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
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  • Cannon Beach
    Cannon Beach
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Most Recent Things to Do in Cannon Beach

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    Haystack Rock

    by jmpncsu Written Feb 25, 2014
    Haystack Rock
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    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.

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    Ecola State Park

    by glabah Written May 18, 2012
    Sea Lion Rocks off the Coast of Ecola State Park
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    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.

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    The Beach and Beach Access

    by glabah Written May 18, 2012
    The Beach at Cannon Beach
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    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.

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    Boogie Boarding!

    by lisa85202 Written Feb 25, 2012
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    Stop by and visit the Cannon Beach Surf shop. We didn't go Boogie Boarding the weekend I was there, but my girlfriends had gone on a trip past and were very happy with the service from this shop.

    Instead of trying to make a sale at any cost...the owner actually highly recommended we NOT go out in the ocean, because the tides were dangerous- a storm was brewing in the Pacific. A group of novices with a little champagne at breakfast...I very much appreciate this place putting our safety first.

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    HAYSTACK ROCK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Mirliya showing a VT presence at Haystack Rock
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    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.

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    ECOLA STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Looking past Crescent Beach to Cannon beyond

    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.

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    OSWALD WEST STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Little Girl presents Oswald West State Park!
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    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.

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Silver Point Overlook

    by glabah Written Mar 4, 2011
    Haystack Rock, other rocks from Silver Point
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    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.

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  • misstravelmama's Profile Photo

    A Great Place to Stay in Cannon Beach

    by misstravelmama Written Aug 15, 2009

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    Haystack Rock
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    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

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Haystack Rock

    by GuthrieColin Updated Sep 26, 2008

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    Marine Garden and Rock
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    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.

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    Walk the Beach

    by GuthrieColin Updated Sep 18, 2008

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    Haystack Rock
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    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.

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    Tide Pools

    by GuthrieColin Written Sep 17, 2008

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    Sea Anemone
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    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.

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    OSWALD WEST HOUSE

    by mtncorg Written Jul 25, 2008

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    A re-built Oswald West log cabin

    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.

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  • ZanieOR's Profile Photo

    Haystack tidal pools

    by ZanieOR Updated Nov 18, 2006

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    Tidal pools

    If you visit Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock will draw you and you'll find yourself leaping rocks and squatting down to get a better look at the colorful sea anemone, star fish, hermit crabs and other tidal critters at low tide. (No collecting, poking or allowed)
    In the summer there is the Haystack Rock Awareness interpretive program. About 200,000 people visit Haystack Rock every year.
    The rock is wonderful to photograph and just to look at from a distance, whether it provides a context for a brilliant orange sunset or is shrouded in morning mist.

    Updated: I just received an e-mail with additional information from the coordinator to update my Haystack Rock tip so here it is:

    "Haystack Rock is protected as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge as well as a designated National Wilderness Area. This 235 foot tall basalt monolith is located on Cannon Beach on the northern Oregon coast.
    The area below the rock is referred to as a Marine Garden. The boundaries of this area are between the extreme high tide line and extreme low tide line within a 300 yard radius from the base of Haystack Rock. That’s the length of three football fields! The tidepools in the Marine Garden are dynamic areas rich with marine life such as seastars, anemones, crabs, algae, and many others. Collecting is strictly prohibited and it is crucial to be aware and use extreme caution while walking in these areas. The marine life in and around the Marine Garden is very vulnerable to human disturbance., So please be careful and try to walk only on bare rock. Barnacles are animals too!

    "In addition to the diverse ecosystem of the rocky intertidal, Haystack Rock is a vital habitat for an abundance of seabirds. Here there over 2,000 seabirds that nest on Haystack Rock each year. While viewing the rock from shore you might see the Tufted puffin, Pigeon guillemot, Black oystercatcher, Pelagic cormorant and others. Climbing is not allowed anywhere on Haystack Rock, not only for the safety of the birds but for your safety as well."

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  • andreas81's Profile Photo

    Things in the Cannon Beach Area

    by andreas81 Updated Sep 28, 2006

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    like, a total castle, ya know?

    I'm still amazed at seeing daylight after 8 pm. Still, i pull up to my awesome lodging after dark, spotting a lot of really cool lights forming funky animals and such.

    This place - Arch Cape House - is a castle!!! Utterly amazing. It's probably THE most unique place to stay on the coast. Inside, are chandeliers, antiques, jacuzzis and loads of other cool stuff.

    The next day, exploring the beaches is a total kick. Right across the street is Arch Cape, essentially a well known hidden spot that will blow you away. So clean...so pristine.
    There's also Hug Point not far from here (keep in mind, Arch Cape House is south of cannon beach). this is also incredible. About 100 years ago, the beaches were the highways on the coast. At Hug Point, they blasted a road out of the headland, the remnants of which you'll still find - along with the trippy evidence of a traffic light.

    There's also a really cool sea cave you can climb around in, a few smaller sea caves, and a waterfall.

    In C Beach, stay at the northern end or the extreme southern end - much less people. there's a hidden beach at the north end, between the town and the funky, crescent-like Indian Beach (inside Ecola State Park).

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Cannon Beach Things to Do

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