Wide, flat, sandy Cannon Beach is a wonderful place to take a long, invigorating beach walk. Haystack Rock adds an undeniably dramatic focal point to the beach, and when the tide is out, you can explore the tide pools at its base. But please don’t disturb the sea urchins and starfish, and don’t climb up on the monolith—every year, careless climbers have to be plucked off the rock because the tide has come in and stranded them. Besides walking, kite flying and beachcombing are the most popular Cannon Beach pastimes, but you can also enjoy the beach in a variety of other ways. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, guided horseback rides to Cove Beach and Haystack Rock are offered by Sea Ranch Stables, 415 Fir St. (www.cannon-beach.net; tel. 503/436-2815), at the north entrance to Cannon Beach. Rides cost $80 to $140.
More Beaches Near Cannon Beach
Three miles south of town is Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site , one of the prettiest little beaches on the north coast. Another mile farther south you’ll find Hug Point State Recreation Site , which has picnic tables, a sheltered beach, and the remains of an old road that was cut into the rock face of this headland. Oswald West State Park , 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, is one of my favorites of all the parks on the Oregon coast. A short trail leads to a driftwood-strewn cobblestone beach on a small cove. Headlands on either side of the cove can be reached by hiking trails that offer wonderful views. The waves here are popular with surfers, and there’s a walk-in campground.
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