A Weekend on the Oregon Coast: The best things to do in Cannon Beach

Looking to spend a weekend on the Oregon Coast? This Cannon Beach itinerary is full of the best hikes, parks, beaches, and places to stay, and things to do in Cannon Beach! Ready to explore the beautiful and rugged Oregon Coast? Keep on reading!

The Oregon Coast is one of the gems of the Pacific Northwest. Its rugged and rocky landscape is gorgeous, unique, and full of adventure, and its towns are relaxed and full of character. Whether you prefer to sit on the beach with a good book or hike up to coastal overlooks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on the Oregon Coast!

When we lived in Seattle, we would try to visit the Oregon Coast as often as we could. We loved taking weekend trips (or even very long day trips) out to the coast and going for hikes, visiting overlooks, and laying out on the beach. 

While we visited a handful of different parts of the coast, Cannon Beach, which is along the northern part of the coast, was our go-to spot. This area is iconic and you may recognize this area from movies, like The Goonies, and from the massive haystack rock that juts out of the water. The beach, and surrounding area, is just as breathtaking as it is in photos and no matter how many times we visited, we were always in awe of the views. 

We’re excited to share a weekend on the Oregon Coast itinerary that features all of our favorite things to do in Cannon Beach! This guide is structured for those visiting or living in Seattle, Portland, or anywhere in between, as the coast is an easy weekend getaway, but also works great for those coming from other destinations. 

While the guide is written for two full days on the Oregon Coast, if you have extra time to spend in the area we’re including extra ideas of things to do in Cannon Beach at the end of this guide. If you’re anything like us, you’ll fall in love with this area and want to stay longer or come back again and again!

Watch our time on the Oregon Coast!

Looking for more things to do in Oregon? Check out our Oregon guides:

Leave No Trace Principles

Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!

  1. Plan ahead & prepare. Make sure you research and prepare for every adventure so that you know the rules, stay safe, and to minimize resource damage.
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces. Stay on the trail and only camp in designated areas, as well as the required length away from water sources.
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Whatever you pack in, pack it out! Make sure to carry out your trash, as well as any trash you find. If you have a dog, please do not leave poop bags on the trail. For human waste, use a trowel to dig a hole far from water sources or use a wag bag (sometimes required).
  4. Leave what you find. Do not take any items from the trail with you, including rocks, plants, or artifacts.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts. Know the rules of where you can and cannot have campfires and if allowed, use designated fire rings. Use local firewood to prevent bringing any pests or diseases to the area you’re visiting and make sure to fully extinguish your fire.
  6. Respect wildlife. Keep your distance from wildlife, control your pets on the trail, and never ever feed them! Make sure to keep your food stored properly as well (we like this bear canister).
  7. Be considerate of other visitors. Be respectful to others on the trail. Hikers going uphill have the right of way on hikes and it’s always courteous to let those quicker than you pass. Avoid playing music out loud, talking loudly, and having your pets bother others.

Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!

When to visit Cannon Beach

Oregon Coast Weather

One very important thing to know about Cannon Beach is that it’s not what you may think of when you think of a beach: tropical, palm trees, endless sunshine, and warm weather.

Cannon Beach is rocky and rugged, is known for having some cool storms, and often requires you to wear a light jacket (or a rain jacket). While it’s not a tropical escape, it has a moody, Pacific Northwest vibe that gives it a magical feeling. 

Similar to most places in the Pacific Northwest, the summer is the best time to visit if you want to experience more sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures. Although Cannon Beach rarely gets too warm, the summer months will be your best chance to ditch your jacket.

However, the prices will be higher and the crowds in the summer can be pretty wild, so if you want more solitude and to get a better deal on lodging, we’d suggest visiting in the late spring or early fall. You may experience some rain, but it won’t be nearly as bad as the winter months, which can be pretty stormy.

Visiting Cannon Beach in the winter is pretty risky, unless storm watching is your jam. While we have had some sunny trips to Cannon Beach in the winter, you’ll likely encounter a lot of rain during this time, colder temps and wind, and if you’re lucky, even some rare snow on the beach!

Getting to Cannon Beach

The closest airport to Cannon Beach is the Portland International Airport (PDX), which is 92 miles away (about 1.5 hours driving). Portland makes for a great launching point for your Oregon Coast adventure! It’s one of our favorite food cities in the world and has tons of outdoor adventures within an hours drive. If you’re looking for things to do in the Portland area, check out our Portland guide!

Another good launching point to explore Cannon Beach is Seattle. While quite a bit farther away (200 miles and close to 4 hours driving), combining the two would make for an amazing trip! 

