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Things to Do in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Things to Do in Cannon Beach, Oregon

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Are you looking for an amazing, kid-friendly PNW weekend getaway? Scroll to learn all about all the fun things to do in Cannon Beach, Oregon!
This post about things to do in Cannon Beach Oregon was written by PNW family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

With awe-inspiring coastline and sandy beach views, Cannon Beach has some of the most dramatic scenery that you’ll find anywhere along the Pacific Northwest.

And not too long ago, the city even caught the attention of National Geographic magazine, which went as far as naming it “one of The World’s 100 Most Beautiful Places.”

The city of Cannon Beach has several access points that provide fabulous viewpoints so you can get a better look, along with plenty of natural areas to explore nearby.  

But besides beauty, the city of Cannon Beach has a lot of fun things to do, neat places to explore, and great restaurants to grab a bite to eat. Even your kiddos will have a fabulous time when you visit. It’s no wonder it’s one of the cutest towns in Oregon!

So what are you waiting for? These are some of the best things to do in Cannon Beach. 

Cannon Beach Oregon FAQs

Why is Cannon Beach so popular?

The Oregon Coast is a top vacation spot in the Pacific Northwest because the beaches are sandier than the rocky Washington Coast. Out of all the Oregon Coast towns, Cannon Beach is the most popular because of the miles of sandy beaches and gorgeous coastline.

Is Cannon Beach or Seaside better?

There’s a bit of difference in price and amenities between these two popular PNW beach towns. Cannon Beach is a bit more upscale with art galleries, boutiques, and nice restaurants. Seaside is more affordable for families. Both are great Pacific Northwest getaways, though.

Can you see whales in Cannon Beach Oregon?

YES! Whales migrate off the coast of Oregon and Cannon Beach is a great spot to look for Gray Whales.

Best Time to Visit Cannon Beach

When you’re planning out your itinerary on what to do in Cannon Beach, the best time to visit really has to do with what you’re wanting to experience. But as far as weather is concerned, the better portion of the year to experience the Oregon Coast is between the months of July and September

When is the best time to visit?

September is arguably the best month to visit Cannon Beach, with beautiful weather that’s still plenty warm along with fewer chances for rain. Once October arrives, that’s usually when the rainy season arrives, but that’s also when the vibrant colors of autumn make their way onto the scene.      

Cannon Beach Activities

Outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike will be ecstatic to know that there are many recreational activities and things to do at Cannon Beach. Several of them include swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.

Image of a boy wearing a knit hat and coat walking on rocks at Cannon Beach Oregon.
There’s lots to explore at Cannon Beach.

If you’re visiting at just the right time you may spot Bald Eagles, Brown Pelicans, or Tufted Puffins that are resting on the rocks. Gray whales, seals, sea lions, and Roosevelt Elk are a few other notorious visitors.  

Amazing Experiences

Cannon Beach is also an excellent beach to catch an amazing sunset. And should you be searching for a more intimate experience with nature, there are a handful of nearby campgrounds that provide a starry night sky that’s perfect for stargazing.

During the winter and not far from the city, skiing and snowboarding are popular things to do in Coastal Oregon. But these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do in Cannon Beach Oregon.     

Cannon Beach Attractions

Sitting back and admiring Haystack Rock is certainly one of the best things to do in Cannon Beach, and there’s no way that you could possibly miss it! This iconic and geographical feature is Oregon’s most recognizable landmark.

Image of Haystack Rock and it's reflection in the water in Cannon Beach Oregon.
Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach.

But you also don’t be afraid to set out and explore the beach a little. You’ll find plenty of other fascinating rock formations a little further down along the beach as well.

Horseback Riding

On the south end of the beach, you may run into people horseback riding at the  Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site

Image of a rugged PNW coast with waves at sunset.
View of Indian Beach from Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach Oregon.

Another natural attraction that you’d be absolutely crazy to miss out on is Ecola State Park. Let’s just say that the hiking trails that you will find there take you to viewpoints that will have some of the most remarkable views that you’ve ever laid eyes on. And that’s not stretching it!

Cheap Parking Options

There’s only a $5 fee for parking, which is a steal for what you get to experience. Oswald West State Park is another fantastic Oregon park to check out, that’s known for its beautiful forest scenery that hugs the rocky coastline. It’s also a great place to picnic with your family.    

Downtown Cannon Beach

While Cannon Beach is considerably small, the city still has a lot to offer. Downtown Cannon Beach is conveniently situated only a stone’s throw away from the beach and has all the charm you could hope for in a small beach town. 

Plenty of shopping to partake in

As you make your way along the sidewalks and courtyards you’ll find all kinds of great shopping, whether you’re hoping to buy clothing, jewelry, flavorful candies, or a new surfboard.

Visiting some of the art galleries and public art that’s on display throughout the city are other fascinating things to do in Cannon Beach.   

Hungry or thirsty?

When you’re getting hungry or thirsty, you’ll be excited to know that there’s quite a variety of restaurants, breweries, and pubs to choose from. Some of the top places to eat in Cannon Beach include Bistro, the Cannon Beach Smokehouse, Tom’s Fish & Chips, and Newmans at 988.

If you’re interested in a tasty brew, the Public Coast Brewing Company and Pelican Brewing Company are two of the local’s favorite breweries. 

Something for everyone

Every year, the city takes part in many events and activities that are a lot of fun, no matter if you’re a young couple or a family with a handful of kids. If you’re interested, be sure to click on the link to find out more about Cannon Beach events so that you can plan your visit. 

Things to Do Near Cannon Beach

The Hug Point State Recreational Area is located about 3 miles away and is one of the top things to do around Cannon Beach.

Image of a PNW beach with rocks in the water on a foggy day.
Hug Point State Recreational Area.

When it’s low tide there, you’ll discover sea caves, a stunning waterfall, along with the remains of an old road that was once a part of the cliffside. 

Stop in Manzanita

Other neat things to do near Cannon Beach, Oregon include stopping in the town of Manzanita, a hidden gem that has excellent Neahkahnie Mountain and beach views.  

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Are you still looking for unique things to do on the Oregon Coast? More often referred to as “Terrible Tilly”, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is situated about a mile from the shore.

Image of a lighthouse on a rock off the coast of Cannon Beach in Oregon.
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in Cannon Beach.

Though you can no longer step foot inside the lighthouse, it’s still neat to gaze out at the structure and learn about its troublesome past. 

Cannon Beach Exploring

Last but not least, other unique things to do in Cannon Beach include exploring the Arcadia Beach Tide Pools as well as Devil’s Cauldron. It’s a very short hike but keep in mind that it may be too steep for smaller children. 

Cannon Beach Oregon Activities Wrap Up

With so many attractions and things to do in the area, it’s time that you and your family visit Cannon Beach. You’ll learn a lot about its history and witness some of the most spectacular views in the entire state.

What do you plan on seeing and doing when you get there? 

Looking for more things to do in Oregon with kids? Check out this review of the Tillamook Creamery, prettiest Oregon Coast towns, beautiful places in Oregon, things to do in Seaside, things to do in Astoria Oregon, Inn at Cape Kiwanda review, scenic drives in Oregon, and how to plan a weekend getaway to Astoria Oregon!

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