Cannon Beach is iconic thanks to its permanent seaside fixture, Haystack Rock, which has been the subject of many photographer's camera lenses. It has also attracted the likes of Hollywood with several major motion pictures using its dramatic Pacific Coast as the backdrop for some truly impressive scenes. Therefore, it's no surprise that this same coastline has attracted many visitors, from the Pacific Coast and beyond, who make the journey to experience it all first-hand.
While its ocean centerpiece is a subject of interest, there's plenty to do on and around Cannon Beach, as well. Driving 15 minutes in either direction will give way to other places for visitors to explore, and there are many things they might not even know were permitted on the beach, too. As it turns out, this Oregon beach holds more secrets than it lets on, and this is how travelers can enjoy each one of them.
Book A Room On The Beach Or With An Ocean View
Cannon Beach might be small but its rental and hotel options are mighty. Many properties have oceanfront access with their doors leading down onto the beach, while others offer sweeping views of the coastline and Haystack Rock in the distance. Half the fun of vacationing at the beach is having this quick access to the beach, and this is a great place to take advantage of off-season deals. The intimacy of the shoreline being so close is what makes any visit to Cannon Beach so special since it's not as large as other beaches in the area. The price per night of the hotels on the beach range from roughly $150 and up, with the price increasing depending on its proximity to the beach and Haystack Rock.
What Visitors Can Do On And Off The Beach
The first thing everyone will want to do is explore the beach and, really, who can blame them? With a landscape this magical, it's easy to see how a barefoot walk could turn into something so serene and peaceful. With added help from various nature walks that will take beachgoers on a short detour through wetlands and small forests, Cannon Beach quickly turns into a haven for nature lovers. The Cannon Beach Nature Trail winds through a spruce forest and, along the way, visitors might just have the chance to see some of the local wildlife, such as elk and otters. This trail follows a boardwalk so visitors won't need to worry about disturbing the flora or stomping through muddy ground. For those wanting to get a closer look at Haystack Rock, it's an easy landmark to set your sights on. While it does sit far out into the ocean, at low tide, just before sunset, beachgoers will be able to see most of this algae-covered rock. This is also the perfect time to pull out the camera - the reflection of the rock can usually be seen in the smooth sand on the beach behind it when the tide recedes.
During the off-season months of March, April, December, and January, visitors have the chance to see something truly spectacular. This is when the whale migration follows its seasonal pattern and the coast of Cannon Beach is the perfect place to find a front-row view. At the north end of the beach, visitors will find prime whale-watching spots at Ecola State Park, which is also the perfect place to throw a few hikes into the mix, too. Any spot to the north of Haystack Rock should provide great views, though, including hotel balconies and the dunes that line the beach just before the surf.
So, what about exploring Cannon Beach in an even more intimate way, such as camping? Since both the beach and nearby Ecola State Park are both protected lands, camping and RVing are not permitted. However, that doesn't mean visitors can't find gorgeous campsites around Cannon Beach. Those looking for traditional tent campsites can start their search at Sea Ranch Resort and Wright's For Camping. Sea Ranch Resort is only about a mile from the beach, making easy work of a short hike from the campsite. The resort also provides many amenities that others don't, such as spa-type services, a coffee shop, and a general store nearby. Wright's For Camping has 22 campsites in total and is closer to the beach; campers only need to walk half a mile to reach it. While this campsite is close to the beach, it's also only a five-minute walk into town and offers the chance for authentic, rustic beachside camping.