Cannon Beach Things to Do

  • Crescent Beach from Ecola Point Viewpoint
    Crescent Beach from Ecola Point...
    by glabah
  • Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
    Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
    by Hyrapiet
  • Cannon Beach
    Cannon Beach
    by Hyrapiet

Most Recent Things to Do in Cannon Beach

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    The Information Office / Chamber of Commerce

    by glabah Written Aug 10, 2014

    For the most part, you don't need a tourist information office in Cannon Beach. The community is laid out along a main street, and you can get to most things by walking. Simply exploring the town on foot will give you quite a lot of information about what is around town. However, if you do wish to get more information about what is going on around town, this is one place to come.

    Their web site has a decent amount of information as well.

    Cannon Beach Information Office

    Was this review helpful?

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    The Beach and Beach Access

    by glabah Updated Aug 8, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Naturally, one of the draws here is the beach. After all the name is "Cannon Beach".

    For those who have not been to a beach in Oregon before: please be aware that the water is cold. Most people do not go into the water unless it is a blazing hot day (which doesn't normally happen on the Oregon coast).

    Those that do go into the water (usually surfers or others with a specialty interest) generally wear a thick wet suit, or in some cases even a dry suit.

    Beach access is available through a number of small residential streets throughout the town. However, it can be somewhat difficult to find these as many of them are hidden by surrounding buildings. Generally, however, if there is a public parking area you can get to a beach access point just by going west. In many cases there are other beach access points from local neighborhood streets, but generally those streets are very narrow and have no parking.

    As seen in photo 2, a number of these are also marked as being "Beach Access", though some of them are not as it is assumed that it is obvious that when a small local road ends on the beach that one can access the beach from the road.

    There are few public restrooms directly close to the beach in Cannon Beach, but many of the public parking areas have public restrooms near them.

    One of the more fun things to do is at low tide walk right out to Haystack Rock and see what the tide washed into the tide pools. PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL as you explore the tide pools, as foot traffic on the rocks damages the marine life that is attached to the rocks. As with any other place, please leave something for the next visitor to enjoy. Thus, please do not walk on the rocks but instead please explore the tide pools by only walking on the sand.

    Please also note that the beach as well as Haystack Rock is a popular place for bird life. See my Photos from 9 March 2013 and my Puffins and Other Birds on Haystack Rock and Haystack Rock Birds for additional photos.

    The Beach at Cannon Beach Many Beach Access Points are Tiny and Not Obvious People Explore the Tidepools at Haystack Rock Lucky March Weather at Popular Beach Access Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock in July 2014
    Related to:
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Puffins and Other Birds on Haystack Rock

    by glabah Updated Aug 8, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    During the summer months, the sea stacks off the Oregon coast become the nesting home of a number of birds that normally live far out to sea.

    This includes the tufted puffin, which as of this writing (2014) is down to the last nesting colony here on Haystack Rock. Formerly the largest group was on the three arch rocks, but that colony collapsed several years ago, most likely due to a lack of food due to poor ocean health.

    The puffins are on Haystack Rock for much of July, but until the eggs hatch the adults can not be seen very much. Therefore, very late in July and early into August is the best time to see the adults fly out of the holes and go catch fish.

    Common Murres are also found nesting on Haystack Rock in the summer, as are brandts and pelagic cormorants, and great gobs of gulls.

    When volunteers are available, they set up scopes where possible to show visitors the bird life on the rock in a way the naked eye can not see.

    Winter creates an entirely different set of circumstances, and this is a favorite wintering spot for a small group of harlequin ducks. It isn't unusual to see bald eagles here as well. See my Photos from 9 March 2013 as well as my Haystack Rock Birds tip.

    Puffins on Haystack Rock, 2 Aug 2014 Common Murres mixed with Others on Haystack Rock Volunteers with Scopes show Visitors the Bird Life Small Group of Common Murres on Cliff Face of Rock Harlequin Ducks on Small Rock at Base of Haystack
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Cannon Beach History Center and Museum

    by glabah Updated Jul 16, 2014

    Many small towns have a small museum describing the local history, and generally these are ignored by the tourists visiting the community since many tourists are really interested in recreational activities and sadly ignore the culture of the place they are visiting.

    However, if you want to take a close up look at the Cannons, or of a large scale model of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, or wish to see the history through the decades of this community, then this is the place to come.