Getting around Cannon Beach

Since Cannon Beach is far away from major airports, we highly suggest renting a car to get to Cannon Beach and explore the area properly. It’s definitely worth the cost, as some of the best things to do in Cannon Beach are not walking distance from the main town.

There is a bus that can take you from Portland to Cannon Beach as well, with two trips daily. However, it may be hard to get around once you get to Cannon Beach if you go this route, as Uber and Lyft aren’t technically in Cannon Beach (although you may be able to find a random driver nearby). 

Where to stay in Cannon Beach

There are quite a few options when it comes to lodging near Cannon Beach depending on your budget. We have always camped in the area, but Cannon Beach is home to some adorable Airbnbs and hotels right by the beach. 

One thing to note is that almost all hotels and Airbnbs have two night minimums, especially during the peak summer season, so this guide is focused on a two night stay. It’s also pretty pricey to stay at a hotel or Airbnb in Cannon Beach. If you only want to stay one night and/or want something super cheap, camping is your best bet.

Camping

  • Wright’s for Camping–This family run campground is very close to Cannon Beach and full of tall trees, has restrooms and showers, and is dog friendly!
  • Nehalem Bay State Park–It’s a little far from Cannon Beach, but is the only state park campground option nearby. The sites don’t have a ton of privacy and are close together, but it’s only a quick walk from the sites to a very empty and beautiful beach!

Hotels

All of these hotels are pet friendly! They also all have a two night minimum.

Airbnb 

  • Option 1: A studio only 500 ft from the beach!
  • Option 2: A gorgeous 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom just south of Cannon Beach
  • Option 3: A room in a boutique hotel
  • Option 4: A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house close to the beach
  • Option 5: A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house close to Ecola State Park

Cannon Beach Itinerary

In this Cannon Beach itinerary we’re sharing our go-to things to do in Cannon Beach, including where to eat, gorgeous viewpoints, and hikes! This itinerary is almost identical to what most of our Cannon Beach adventures looked like and we always had a blast!

Friday

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Spend Friday traveling to the Oregon Coast and getting settled into your accommodations.

If you arrive early and are looking for places to eat or things to do in Cannon Beach, check out our “if you have extra time” section below!

Saturday

  1. Have breakfast at Surfbird, Lazy Susan Cafe, or Crepe Neptune
     
  2. Pick up a picnic lunch for later!
     
  3. Head to Ecola State Park. Park in the Indian Beach day use area at Ecola State Park and hike the Clatsop Loop Trail (3.0 miles, 700 ft elevation gain).
     
  4. Once finishing the Clatsop Loop Trail, head over to the Ecola Point day use area and check out the multiple viewpoints from the parking lot area. This is a great spot to enjoy a picnic lunch. From there, hike down to the big and secluded Crescent Beach (2.5 miles round trip, around a 222 ft elevation gain. Warning: it can be very muddy!)
     
  5. Make your way to Cannon Beach, less than a 10 minute drive down the road, and pick up a coffee at Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters. Take a stroll around town if you have time and check out the different shops.
     
  6. Walk along Cannon Beach, admire Haystack Rock, and find a sandy spot to relax. Tip: if you go at low tide you can see the tidepools and starfish!
     
  7. Watch the sunset at Cannon Beach. We have seen some incredible sunsets here!
     
  8. Have dinner and drinks at Irish Table. It’s a small spot and very popular, so expect a wait to eat here! (Reservations for parties of 4 or more).

Sunday

  1. Have breakfast and coffee at the adorable Sea Level Bakery + Coffee. It’s our favorite coffee shop in Cannon Beach! We also suggest grabbing a picnic lunch while you’re here for later!
     
  2. Spend the rest of the morning exploring Oswald West State Park. We recommend hiking up to Neahkahnie Mountain and to Cape Falcon. Both will give you great views of the coastline, but from different perspectives. Here’s a little bit about each hike:
    • Neahkahnie Mountain—Start from the South trailhead for a 3.0 mile round trip hike with 840 ft elevation gain.
    • Cape Falcon—It’s an easy 4.9 mile hike round trip with only 721 ft in elevation gain.
       
  3. Visit Hug Point State Park, which at low tide has waterfalls right on the beach! It’s amazing! If the low tide is earlier in the day, we’d suggest doing this first so you can experience the park to its fullest.
     
  4. After a fun couple days exploring, head back home or to wherever your adventures are taking you next! 

If you have extra time…

Food

Coffee

Activities

Ready to explore the Oregon Coast?

​Pin this itinerary with the best things to do in Cannon Beach to help plan your trip!

about us

Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream (we’re a 5+ taco and 2+ scoop household), and enjoying nature.

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affilliate disclosure

This website contains affiliate links from websites such as Amazon.com, Booking.com, and Rentalcars.com. If you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!

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