Hit the Shore in Oregon — Top 5 Things to Do in Cannon Beach

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August 15, 2019

On Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock in the background. Photo: Home While We Roam A pair of girls jump for joy on a breach during sunset.

Oregon is a fantastic state to visit when traveling by RV. Thanks to its lush forests and well-known cities like Portland, Eugene and Bend, it may already be on your list of places to explore. Those towns offer such a wide array of outdoor activities, food and drink to enjoy that the beach might not even be on your radar as a destination. Some folks are even surprised when they hear that this Pacific Northwest state is home to some of the most beautiful beach towns in the nation, like Seaside, Newport and our favorite, Cannon Beach.

If you are already heading to Portland, consider pointing your rig due west for about 90 minutes to take in some sun and fun in the quaint town of Cannon Beach. You’ll be in for a treat, as the Oregon beach towns also exhibit the fun-loving, weird-but-good qualities that make the aforementioned Portland, Eugene and Bend so exciting.

A long figure walks along a beach with looming rocks in the distance.

Photo: Home While We Roam

What About the Weather?

When we recommend going to visit Oregon’s beaches, we are often met with questions about the weather. Doesn’t it rain a lot? Isn’t it cold? While Oregon may not have the same rainy weather reputation that Washington has, it is fair to point out that the weather can be an issue; however, that shouldn’t prevent you from taking an awesome beach trip! The Oregon coast is still stunning in its own hazy, moody way during the rainy and cold months.

If you’re looking for warmer temps and sunny skies, summer is going to be your safest bet. Air temperatures can easily hit 70 degrees, but you’re in the Pacific Northwest, so the water temperature will always be on the cooler side. In the summer, expect water temps to peak around 64 degrees. The warm season in Cannon Beach typically lasts from June to October, so if the timing of your trip puts you there in the fall, you’ll likely experience some rain. On average, September and October see seven to 12 days of rain, but that still leaves lots of sunny, comfortable days for beach fun!

Two girls play on the beach with three big outcroppings looming in the distance.

Playing at the Marine Garden Refuge near Haystack Rock. Photo: Home While We Roam.

1) Visit Haystack Rock

Even if you haven’t been to Cannon Beach, chances are you might be familiar with its most famous natural landmark, thanks to a few memorable films. The stark rock outcroppings of Haystack Rock dramatically jut into the sky, giving the beach its signature look. “The Goonies,” “Point Break” and “Twilight” have all filmed sequences there. “The Goonies” may be the most notable, as the shots from the 4×4 beach rally race were filmed right on Cannon Beach!

Haystack Rock is a fantastic coastal area to explore whether or not you’re a film buff. The rocks are a seasonal haven for puffins, and you can spot many sea species peeking out of the tide pools during low tide. The beach was established as a Marine Garden  in 1990 and a National Wildlife Refuge in 1976, with a vibrant population of wildlife. Go at low tide and you won’t be disappointed.

A dog with tongue hanging looks at the camera on Cannon Beach.

Frisky pooches can play no Cannon Beach. Photo: Home While We Roam.

Home While We Roam Tip: Oregon is very dog-friendly, and that affability extends to Cannon Beach. In fact, most of the beach welcomes dogs right on the sand and in the water. Our pups enjoyed this perk!

2) Coffee!

Oregon is known for great coffee, and Cannon Beach definitely delivers. In all of our travels across the United States, we still feel that Cannon Beach offers some of the best coffee we’ve ever enjoyed. In fact, when we’re back on the East Coast, we buy coffee via mail order from some of the roasters we’ve sampled.

A cup of coffee with a scone on a wooden table.

Photo: Sea Level Coffee.

Some of our favorites include:

Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters

Sea Level Bakery & Coffee

Bald Eagle Coffee House

3) Small-town Charm

Downtown Cannon Beach features some of the best small beach-town charm around. Heading north from Haystack Rock, you can stroll the downtown area along Hemlock Street. It is packed with eclectic boutiques, charming restaurants and fine art galleries, along with many picturesque seaside cottages tucked around each corner. The town gets high marks for being both walkable and bikeable. You can grab a cup of your favorite locally roasted java and go for a stroll or a bike ride after your beach adventures.

A beach cottage with a blue door.

A Cannon Beach cottage. Photo: Home While We Roam

Seaside, another quaint beach town, is just a 15-minute drive north of Cannon Beach. This makes for a great daytrip. Seaside has a promenade that reminded us of a miniature version of the Jersey shore and it boasts some great places to grab a local brew. We like Ruby’s Roadside Grill for fantastic food and a great selection of Oregon’s craft beers. It’s dog-friendly, too!

4) Take in Some History

Did you know that William Clark and Sacajawea from the Lewis and Clark Expedition journeyed to Cannon Beach in early 1806 in search of a whale that had washed ashore? Clark even named the area’s creek Ekoli Creek, from the Native American term for whale, which is the same Ecola Creek that borders Cannon Beach to the northand is now part of Ecola State Park. We recommend a visit to Ecola State Park where you can visit Clark’s Point of View. This is where he and Sacajawea first viewed this part of the coast. Clark said it was, “… the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless ocean …” We could not agree more!

Two kids playing on a rocky beach under blue skies.

Playing at Ecola Creek where it empties into the ocean. Photo: Home While We Roam

5) Relax at Cannon Beach RV Resort

We recommend staying at Cannon Beach RV Resort while visiting the area. You’ll find sidewalks leading from the resort to town, which makes visiting very convenient. Not to mention, they have great amenities, like gasoline, propane and an awesome indoor swimming facility. Both the pool and hot tub are enclosed in a unique wooden building, which is excellent if visiting during any inclement weather. We last visited in the fall and our family spent a few rainy days enjoying the “great indoors.”


RVs parked under lush pine trees and facing a paved road.

Photo: Cannon Beach RV Resort.

Whether you are planning a full Pacific Northwest road trip or just looking for a beach escape in the Beaver State, Cannon Beach is the perfect place to unhook your camper. There’s a reason National Geographic listed Cannon Beach as one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places. The small-town charm of this seaside community will welcome you and the rugged, breathtaking coastline will make it hard for you to leave. When you do head home, be sure to take some of that delicious coffee with you.