    The facility is operated on a donation basis, and the suggested donation level is $3. The basic history of Cannon Beach is laid out in a timeline loop on the outer wall, so it is best to follow the timeline by going around the loop by making a right turn as you enter the main part of the museum. The timeline is accompanied by a small collection of artifacts and photographs that illustrate the time period being described. Other famous events outside Cannon Beach are indicated on the timeline to show what else was going on in the world at that time.

    There are a few very unexpected articles here that testify to a history long ignored by western historians. Chinese coins dating from nearly 1,000 years ago have been found in First Nations tribal decorations, as well as encrusted on the beach. The exact nature of what efforts Chinese explorers made in this area is unknown, but it is an intriguing bit of unknown history that is noted on the timeline.

    A primary display on the last part of the loop is an entire display dedicated to the Tillamook Rock Light House, including the recording of an interview of one of the last living tenders that worked in the lighthouse.

    Photos of the result of the 1964 tsunami should be of note to those that wonder about the tsunami alert signs posted around town.

    The two back rooms are the two most recent additions to the building. The larger of the two rooms is a gallery that contains a rotating display of various things. Frequently this is artwork of various types such as the paintings displayed in the spring of 2014, or the display of quilts coming later in the year. The second room is a small space replicating part of the interior of a First Nations long house. This is a hands-on exhibit of sorts and includes an assortment of toys that children are allowed to use in their imaginary adventures in the long house room.

    Two large display cases outside the main part of the museum and accessible any time include the display case with the Cannon Beach namesake Cannon (currently undergoing restoration) and a large scale model of the Tillamook Rock Light House.

    The main entry of the museum features a small gift shop. There is also an antique television set that has been given the task of showing some very early home movies of a family at Cannon Beach (see photo 4).

    The historical society also has unique events all through the year including a lecture series, home and garden tours, and other events.

    Cannon Beach History Center and Museum Artifacts and History of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Timeline Artifacts and Photographs of Cannon Beach Old Cannon Beach shown on Antique Television Set Large Scale Model of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jmpncsu's Profile Photo

    Haystack Rock

    by jmpncsu Written Feb 25, 2014

    Haystack Rock is a large sea stack just off the coast at Cannon Beach and probably one of the most iconic sites in Oregon. We visited Haystack Rock from Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site, which allows free access to the beach and Haystack Rock, about a mile up the beach from the parking area. Several other smaller sea stacks near Haystack Rock are called "The Needles"; i.e., needle in a haystack. The rock is home to a large number of nesting birds, including puffins, cormorants, and lots of sea gulls. To protect these birds, people are not allowed to go up on the rock itself. This prohibition is also to reduce the number of rescues. People would go out to the rock at low tide and get stranded when the tide came back in and they would have to be rescued by the Coast Guard or local authorities. Although you can't go up on the rock itself, the tide pools near the base provide a great opportunity to sea the amazing sea life that lives in the wave-battered tide pools. Ochre sea stars, giant green anemones, and kelp crabs are just a few of the critters you can see in the tide pools. As a warning, the Pacific waters are extremely cold. Walking around the photographing the tide pools is only really feasible during low tide when the water doesn't get much above ankle depth. We wandered around for about an hour and by that time, my feet were getting numb. But it was definitely worth the cold to see all the beautiful and colorful animals in the tide pools and get a closer view of Haystack Rock.

    Haystack Rock Ochre Sea Stars Giant Green Anemones Kelp Crab Cannon Beach
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Ecola State Park

    by glabah Written May 18, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Some of the most famous views of Oregon are just north of Cannon Beach in Ecola State Park. A number of places in the park were used in assorted films that used the Oregon Coast as a backdrop.

    NOTE: This state park is a fee park. It requires either a state parks annual pass or a $5 day use fee.

    There are hiking trails, a few viewpoints, and primitive overnight camping facilities (it is a 1.25 mile ( 2km) walk from the parking area to the camping area). Several small beaches, interesting rock formations off the coast used as bird nesting habitat, and some coastal forest habitat may be found here.

    The two most popular beaches are Indian Beach and Crescent Beach. Crescent Beach is closer to Cannon Beach, but it is difficult to get to because the trail is frequently blocked by downed trees and it is not an easy trail, though it is short. Indian Beach is a slightly longer drive but requires a walk of only about 200 feet to get to the beach from the parking area.

    However, there is enough to do in this park that it really needs to be covered in a separate entry for the park itself. Therefore, please see my Ecola State Park page for this.

