, even if you don't enjoy long hikes or getting sand between your toes. This is an art town with galleries, public art walking tours, historic cottages, author events, arts programs, numerous festivals, and a museum all about nursing. There's also a pretty intense sandcastle contest that's been a local tradition for at least half a century.

07 Icefire Glassworks

Studios like this one are great for pretending you're in Middle Earth waiting for someone to forge a crucial piece of equipment. In this case, you'll be browsing or buying hand-blown glass ornaments for your wall niches. Icefire's been making and selling unique pieces for over four decades, and you can purchase beads, jewelry, vases, bowls, and sculptures. The studio closes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

08 Spruce Street shopping

Few holidays are complete without a bit of retail therapy. New places allow you to find items you might not get back home and are a wonderful reminder of a destination. You'll find boutique stores on Spruce Street and some familiar brands. You'll also find a range of eateries to grab a bite after hauling shopping bags around.

09 Coaster Theatre Playhouse

Support the local community theatre and the artists that perform there by buying tickets to one of the live performances. The venue is a former roller skating rink right in the middle of town. Every comfy seat has good views, and the acoustics are on point whether you're there for a band or a play.

10 North coast food trail

The salty sea air and hours spent on beaches are bound to make anyone hungry. Luckily, the North Coast Food Trail caters to every palate. Chefs, bakers, and beer makers dot the North Oregon coast and serve diners the freshest local produce. You can look forward to seafood, a Tuesday farmer's market, and cooking lessons at EVOO Cooking School.

11 Scout for puffins

Puffin

When spring unfurls its wings along Cannon Beach, it brings an air of excitement not just for the visitors but for its feathery denizens too. Around April to July, the grassy north face of Haystack Rock becomes a bustling home for tufted puffins. These charming birds, with their distinctive bright yellow tufts, nest and nurture their young, offering a rare glimpse into their vibrant lives. Grab your binoculars and join the Haystack Rock Awareness Program for a closer look at these adorable puffins, making your beach visit unforgettable.

Advertisement

12 Try surfing or watch surfers at local beaches

The spirited waves of Cannon Beach beckon adventurers to brave its waters on a surfboard. For those willing to don a wetsuit, surfing lessons are available for all skill levels, offering a chance to glide alongside the Pacific's gentle giants. And if you'd rather stay dry, there's no shortage of spots to watch the local surf culture in action. Indian Beach and Short Sands Beach are popular among surfers, providing an exhilarating spectacle for onlookers and an inspiring invitation for future wave riders.

13 Have a beach bonfire

As the sun dips below the horizon, the beaches of Cannon Beach transform into a network of twinkling lights and warm glows, thanks to the cherished tradition of beach bonfires. Families, friends, and couples gather around crackling fires, roasting marshmallows, and sharing stories under the starlit sky. This quintessential Pacific Northwest experience not only warms the body but also kindles connections, making every bonfire a unique tale etched in the sands of time.

14 Brewery hop in Cannon Beach

After a day of saltwater and sandy toes, the allure of Cannon Beach's breweries becomes irresistible. The town might be small, but its craft beer scene is mighty, offering an array of local brews that capture the spirit of the coast. Pelican Brewing and Public Coast are must-visits for beer aficionados, where the hoppy delights and coastal ambiance blend seamlessly, providing a perfect setting to unwind and toast to the day's adventures.

15 Explore the town's adorable shops

Cannon Beach's charm is magnified by its array of boutique shops and galleries, each telling its own story through unique merchandise and local art. Wandering through the town, you'll stumble upon Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, where sweet treats are crafted with love, and the cozy nooks of Cannon Beach Book Co., offering a curated selection of reads. These shops not only offer souvenirs but also memories, making every purchase a keepsake of your time spent in this enchanting coastal village.

Share

Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.
Advertisement
Advertisement