20 Best Things to Do in Cannon Beach (Oregon)

horse ride along the coast

Cannon Beach is a small town with a population of 1749 people (as of 2018).

Situated on the scenic Pacific coast of northern Oregon, this place is well-known for its exceptional natural beauty and some of the most majestic coastal landscapes in the United States.

Thanks to its fresh climate and summer temperatures of 67°F (19°C) in July and 68°F (20°C) in August, the city is the perfect spot for people looking for a place to escape the summer heat.

A number of popular Hollywood movies were filmed in Cannon Beach and the surrounding area.

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Some of the titles are “Twilight (2008)”, Point Break (1991), The Goonies (1985) and many others.

1. Haystack Rock and The Needles – the symbols of the town

haystack rock and the needles
Haystack Rock and The Needles by Stephen Curtin/Flickr

Haystack Rock and The Needles are the symbols of Cannon Beach and an important landmark of Oregon.

Haystack Rock is a 72 meters high monolithic rock, which rises up right off the coast of the town.

The Needles are smaller pieces of vertical cliffs which are scattered around the monolith.

Even if looking much smaller on the background of the Haystack Rock, they are very impressive too.

2. Surfing

surf on the beach
Surf on the beach by Rick Gordon/Flickr

Despite being dangerous and risky for swimming, Cannon Beach is a popular surfing spot, especially if you are a skilled surfer.

On quiet days, and if you aren’t afraid of deep waters, the coastline of Cannon Beach offers smaller but well shaped waves.

However, if you are not skilled enough and prefer the safety of the shallow waters, you will find perfect conditions right off the shore in most of the days.

Don’t miss to take a lesson from a local instructor, and follow their recommendations, because they know these waters better than you.

3. Icefire Glassworks – great ideas for souvenirs

icefire glassworks
Icefire Glassworks by Facebook

If you are looking for a place to buy a nice and stylish souvenir, Icefire Glassworks is a great choice.

This is an art gallery and a workshop, located at 116 E Gower St NE Corner of Hemlock and Gower Streets, Midtown, Cannon Beach.

Here you will not only find something interesting for yourself and your loved ones, but you will also see the inspiring process of creating new colorful glass objects right in front of you.

4. Ecola State Park

ecola state park
Ecola State Park by Jonathan Miske/Flickr

Ecola State Park is located north of Cannon Beach.

The park reveals a breathtaking panorama to the Haystack Rock and the Needles, which are located more than 2 miles to the south.

If you are a nature lover, this is one of the best tourist attractions in Oregon for you.

Winding forest trails lead to enchanting places, and the variety of wildlife is really impressive.

5. Indian Beach

indian beach
Indian Beach by Jonathan Miske/Flickr

While in Ecola State Park, don’t miss visiting the beautiful Indian Beach, which falls within the boundaries of the park.

It is considered one of the top attractions to visit in the area of Cannon Beach.

In the northern part of the beach you will find a wonderful small river, known as Canyon Creek.

It forms a beautiful small waterfall not far from the shore. The beach itself is very wild and untouched.

6. Enjoy the view from Chapman Point (and bring your camera!)

the view from chapman point
The view from Chapman Point by Michael Moore/Flickr

Located just north of the city, within John Yeon State Park, Chapman Point is a must visit place.

It is famous for its unique panorama, which, according to locals, is probably the best in the area.

From here you will be able to enjoy a stunning view of the whole area to the south. From this place you can observe the waves, the beautiful beach and the town itself.

7. Try local pastries

local pastries
Local pastries by Paul Cole/Flickr

Being an old and rather conservative community, Cannon Beach is well known for its culinary traditions.

Here you can try and enjoy a lot of meals.

Especially popular, however, are its tasty pastries which is a great option if you are searching for a satisfying breakfast in the morning.

8. Try whiskey from local distillery

local whiskey
Local whiskey by Facebook

Cannon Beach Distillery is known for its limited edition top quality spirit drink.

For his reason, one of the recommended things to do in the town is to enjoy its unique taste and fragrance.

This is also a great idea if you want to buy a bottle for your family and friends at home.

Don’t forget, however, that only 2 bottles of the drink are allowed per customer.

9. Cannon Beach History Museum

cannon beach history museum
Cannon Beach History Museum by Portland Seminary/Flickr

The Cannon Beach History Center and Museum is a great place to get to know the history and culture of Cannon Beach in detail.

Here you will find a diverse collection of photographs and objects related to the city’s past.

You can visit the museum every day except Tuesday. It is open to visitors between 11am and 4pm. You will find it at 1387 S Spruce St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110-3212.

10. Visit Les Shirley Park

les shirley park
Les Shirley Park by Facebook

Les Shirley Park is a small and quiet park, located near the mouth of Ecola Creek.

This is a wetland area, dominated by river channels, tall grasses and pine trees.

It lies on the northern river bank, just a few steps away from the beach.

