Just about any beach can be good, but Cannon Beach, Oregon can soothe your soul and make you want to throw away your day job and car keys in about two minutes flat. If you have never been to Cannon Beach, it is most certainly worth adding to your “I want to go there someday” list. CB is not about the sunshine, not about bikinis, and not about swimming. So what’s the big deal you say? Here are 7 things that make Cannon Beach better than most beach towns and more beautiful than any post card…
7 Reasons to Visit Cannon Beach, Oregon
William Clark from the Lewis & Clark Expedition is quoted below after seeing Cannon Beach for the first time…
“…the grandest and most pleasing prospects in which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless ocean…” William Clark 1806.
Nestled about an hour and a half west of Portland between the coastal mountains of Oregon and the amazing Pacific Ocean, is a small beach town like few others. To say that Cannon Beach is scenic is an understatement. To suggest that CB is just another coastal beach town is like saying Claude Monet was just another painter. No blog article can do this place justice, but below are some highlights. The rest…well you are just going to have to experience for yourself. You will be glad you did and you can thank me later…
1) Haystack Rock. Undoubtedly one of the most photographed rocks in the United States, the 235 ft. high basalt sea stack grabs your attention immediately and draws you to it. At low tide you can walk right out to Haystack Rock and observe various marine life, including plenty of beautiful starfish in the tide pools around the rock. Birds are plentiful here as you might imagine. On our latest trip we were able to observe Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Western Gulls, Heermann’s Gulls, and Ring-Billed Gulls. Although we didn’t see any, Puffins will be present at certain times of the year in Cannon Beach too. If you were to visit in October and be fortunate enough to have a clear night sky, you would be able to see the big dipper positioned perfectly above Haystack Rock. We saw it and it was like God himself was painting the landscape.
2) The Public Beach. This beautiful beach can get very crowded during the tourist season, but it is still plenty big to enjoy a very long walk, campfires, kite flying, picnics, bike riding and most everything one would do on a beach. The natural beauty of the area combined with the large basalt rocks, the sound of the surf and the feeling of separation from the fast, wired world we live in is enough to make my family want to go back again and again. Swimming on the other hand, is not something I would plan on if I were you. That Pacific Ocean off the Coast of Oregon is cold.
3) The town of Cannon Beach is on the small side, which makes it even better from my perspective. The town’s main thoroughfare is Hemlock St., which runs somewhat parallel to the ocean, and is lined with shops and restaurants for just about every budget and taste. A grocery store, Post Office and library are all on Hemlock as well, but no big Mac’s. If you want to shop ’till you drop, I’m not sure this is the place for you, although you could drop some serious money in Cannon Beach if you want to.
4) Art. Quality paintings, sculpture, jewelry, and glass…Art galleries are plentiful. Different styles, mediums and price ranges allow most people to bring home something to brag about.
5) Food. There are many fine restaurants in Cannon Beach with a variety of menus and price ranges. Of course there is the obligatory seafood offerings, but that is not all. Irish, Mexican, Home-style, Pizza, Japanese, Bistro, Pub, and more await your pleasure. If you visit in the heavy tourist season, be prepared to wait for a table.
6) Ocean front lodging. I don’t know about you, but if I am staying by the ocean, I want to have an ocean front porch or deck if at all possible. Yes, it’s more expensive. Sometimes a lot more expensive. Looking out the window or from your deck at the ocean, the beach, Haystack Rock, the birds and hearing the sound of the Pacific Ocean makes a big difference to the over all experience in my opinion. But to each their own. My family loves The Ocean Lodge, but there are plenty of inn’s and motels in Cannon Beach that don’t overlook the ocean, and they seem to do a very nice business. Rental homes are also an option if you wanted to have an extended stay.
7) Special Events. Cannon Beach does not need a lot of promotions and special events to entice people to visit. It is not necessary. However,there are three events held annually that you might want to consider if walking on Cannon Beach is in your future: 1) The annual sand castle-building contest is held in June. I believe that this contest will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014. 2) The Annual 4th of July parade, and 3) The “Spring Unveiling”, an annual arts festival held the first weekend in May.
Soothe Your Soul in Cannon Beach
If you are looking for bikini babes and drinks with umbrella’s in them, Cannon Beach would not be your ideal destination.
Better than looking good, Cannon Beach “feels” good. It doesn’t take long for the Pacific Ocean and Haystack Rock to work their magic and start soothing your soul. CB is a “must go to” if you are going to the Oregon Coast. There is just enough people and business so one doesn’t feel isolated, but not so many that you want to scream. For the artist and the photographer, there is a different composition and a new mood almost every minute. For young, old and anywhere in between, there is a place for you, as William Clarke put it…in “one of the grandest and most pleasing prospects in which my eyes have ever surveyed in front of a boundless ocean.”
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