kid with bucket in front of waterfall at hug point beach low tide

Is Cannon Beach, Oregon Worth Visiting? 10+ Reasons to Visit!

If you’re wondering is Cannon Beach, Oregon worth visiting, the answer is YES! Cannon Beach is an incredibly beautiful and charming beach town and our favorite spot on the Oregon Coast. Here you’ll find picturesque beaches, small town shops, amazing state parks, and much more. Here are the top 10+ reasons to visit Cannon Beach, plus tons of little tips on how to have your best Cannon Beach vacation.

If you’re looking for a Five Day Cannon Beach Itinerary, or Rainy Day Activities in Cannon Beach, we’ve got you covered! There are so many cute shops, fun places to eat and drink, cool hotels, vacation rentals, and so much more. The Oregon Coast is absolutely unmatched when it comes to rugged coastlines, beautiful and unique beaches, and lush forests. This post will answer your question “is Cannon Beach worth visiting?” Once we’ve convinced you to visit, we’ll help you out with all the best outdoor attractions, photo spots, and things to know before visiting the Oregon Coast. Happy travels!

Is Cannon Beach Worth Visiting? 10+ Reasons to Visit the Northern Oregon Coast!

1. You Can’t Miss The Views on the Northern Oregon Coast

Everywhere you look you’ll see incredible views of the rugged coastlines, waterfalls flowing into the Pacific Ocean, lush forests, and so much more. Every time I visit, I’m in awe that a place this beautiful exists for us to explore. We’ve spent up to a week at a time near Cannon Beach, Oregon and we still haven’t run out of new and amazing places to see.


Pro Tip: Visit Hug Point Recreation Site at low tide to see this waterfall flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

2. The Whole Family Will Love Cannon Beach (it’s kid friendly and dog friendly!)

We’ve made trips to Cannon Beach by ourselves, with our pups, and with our kids! There is a full range of outdoor attractions that will suit you no matter what type of travel you are looking for. Fun activities for the whole family are beach combing and walking, tide pooling, playing in the sand, hiking through the forest, exploring the charming Cannon Beach downtown, and more.

Pro Tip: If you’re traveling with kids, don’t forget to bring a bucket and shovel (this kept our little one busy for hours). And if you’re traveling with a dog, don’t forget to bring a ball. I don’t think I’ve ever seen our dogs as happy as they were running and playing on the Oregon Coast.


3. Cannon Beach is Surrounded by Five Incredible State Parks & Recreation Areas

Not only does Cannnon Beach, Oregon have FIVE state parks/recreation areas around it, but they can all be reached within 15 minutes of driving! Starting from North to South you can visit:

Ecola State Park:

Amazing hiking opportunities, picnic spots with epic viewpoints, wildlife viewing opportunities, and secluded beaches. Not to mention the drive into the park is through a beautiful and incredibly green forest.

Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site:

This recreation site is located on the South end of Cannon Beach and has beautiful beachfront with opportunities for making sandcastles, having a picnic, beach combing, and playing in the water. It’s less than a mile walking along the beach to reach Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach’s most famous attraction.

Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site:

Arcadia Beach was one of our favorite places to watch sunset in Cannon Beach. There are incredible rock formations that make for a picturesque sunset, and a less crowded beach than Cannon Beach. Just pay attention to the tide schedule because you may not be able to walk on the beach if it’s high tide.

kid at sunset on arcadia beach at low tide


Hug Point State Recreation Site:

Hug Point is a hidden gem in Cannon Beach that has a secret waterfall, a cool cave, and is a fun place to explore during low tide. Check the tide schedules before coming and make sure you don’t get stuck away from the parking lot when the tide comes in. But this is a spot you definitely won’t want to miss.

kid standing in cave hug point oregon


Oswald West State Park:

Oswald West State Park is another place that is less frequently visited than Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. You’ll have to drive about 10-15 minutes South of the town of Cannon Beach to reach the parking lot. Then you’ll park and walk along a path to reach Short Sand Beach (also known as “Shortys”), a popular spot for locals and surfers (depending on the season). This walk is about 0.5 mile through a dense rainforest, and you can hit the Old Growth Forest Trail along the way.

Pro Tip: You’ll also want to make time to stop and see the Neahkahnie Viewpoint from the road. This viewpoint will showcase views of the Oregon Coast from the road high above.


