This post is all about things to do in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
The Oregon Coast is one of the most incredibly stunning areas of the US. I could keep going back to this rocky shoreline forever and never run out of things to do. One of my favorite places on the Oregon Coast is Cannon Beach.
Cannon Beach is a stunning beach town on the Northern Oregon Coast. It’s home to the famous Haystack Rock and it’s a very popular vacation spot in the summer.
In this post, I’ll share my favorite things to do in Cannon Beach, including where to stay, what to eat and drink, and some helpful tips for visiting this beautiful coastal town.
How to Get to Cannon Beach, Oregon
The closest major airport to Cannon Beach is the Portland International Airport (PDX). From PDX, you’ll drive 91 miles (about 1hr 45min) west on US-26 to reach Cannon Beach.
I highly recommend renting a car at the airport to drive to Cannon Beach and get around once you’re there. You can get there by public transportation but it will take at least 5 hours and several transfers to reach the coast.
When to Visit
One important thing to keep in mind when planning a Cannon Beach vacation is that the weather varies a lot depending on the time of year.
This isn’t your typical tropical beach vacation. The majority of the year it can be rainy, overcast, and chilly. That’s not to say that you can only visit in the heat of summer. I actually love the moody weather that the fall brings in Cannon Beach.
Here’s a handy chart of the temperature by month in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Summertime will bring sunshine and higher prices, while the winter can bring some pretty gnarly storms. My favorite time of year to visit Cannon Beach is early fall or late spring.
Things to Do in Cannon Beach
1. Admire Haystack Rock
The main attraction in Cannon beach is Haystack Rock. Since this giant rock is situated right off the beach, it’s impossible to miss.
The entire rock is actually a protected wildlife refuge so you’ll likely see tons of birds circling it depending on the time of year you visit.
Spend some time admiring this unique landmark (it’s huge!). Definitely wander around to get different views. Haystack rock looks different from every angle.
2. Have a Beach Bonfire
Making a bonfire on the beach is one of the top things to do in Cannon Beach.
Get to the beach a little before the sun goes down and dig a pit in the sand for the firewood. Then spread out a blanket, enjoy the sunset, and roast some s’mores! It’s the perfect way to enjoy the evening.
3. Grab a Beer at a Brewery
Cannon Beach has two breweries along the main road. Both have great beer and great food options.
Pelican Brewing features plenty of seating indoors and out. They serve award-winning brews and ales and have a full lunch and dinner menu available.
Public Coast Brewing produces several of their own craft brews as well as serving up beer from partner breweries.
4. Hike in Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park is located a few minutes from the downtown area and is one of my favorite things to do in Cannon Beach.
Start off at Ecola Point, which features dramatic views of the shoreline and the lighthouse off the coast.
Then make your way to Indian Beach. This beach is popular with surfers pretty much year round. Hike the 2.5 mile Clatsop Loop Trail for even more coastal views and epic forest scenery.
5. Head Up to Seaside
Seaside is another coastal town located just 15 minutes from Cannon Beach.
It’s a little more developed and commercial feeling than Cannon Beach but it has a cute promenade and tons of shops and restaurants.
6. Explore the Tide Pools
At low tide, you can walk out to Haystack Rock and explore the tide pools at the base of the rock. You’ll find marine gardens filled with anemone, crabs, starfish, and tons of other little sea creatures.
7. Shop the Boutiques
The downtown area in Cannon Beach is filled with cute boutiques and shops. When you need a break from all the nature and beach time, head to the main road and shop until you drop!
8. Relax in a Local Coffee Shop
There are no shortage of coffee shops and cafes in Cannon Beach and the surrounding towns.
Some of my favorites are Sea Level Bakery, Insomnia Coffee, and Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters. Relax in the coffee shop or grab a cup to go and stroll around the beach.
9. Do a Wine Tasting
There are several wine shops in town that offer tastings. The most famous is the Wine Shack, which offers a variety of wines including their own line of award-winning Puffin wines.
