The Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountain Range cradles Cannon Beach, one of Oregon’s coastal cities known for its forested bluffs, towering monoliths and miles of pristine, sandy beaches, the latter earning it accolades as one of “Americas Best Beaches.” The dramatic Cannon Beach coastline offers an inspiring mélange of nature: sand, ocean, mountains, rock, and birds, all of which bring tourists flocking to this popular beach town, 90 minutes west of Portland. Sunset in Canon Beach, OR — Photo courtesy of Adam Sawyer/Oregon Coast Visitors Association
Arrive at Cannon Beach and you’ll not want for things to do, but to jump-start your Oregon vacation, we’ve compiled our 10best reasons Cannon Beach is a great beach town.
- Did we mention nearly 4 miles of pristine beach? Building sand castles, sunbathing, bird watching, swimming, skim boarding, picnicking – it’s up to you to decide.
- The massive Haystack Rock rises 235 feet above the surf as one of the most photographed rocks in the world. It is the state’s most famous landmark, the third largest monolith in the world, and one of the largest sea stacks on the Pacific Coast.Haystack and Needles - Canon Beach, OR — Photo courtesy of Lucy Gibson/Oregon Coast Visitors Association
- More a 17-million-year-old lava block, Haystack Rock is also a protected National Wildlife Refuge and Marine Garden, home to countless species of nesting birds, including gulls and tufted puffins. Bald eagles also flock here to feed, and the rock base is home to a collection of marine life, such as sea anemones, urchins and crabs.
- Standing 133 feet above sea level with 62-foot-high tower on a rocky island is the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Built in 1881, the lighthouse is located 2 miles north of Cannon Beach, inaccessible to the public, but a sight to behold from Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach.
- Take the paved road from Cannon Beach to Ecola State Park for year-round activities from hiking to bird watching. Wind through towering spruce to emerge upon a picture-worthy view of the Pacific Ocean, surfers riding the waves at Indian Beach, and, during winter and spring, migrating gray whales.
- The fee-free, 43-acre Hug Point State Recreation Site is 5 miles south of Cannon Beach along U.S. Route 101, formerly used as a “highway” for 19th century stagecoaches. Take the sloping path to the beach where caves in sandstone cliffs along the south side are also the location of a seasonal waterfall.
- An array of distinctive art galleries by internationally celebrated artists has given the seaside village of Cannon Beach a reputation as one of the 100 best arts towns in America.
- When the sun sets or the heat gets too much, shop in the Cannon Beach’s open-air beach front pedestrian mall.
- From candy stores to upscale restaurants, dining in the seaside village is also an adventure. Local favorites include the Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, a pink-and-white candy store family owned for four generations, and the French Italian fare served at Newmans at 988 by New York-trained Chef John Newman.
- From RV campgrounds to the wallet-friendly Blue Gill Inn to ocean front lodging at the Ocean Lodge, accommodations at Cannon Beach fit every budget.