    PLEASE NOTE: The road into Ecola State Park is very narrow, and only gets more narrow as you get further into the park. It is not somewhere you want to drive a larger vehicle of any sort. Be very careful on this road as people drive far faster than the speed limit and don't seem to expect that there are any other vehicles or people on the road. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour for good reason.

    Sea Lion Rocks off the Coast of Ecola State Park Indian Beach and its Viewpoint Trail through Coastal Forest in Ecola State Park Tillamook Rock and its Lighthouse from Ecola Point Crescent Beach from Ecola Point Viewpoint
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    HAYSTACK ROCK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Haystack Rock is said to be the third largest monolith - free standing rock - in the World. I don't know where or who came up with this information, but I would think that to be technically incorrect. Wikipedia shows considerable confusion when it actually comes to sizing the monoliths of the World, but looking at the list, I know several that are bigger than Haystack Rock - Beacon Rock in the Columbia River Gorge comes to mind, for example. Be that as it may, Haystack Rock is still a big rock and is certainly the largest free-standing sea stack on the Oregon Coast - there is another Haystack Rock in Pacific City about 50 miles further south. It is also one of the most well-known features of the Oregon Coast, so well loved that one of the final designs for the present Oregon license plate featured the Rock prominently. The Rock serves as a sanctuary for sea birds and you are not allowed to climb up through the bird guano - an old trail to the top was dynamited for the benefit of the birds and would-be rescuers who used to have to pull stranded hikers off the top when the tides changed. With low tides, you can amble about the base of the rock and explore the tide pools. The smaller stacks just south of the Rock are known as The Needles and they present dramatic figures as waves crash about them in their age-old attempt to reduce them to nothing.

    Mirliya showing a VT presence at Haystack Rock Proof that people the world over visit the Rock! The Needles, the Rock and the Child Waves crashing near The Needles Romance and the Rock
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    ECOLA STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are many jewels to the Oregon State Park system along the Coast and lying within the first tier would definitely have to be Ecola State Park. The world-class view from the Ecola Viewpoint is reason enough. This view is emblematic for the entire 360 mile coastline, so perfect it is. Even with the growth of nearby Cannon Beach, the view remains sublime - mountains, beaches, sea stacks, surf, ocean. Most visitors come merely for the 'view', paying their $3 day fee, park, click and leave. The park offers much more to those who do hang around for awhile ... and there is a fair number who do.

    Ecola is a Chinook Indian word meaning 'whale', which you can also observe from the heights of Ecola Park at times when the whales migration is underway.

    Looking past Crescent Beach to Cannon beyond
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • National/State Park
    • Surfing

    Was this review helpful?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    OSWALD WEST STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located south a few miles of Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park preserves a magnificent section of the northern Oregon coastline. Trails wind their way down - 0.75 miles - from the large parking areas on US 101 to the Short Sand Beach in Smuggler's Cove, which is probably the most popular surfing beach found in Oregon - wet suits are definitely a requirement unless you are a sea lion. There is also a tent campground that is located about halfway down - there are wheelbarrows provided for you to cart your gear from the highway - but this has been closed for this summer while the Park Department figures out a way to ensure camper safety after new tree fall in the campground. One four hundred year old - 11 foot thick - tree fell across several campsites on a recent windless night just missing about twelve different people.

    There are a couple other hikes one can do besides hanging out on the beach. Both of these hikes are parts of the Oregon Coastal Hiking Trail - a 360 mile/600 km trail that extends the length of the Oregon Coast. One trail takes you out to Cape Falcon while the other direction will take you up to the top of Neahkanie Mountain. Both are very scenic and you can find out more here.

    Little Girl presents Oswald West State Park! VT's Mirliya and Little Girl at Short Sands Beach View south off Neahkanie Mountain
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Surfing

    Was this review helpful?

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Silver Point Overlook

    by glabah Written Mar 4, 2011

    Along highway 101 just south of Cannon Beach, and so close to the town that it is essentially part of the town, there is a series of wide spots on the west side of the highway. Collectively these are called the "Silver Point Interpretive Overlook".

    "Silver Point" was named after the silver barked trees that used to inhabit this particular forest grove, but they have long since been cut down.

    The overlook wide spots are connected together with a very narrow walkway, and in one spot it is actually advisable to cross over the guard rail so that you are not walking along the traffic lanes of this busy highway.