The tasting room is open daily at noon and they offer wine, beer, cider, and cheese boards.
10. Explore Chapman Beach and Crescent Beach
Just north of Cannon Beach, across Ecola Creek, you’ll find Chapman Beach. At low tide, you can walk from Chapman Beach to Crescent Beach. This is my absolute favorite beach in the area because it’s so secluded and peaceful.
When you visit during low tide, there are tons of tide pools in between the rock formations that you can explore.
11. Hike Hug Point State Park
Hug Point is only 4.5 miles south of Cannon Beach and a worthwhile half-day adventure. At low tide, you can see waterfalls right on the beach.
12. Watch the Sunset
I’ve witnessed some incredible sunsets on Cannon Beach. At the time of writing this, drinking alcohol is currently allowed on Oregon’s beaches. So grab a beer, make a campfire, and watch the sun go down.
13. Do Some Night Photography
If you’re into photography, Cannon Beach is an incredible place to capture the stars at night. There’s not very much light pollution so when the sky is clear enough, try out your night photography skills.
This was my first attempt at night photography ever and I was pretty impressed with the results.
14. Fly a Kite
If the conditions are right, this beach is a pretty epic spot to fly a kite. Buy a kite at Once Upon A Breeze or Kite Factory. Both are located very close to the beach area.
15. Ride a Bike On the Beach
Cannon Beach is located on a huge stretch of sand. A great way to explore this giant beach area is by bike.
If you’re staying at Surfsand resort, you get free bike rentals for the duration of your stay. Grab a few bikes and head down to the beach. At low tide, the sand is packed down really well close to the shore. This makes for a really smooth ride along the beach.
Where to Stay
There’s no shortage of places to stay in Cannon Beach. While this tends to be a pricier coastal destination, there should be options for just about every budget depending on what time of year you’re visiting and how far in advance you book.
It’s important to note that most hotels and Airbnbs have a two night minimum stay.
- Surfsand Resort – I’ve stayed here twice and I absolutely love it. It’s right on the beach and the staff is incredibly friendly. They have a pool, hot tub, fitness center, bonfires, and free bike rentals.
- Hallmark Resort – Beachfront, saltwater pools, hot tubs, saunas, and free bike rentals.
- Tolovana Inn – Beachfront, hot tub, and sauna.
Get up to $65 off your first booking with Airbnb here.
Where to Eat and Drink
Pelican Brewing – pub fare and craft beer
EVOO Dining – fine dining & cooking school
Lazy Susan Cafe – American breakfast & lunch
Pizza A’ Fetta – pizza and salads
Sea Level Bakery – pastries and light breakfast items
The Wine Shack – wine tasting and cheese boards
Preparing For Your Trip To Cannon Beach
- If you’re traveling here outside of the peak season, make sure you check restaurant and shop hours before you arrive. Some places have limited operating hours outside of the summer months.
- Check the tide calendar before you hit the beach. If you’re visiting during low tide, you can explore the tide pools around Haystack Rock.
- If you’re planning on doing any grocery shopping, there are several little markets around town. Our favorite grocery store was called Fresh Foods on S Hemlock St.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cannon Beach
Are dogs allowed? Yes, dogs are allowed on the beach on leash or under voice command of their owner.
Can you drive/camp on the beach? No, camping and driving are not allowed on the beach. However, there are camping areas near Cannon Beach that you can check out on Hipcamp here.
*Sign up for Hipcamp and get $10 off your first booking with this link.
Are drones allowed? No, you are not allowed to launch, fly, or land your drone on Cannon Beach.
Can you climb Haystack Rock? No, climbing is prohibited on Haystack Rock because it is a wildlife refuge and protected area.
What is Cannon Beach known for? Cannon beach is famous for the 235 foot Haystack Rock on the edge of the shoreline. Several popular movies were filmed here, including The Goonies, Point Break, and Twilight.
This post was all about the top things to do in Cannon beach.
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