Coast Explorer Magazine - The Explorer's Guide to the Oregon Coast and Washington Coast
Facebook Email Twitter Instagram Pinterest
Read Coastal Explorer Visit Destinations in Coastal Explorer Coastal Explorer Calendar of Events
Must See Spots For Your Cannon Beach Visit
Published: 12/09/2010
 

With spectacular stretches of long sandy beach, famous Haystack Rock at the edge of the shore and the dramatic views from Ecola State Park just five minutes away, you don't need to go far to soak up the scenery and experience the best of the remarkable beauty of the Oregon Coast.

Cannon Beach offers small town coastal charm with beautiful natural areas and abundant outdoor recreation just steps away. The tiny downtown village entices visitors with winding paths and tucked away courtyards where you will discover Cannon Beach's many small specialty stores, boutiques and art galleries. Cannon Beach is one of the Northwest's best-known art towns where classic coastal shingle-sided buildings mix with historical and unique architecture. Just a few blocks south of downtown, visitors can explore the Midtown and Tolovana areas for more shopping, dining and browsing. When you're ready to get out and explore the surrounding natural wonders and nearby attractions, here's a guide to the top spots:

Beach Access and Viewpoints
Cannon Beach offers nearly four miles of scenic sandy public beach with dramatic offshore rock formations. You can enjoy the scenery from many viewpoints and 44 public beach accesses are your passage to a wide variety of beach fun. The main public beach access points are adjacent to public parking areas in Downtown, Midtown, Tolovana Park and Les Shirley Park. A beach overlook and stairway at the end of 2nd Street downtown offers views of the beach on the north side of Ecola Creek. Just a block to the north is Whale Park. At this overlook, a whale sculpture commemorates the visit from the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806. Tolovana Wayside at the south end of Cannon Beach offers beach access and views looking to the north of Haystack Rock and south to Silver Point. From many points on the beach, you can see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse just offshore to the north.

Haystack Rock
Explore colorful tidepools, watch nesting puffins or photograph the sunset with waves crashing on Cannon Beach's world famous landmark towering 235 feet above the shoreline at ocean's edge. At low tide, you'll find sea stars of many colors, anemones that open like flowers at the bottom of the pools and tiny hermit crabs that scurry along in borrowed shells. From early spring to early summer, bring your binoculars and watch nesting seabirds including the Northwest's most accessible colony of Tufted Puffins. Haystack Rock is a natural treasure, a state protected marine environment and part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Parks and Panoramas
No excursion to Cannon Beach would be complete without visiting Ecola State Park, perched dramatically on the edge of Tillamook Head. Follow Ecola Park Road from the north end of Cannon Beach through old growth rainforest to the spectacular viewpoint overlooking Crescent Beach, Bird Rocks, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and other sea stacks. Paved walking trails lead to vantage points where you can see several miles of coastline to the south, nearby sea lion rocks and the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse lying just offshore on a lone rock in the Pacific. A short drive to the other side of the park leads to picturesque Indian Beach, a popular location for surfers. Ecola State Park offers several miles of hiking trails, picnic areas and great vantage points for bird watchers and whale watchers. Look for herds of Roosevelt Elk grazing in meadows. Several other nearby parks and recreation areas offer more great viewpoints and access to natural areas where you can enjoy scenic locations for a picnic, photography or a short hike through the moss-draped coastal rainforest. Just south of Cannon Beach is beach access and a picnic area at the Arcadia Beach wayside. The beach features rock formations and tidepools. Just to the south is Hug Point State Recreation Area. Hug Point features beach access where you will find caves, a small waterfall and the remains of the old roadway that once skirted the cliff face. About ten minutes south of Cannon Beach, you enter Oswald West State Park. The park encompasses nearly 2500 acres with several miles of hiking trails. The park is great for bird watchers and photographers. Elk frequent the park meadows. Several roadside turnouts south of the main parking areas offer stunning views of the Pacific and coastline, hundreds of feet above the crashing surf.

Nearby Excursions
Just 10 minutes north of Cannon Beach is Seaside, Oregon's first beach resort town dating back to the 1850s. Broadway, Seaside's main east-west street, leads to the city's historic automobile turnaround and the oceanfront promenade, Oregon landmarks dating from the 1920s. Family attractions include arcades, carnival rides, miniature golf and the Seaside Aquarium, an attraction here for over 70 years. About 30 minutes north of Cannon Beach is Astoria, the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and home to several historical attractions. Just south of Astoria is the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center, part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Other historical attractions include the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria Column and Fort Stevens State Park. Fort Stevens features military fortifications that once guarded the entrance to the Columbia River, a military museum and a reconstruction of a Clatsop Indian longhouse. On the beach near Fort Stevens rests the skeletal remains of the 1906 shipwreck of the Peter Iredale.

Search
MORE TO EXPLORE
 
Nature lovers, storm watchers, photographers and seekers of quiet getaways find uncrowded beaches, dramatic scenery, abundant wildlife and the lowest... [read more]
Whether you're planning a romantic retreat, girlfriends' getaway, a wedding or a group function, Cannon Beach provides all of the... [read more]
Whoever picked the Seven Wonders of the World must have never been to Oregon, and they certainly haven't been to... [read more]
Sponsored Links
  • Cannon Beach Activities and Attractions
    The live glassblowing studio of Cannon Beach artists Jim Kingwell and Suzanne Kindland features a viewing area where you can...
  • Cannon Beach Activities and Attractions
    Indulge in the peaceful fundamentals of feng shui, aromatherapy and the essential elements. Let us take you on an extraordinary...
  • Cannon Beach Activities and Attractions
    Start your day with a horseback ride to Haystack Rock or Chapman Point! Make reservations in person, Monday – Saturday...
  • Cannon Beach Activities and Attractions
    Have you been to the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest? Ever wonder how the pros make those towering monuments of sculpted-sand...
  • Cannon Beach Activities and Attractions
    A luxury Spa located in the heart of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Offering high quality Massage Therapy and Skin Care. Manicures...
Subscribe
to Coast Explorer
Subscribe to Coast Explorer Magazine now and don't miss another issue featuring our beautiful photography and design, interesting feature stories and guides to coastal attractions, events, dining, shopping, arts and lodging. Annual subscriptions (3 issues) are only $15