4. Cannon Beach has STUNNING photo spots everywhere you look

If you’re a photography lover, you will be obsessed with all of the photo opportunities near Cannon Beach. Some of our favorites include:

  • Haystack Rock
  • Hug Point Waterfall
  • Cannon Beach Walkway tp Haystack Rock (located off Hemlock Street just past Forest Lawn Road)
  • Arcadia Beach Recreation Site at Sunset
  • Cape Meares
  • The Octopus Tree
  • Neahkahnie Viewpoint


5. It’s One of the Most Picturesque Beach Towns on the West Coast

When Dane and I were in college, we road tripped from Cannon Beach all the way to San Diego! Since then, we’ve continued to return to Cannon Beach. It’s one of our favorite beach towns on the entire West Coast. It has a quaint little downtown with cute shops and restaurants along Hemlock Street. You’ll also find cottages along the Ocean with the signature Cannon Beach look, cedar shakes. And lastly, a huge variety of dreamy hotels and vacation rentals.

If you haven’t figured out the answer to “is Cannon Beach, Oregon worth visiting?” yet, then keep reading!! I’m not sure if you’ve caught on that we are in love with Cannon Beach as a family friendly destination on the West Coast.

6. You Can Take Amazing Day Trips from Cannon Beach, Oregon

If you’re planning a longer vacation on the Oregon Coast, you definitely won’t be bored with the variety of day trips available from Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach to Astoria:
  • Drive time: about 40 minutes (one way)
  • Things to do: Visit the Astoria Column, hike to the Cathedral Tree Trail, check out the Sea Lions and get coffee at Coffee Girl, and grab a brew at Buoy Beer


Cannon Beach to Cape Meares:
  • Drive time: ~2.5 hours round trip, farther if you drive the whole Three Capes Scenic Loop
  • Things to do: Tillamook factory, Cape Meares Lighthouse, Octopus Tree, Neahkahnie Viewpoint, Roseanna’s Cafe (for dessert)



Cannon Beach to Portland, Oregon:
  • Drive time: ~1.5 hours (one way)
  • Things to do: Portland Zoo, eat great food (tons of good restaurants!), stop at a brewery, visit Powell’s Books


Cannon Beach to the Columbia River Gorge, Waterfall Alley:
  • Drive time: ~2 hours (one way)
  • Things to do: Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, and more!



Cannon Beach to Newport, Oregon Coast:
  • Drive time: ~2.5 hours (one way) to Newport, Oregon – I wouldn’t recommend going much farther South if you only are taking a day trip!
  • Things to do: Ogle at the Oregon Coast and stop whenever you see something you like! There are so many gems along this drive.

*it’s also really easy to visit Seaside, Oregon from Cannon Beach. It’s only about a 15 minute drive North. If you have extra time, you can visit, but I would recommend driving further to Astoria if you have the day. Seaside does have some fun things to do, but it’s not my favorite Oregon Coast town.

7. You’ll Want to Find Unique Sea Creatures (and other wildlife)

Tide pooling is one of the most fun activities on the Oregon Coast. There is an incredible variety of sea creatures including star fish, anemones, sea urchins, crabs, and so much more. You’ll want to check out tide charts and local conditions since the best tide pooling spots will depend on the Ocean conditions when you visit.

Pro Tip: You can also find puffins, elk, whales, seals, sea lions, many bird varieties, and more!

8. Cannon Beach Has Some of the Most Beautiful Sunsets You’ve Ever Seen

Cannon Beach, Oregon has some of the best sunset spots we’ve ever visited. We love enjoying sunset on the beach, and you can have an epic sunset from any beach you visit. Our favorites were Haystack Rock, Arcadia Beach, and Hug Point, but anywhere you choose to experience the sunset will be magical!


9. It’s Time to Try Out a Unique Beach Experience

Cannon Beach is a fun beach town with the opportunity for unique experiences and new activities. You can have a campfire on the beach, fly a kite, learn to surf, whale watch, or fish for crabs at Kelly Brighton’s Marina! The Oregon Coast is so unique compared to many other beaches in the United States, so take this opportunity to do something different while enjoying these moody coastlines.

10. Cannon Beach is Very Safe!

I’ve visited a lot of places, and Cannon Beach feels like one of the safest. With it’s small town feel, and high cost of living – you won’t likely find people there to cause trouble. You and your family can feel safe as you enjoy the beach, even after dark! However, since this is a tiny little town, there probably isn’t much going on after dark (unless you’re throwing a beach party with a bonfire).

11. No Sales Tax!

The State of Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax, which makes shopping that much more fun. You or your kids can pick out one extra book or souvenir with that extra 10% or so that you saved by not paying a sales tax (it’s free money then right??). If you’re coming from a state that has a sales tax, you can enjoy buying yourself something without that pesky added fee!

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