Explore Cannon Beach, Oregon, and take in the stunning views, beautiful beaches, and iconic rocky shoreline that make this coastline truly remarkable. Just 90 minutes west of Portland, and 4 hours south of Seattle, Cannon Beach is a place you’ll need to visit at least once in your lifetime. The town is named for the cannon that washed ashore from a shipwrecked Schooner. Cannon Beach was named the Best Overall Beach of the Northwest in "America's Best Beaches"
Cannon Beach offers 4 miles of gorgeous beach with spectacular natural landscapes in every direction. This stretch of the Oregon coast will take your breath away. But Cannon Beach isn’t just about the scenery. You’ll also find a charming town with culinary delights and captivating artwork.
Cannon Beach is one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. Here you’ll find nearly 4 miles of pristine sandy beaches, rocky bluffs, and a dramatic coastline where the famous Haystack rock dominates the landscape. Hiking, bird watching, surfing, and even whale watching are just some of the activities you’ll find in Cannon Beach.
The town of Cannon Beach is a picturesque village with a lot of character. It was named after a naval cannon that washed ashore on this beach, and that’s just one of the reasons we love the town. Food lovers can enjoy all things savory and sweet. From local funky restaurants to fine dining, there is something to tempt everyone's palate. Cannon Beach is a haven for artists. You’ll find an array of art galleries featuring art by local and internationally acclaimed artists, as well as unique stores that offer special cards, gifts, antiques, and more.
Cannon Beach has something magical to offer during every season. Whether you want to sunbathe during the summer or experience the rugged sea in winter, there’s never a bad time to visit Cannon Beach.
The most popular time to visit Cannon Beach is during the driest summer months, usually from June to October. During these months you can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, hiking, and picnicking. You’ll likely have blue skies and mild days.
Summer months are the busiest months, so plan ahead. Make sure you reserve your accommodations if you’re staying overnight or arrive early to find parking on a day trip. The Wayside Inn is on the south end of Cannon Beach. This is the quiet end of town, and we’re just minutes away from the beach.
Once the weather gets colder, you can experience the Oregon coast in a whole new way. The calm sea of the summer transforms into a roaring ocean with churning waves. Seafoam drifts up onto the beach and a misty spray blows through the air. Between rainstorms, you can enjoy temperate weather and the chance of seeing a rainbow arch over Haystack Rock.
From March to May, the sea begins to calm. This is the perfect season for birdwatching, and you may see tufted puffins and other birds begin to build their nests. During March and April, you can enjoy whale watching from Ecola Park. Thousands of whales pass by on the beach on their way from Alaska to Mexico. During the spring the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and you’ll be rewarded with fewer crowds.
As a tourist destination, Cannon Beach can be pricey in the summer. Cannon Beach hotels and restaurants have higher prices during the high season and lower prices during the winter. But many activities in Cannon Beach, such as the beach and haystack rock, are free and easily accessible. So even if you’re on a budget, you can enjoy a weekend getaway at Cannon Beach.
Haystack Rock sits just off the coast of Cannon Beach. It’s one of the world’s largest monoliths, and it rises 235 feet above the beach. This massive rock was formed by lava flows from the Blue Mountains several million years ago. It was once connected to the coast. But over time, erosion separated Haystack Rock from the beach, leaving this enormous basalt rock towering over the landscape.
Haystack Rock is part of the Wildlife Refuge and Marine Garden. At low tide, you can walk right up to Haystack Rock and explore the surrounding tide pools. These sheltered pockets are home to crabs, sea anemones, starfish, crabs, and other sea creatures. Meanwhile, the rock itself is home to many sea birds, and it’s a nesting site for both puffins and terns.
Low tide changes each day, so ask us for a tide chart during your stay.
If you plan your trip during the spring or early summer, you’ll have a chance to see tufted puffins. Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach house the largest puffin colony in the state. These feathery friends usually arrive in April, and throughout the early summer, you can see them building their nests on Haystack Rock or incubating their eggs.
In July and August, you may still catch a glimpse of these birds, but they spend most of their time out at sea fishing for food for their chicks. By the end of August, the chicks are ready to join their parents out on the open sea, and they leave the beach for another year.
With gorgeous beaches, stunning scenery, and a beautiful town, you might not have time to take it all in. Many visitors come back to Cannon Beach several times to enjoy all the area has to offer. After visiting Haystack Rock during low tide, here are some of our favorite things to do in Cannon Beach.
Do you want to experience the wetlands? Just a few minutes from the beach you’ll find the Cannon Beach Nature Trail. Here you can enjoy Cannon Beach in a different way. Take the Nature Trail through the wetlands, meander through the spruce forest, and wander along the creek. This route is perfect for birdwatching, and you may even glimpse a river otter. Ask us for directions.
Known for its beautiful vistas, meandering trails, and a five-mile drive through a lush old-growth forest, Ecola State Park is worth a visit. Paved walking trails take you to panoramic vistas of the coastline stretching for miles in both directions. The park is perched on the top of Tillamook Head, jutting out into the sea. Enjoy a picnic overlooking rock formations that stretch out to the south. You can also walk to a viewpoint of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, perching on a lone rock just offshore.
Cannon Beach was named one of America’s best art towns. With numerous art galleries throughout the town, you can easily spend a whole day exploring the galleries and talking to local artists.
Successful local artists draw inspiration from Cannon Beach, and other regional artists offer original works in town. You’ll find bronze sculptures, blown glass, jewelry, and paintings. There’s something here for everyone. Watch the artists at work, attend a theatre performance, or even get creative during the annual sandcastle contest every June.
Cannon Beach is known for art galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops where you can find unique items. Take a relaxing stroll through the town and you’ll find charming stores with enticing window displays. Discover Oregon fashion brands, regional wines, and sweet treats from the local candy store.
You may have come for the beach, but you’ll certainly stay for the food. Cannon Beach boasts some amazing eateries serving foods from the Pacific Ocean and the northwest. Whether you want a quick bite on your way to the beach, a gourmet dinner, or a drink at the local brewery, you can find it all in Cannon Beach. Ask us for recommendations while you’re in town.
Cannon Beach is a safe community and a great place to visit year-round. At the beach, you can sunbathe, dip your toes in the ocean, look for shells, and even explore tide pools around Haystack Rock. When you’re enjoying Cannon Beach, a few safety tips will help you and your loved ones enjoy a safe vacation.
If you plan to swim, beware of rip currents. These strong currents can form along the beach and have the strength to pull you out to sea. Avoid drift logs in the water or partly on the beach. Incoming waves can lift these logs, so make sure you give them lots of space.
Finally, be cautious on rocks and cliffs at the beach or in Ecola Park. Ocean spray can make these rocks slippery, and heavy wind and rain can dislodge rocks. Keep on paths and stay off cliffs and rocks to safely enjoy your time in Cannon Beach.
Small towns dot the Oregon coast. Arch Cape is a short drive south, and Seaside sits just a few minutes north. So which town should you visit?
Seaside and Cannon Beach are both popular spots, but they offer a very different experience. Seaside’s most iconic feature is the Promenade, a 1.5-mile walkway along the beach. You can also rent bikes, check out the aquarium, or visit the mall. Seaside is a larger town with more services and busier streets.
If you’re looking to unwind in a quiet town away from all the crowds, Cannon Beach is a better choice. Our delightful town sits on an iconic beach and the views just don’t get better than this. Cannon Beach has a small-town charm you won’t find in Seaside. It’s also a walkable town so you can leave your car at the Inn and enjoy a stress-free day.
Cannon Beach also takes the prize for best art galleries, local eateries, and shopping, so you won’t regret staying at Cannon Beach.