    On a clear day, it is possible to see a very wide variety of prominent rocks to the north, west, and south of this point. Many of these are named on the signs. Unfortunately, over time, the signs have become a bit faded with age and some are difficult to read.

    However, it is still possible to make out the various labels and rocks that are being indicated on the signs, should you be interested in knowing what you are seeing.

    The most well known of these rocks is Haystack Rock (one of several such named rocks along the Oregon Coast), but it is hidden by trees from this viewpoint from several places. Keep looking, however, as I was able to find several spots where it is very clearly visible (see photo 1).

    The best way to get to the beaches below is from beach access in Cannon Beach. The way from the Silver Point Overlook is a steep cliff that ends at the bottom against rocks.

    Haystack Rock, other rocks from Silver Point Looking south at Rocks from Silver Point Looking south at Rocks from Silver Point Jocky Cap Rock directly west of Silver Point Looking south at Rocks from Silver Point
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Road Trip
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • misstravelmama's Profile Photo

    A Great Place to Stay in Cannon Beach

    by misstravelmama Written Aug 15, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My family recently visited the beautiful Oregon Coast. We found a great place to stay right on the beach......it was called Sea Sprite on the Estuary. It's basically a 5-unit condo that sits right on the edge of the beach. They have kitchenettes, extra sleeping capacity with a murphy bed in the living room area and huge, picturesque views of the beach. Plus, it's walking distance to Haystack Rock and the Cannon Beach town. Highly recommend this place!

    I wrote a full review of this place on my blog....feel free to check it out:

    http://www.squidoo.com/oregoncoastvisit

    Haystack Rock Sunsets on Cannon Beach Haystack Rock in the evening
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Haystack Rock

    by GuthrieColin Updated Sep 26, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cannon beach is most well known for its small town feel and the ‘Sea Stack’ called Haystack Rock. The rock rises 235 feet (72 meters) from the beach and is home to nesting seabirds in the summer and marine invertebrates all year long.
    The City web site says it is the third largest monolith in the world. I know that El Capitan in Yosemite National Park claims to be the largest granite monolith but title’s aside it is quite impressive. The 200,000 visitors to the rock per year would probably agree with me as well.

    Marine Garden and Rock Neighboring 'Needle Muscle's growing on the rock Marine Garden and Rock Birds nesting on top.
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Walk the Beach

    by GuthrieColin Updated Sep 18, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cannon Beach is a beautiful 4 mile (6.4 km) stretch of sand with peculiar rock formations on the northern side of the beach that give it something that many other beaches don't. The beach can be accessed at 44 points in the city and visitors are allowed to bring dogs with them on the beach as long as they are on a leash or verbal command.
    Vehicles are not permitted on the beach but many rent sit down bikes to explore. Kites are flown every day of the year and the tidal pools also provide excellent entertainment.

    Haystack Rock From the North side of the rock
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Tide Pools

    by GuthrieColin Written Sep 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When visiting Cannon Beach many take time to enjoy the Tide Pools. These, ‘marine garden’ areas are home to many easily seen species such as sea anemone, star fish, sand dollars, and many more. I remember visiting as a child and really enjoying seeing all the strange creatures. The tide pools are more active in the summer and of course the further out the tide the more chance you will have to see interesting animals.

    Sea Anemone Sea Anemone
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    OSWALD WEST HOUSE

    by mtncorg Written Jul 25, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Oregon's beaches are open for public enjoyment and that is thanks to two governors - one Democratic and one Republican. Oswald West - the Democrat - served as Oregon's governor from 1911 to 1915 and he declared all 'wet sands' areas - the inter-tidal zone - as public domain, in order to serve for the purpose of a public highway, a function in which they did serve in the pre-auto era. West took his stand in 1913, two years after he built this home here above the beach opposite from Haystack Rock. The house was then back dropped by long gone forests from which the home was constructed. West's family used the house until 1926 when the sold it. Two owners later, the home was to be put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 when it burned down. The building site was registered in 1992 - without the house. Painstaking reconstruction led the National Register to include the new-old house - built on the same site - on the list as opposed to only the site. The home is privately owned still but is open to the public one day a year.

    A re-built Oswald West log cabin
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Beaches
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Cannon Beach

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

30 travelers online now

Comments

Cannon Beach Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Cannon Beach things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Cannon Beach sightseeing.

View all Cannon Beach hotels