Cannon Beach
7 miles S of Seaside, 112 miles N of Newport, 79 miles W of Portland

Weathered cedar-shingle cottages and buildings, picket fences draped with drifts of nasturtiums, quiet gravel lanes, interesting little art galleries and shops, good restaurants and coffee shops, and a long, flat, gorgeous sand beach presided over by massive monoliths, called sea stacks, rising from the surf—what more could you want from an Oregon beach town? If it weren’t for all the other people who also think Cannon Beach is the most wonderful place on the Oregon coast, this would be a misty version of heaven. Some say that Cannon Beach suffers from chronic quaintness; others complain that it has become too upscale and expensive for its own good. Once, after all, it was the Oregon coast’s most renowned artists’ community. But now Cannon Beach is as much about upscale shopping in tasteful, tucked-away plazas as it is about being in touch with nature in the form of the Pacific Ocean. But with so many utilitarian and ticky-tacky towns along the coast, I personally think that well-groomed and always-presentable Cannon Beach is one of the top beach towns on the Oregon coast. Despite the crowds, it still has a village atmosphere, and summer throngs and traffic jams can do nothing to assault the dramatic, in-your-face beauty of Haystack Rock, the famous monolith that rises like a giant plum pudding from the pounding waves of the Pacific.

Cannon Beach trivia

*Cannon Beach was named for a cannon that washed ashore after the U.S. Navy schooner Shark wrecked on the coast north of here in 1846.

*Rising 235 feet above the water, Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock is the most photographed monolith on the Oregon coast.

*The area’s offshore rocks are protected nesting grounds for sea birds. Watch for tufted puffins, something of a Cannon Beach mascot.

*Tillamook Rock is the site of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (aka “Terrible Tilly”), which was frequently battered by huge storm waves that sent large rocks crashing through the light, 133 feet above sea level. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1957 and is now used as a columbarium.