11. Try local wine

local wine
Local wine by Facebook

The Pacific coast of the United States is a popular wine-producing region.

Places like Cannon Beach contribute to the region’s reputation, because this part of Oregon is famous for its high quality wines.

While in the area, visit a local winery and try the produce of some of the most fertile vineyards in the American Northwest.

If you have the opportunity, take a short trip to the town of Manzanita, which is less than 15 miles south and where the most visited wineries in the region are located.

If you have the opportunity, don’t miss to try the popular local berry wine.

12. Horse ride along the coast

horse ride along the coast
Horse ride along the coast by subindie/Flickr

Horse riding along the coast is one of the most popular local tourist attractions.

This is a great way to enjoy the scenery and to stop by some of the biggest local landmarks (such as the Haystack Rock and The Needles) without having to walk miles along the coast.

13. Go to Hug Point State Recreation Site

hug point falls
Hug Point Falls by GPA Photo Archive/Flickr

Located just 5 miles (8 km) south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point State Recreation Site is an attractive place to relax and spend your spare time outside.

Many locals come here on the weekends, attracted by the beautiful nature in the area.

The main attraction of the park is a small but extremely beautiful waterfall, which you will find on the beach itself.

Another big attraction are the caves, which are accessible and visible only at low tide.

If you want to walk here, make sure you have the opportunity to quickly leave the beach in a case of high tide or rough waves.

14. Cycling along the coast

cycling along the coast
Cycling along the coast by K. Kendall/Flickr

Cycling is always fun but in Cannon Beach is even more.

This is one of the very few places in the world where you could ride your bike directly on the sand.

Initially, it sounds a bit strange but actually this is one of the local attractions.

The stretch of sand is incredibly flat and smooth so you can use it as a cycling way.

Of course, you need to rent a bike, equipped with special tires, which are a way wider and bigger than the regular ones.

15. Tolovana Beach State Park

tolovana beach state park
Tolovana Beach State Park by A. F. Litt/Flickr

Tolovana Beach State Park is considered the most scenic part of Oregon’s coastline.

Here you can enjoy the endless beach without leaving the comfort and the facilities of the urban environment.

Although the area is populated, you will find great biodiversity here.

Among the most common animals in the area are different species of birds as well as a large population of rabbits.

16. Picnic on the beach

picnic on the beach
Picnic on the beach by Jeremy Crantek/Flickr

Although Cannon Beach is far from being the perfect place for swimming in the ocean, the natural beauty of the area is really impressive.

In fact, the water in the ocean is always quite cold with temperatures of between 41 and 57°F (or between 5 and 14°C).

Another danger is the combination of underwater rocks, big waves and strong rip currents

This is why one of the best ways to enjoy the coast of Cannon Beach is to organize a relaxing picnic on the beach.

This way you will be able to enjoy the clean fresh ocean air, the waves and the beauty of nature without putting yourself or your loved ones at risk.

17. Jeffrey Hull Gallery

jeffrey hull gallery
Jeffrey Hull Gallery by Facebook

Visiting the popular Jeffrey Hull Gallery is not only a great way to spend some quality time in Cannon Beach, but it is also a great choice if you want a souvenir from the city and have no idea what to buy.

Here you will find original paintings and prints.

You will find books with photos of local landmarks by famous photographers. They are especially interesting if you are a lover of photography.

18. Oswald West State Park

oswald west state park
Oswald West State Park by Virginia Hill/Flickr

Along the northwest coast of Oregon, less than 15 minutes drive to the south of Cannon Beach, stretches a beautiful Pacific temperate rainforest.

Dominated by dense mostly coniferous (but not only) vegetation, the forest is protected within the boundaries of Oswald West State Park.

Named after the 14th Governor of the state (Oswald West), the park covers an area of ​​2,448 acres (9.91 km2).

Apart from its pristine forests, the park is also known for its superb wild beaches.

This is a very popular place for recreation, especially for the residents of the surrounding towns, who often visit it on weekends.

Numerous eco trails cut through the dense forests and lead to beautiful bays and crystal clear waterfalls.

19. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

tillamook rock lighthouse
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse by marroyo12/Flickr

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area.

It is located about 1.2 miles (1.93 km) off the coast of Oregon, northwest of Cannon Beach.

Completed in January 1881, it is known for more than just its unique location on a rocky island in the ocean.

The lighthouse turned out to be the most expensive lighthouse project of its time along the west coast of the United States.

The best way to enjoy the lighthouse is from some higher spot on the shores of Ecola State Park.

The distance to the lighthouse is big, but the visibility, especially in clear weather, is very good.

20. Visit the biggest sand castle contest

sand castle contest
Sand Castle Contest by jennymcb/Flickr

If you go to Cannon Beach in June, don’t miss to visit or join the largest sand castle contest in the country.

The competition attracts a large number of visitors and participants from all over the United States, as well as from other parts of the world, such as Germany, Canada and Australia.

The participants are people of all ages who are interested in this unique and entertaining art form.

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