Honestly, I spent most of my life not knowing that there were beaches in the state of Oregon. I didn’t (and still really don’t) know much about what this state has to offer. But within the last few years I kept seeing more and more pictures of Haystack Rock. I was shocked when I learned that this beautiful beach was in fact located in Oregon. So I made it my goal to go visit Cannon Beach this summer with the kids!
Cannon Beach is just under 4 hours from Seattle. We went super last minute, left early on a Saturday morning and had no issues with traffic on the way there. On the return trip home we did hit traffic in the evening on the way back into Seattle. Once you pass Olympia, WA there aren’t any other big towns before you arrive in Cannon Beach. The drive is a beautiful one as you drive through countless farms, past many bays and inlets, and through the woods. For our entire ride out there it was very overcast, with that typical PNW mist in the air.
We arrived shortly before 11am and had no issue finding a parking spot very close to the beach. There did seem to be a lot of people walking so we assumed many people who stay there just enjoy the town and beach via foot, leaving their cars at their rental house or hotel. At this hour, the beach was already packed! And by packed, I don’t mean with beach blankets and umbrellas. But I mean that there were just tons of people walking around, especially right up next to Haystack Rock.
We spent some time walking along the beach in and out of the water. When we got close to Haystack Rock the tide had come up quite a bit so we weren’t able to get too close to the rocks. The kids loved seeing all the jelly fish and crabs wash ashore in the waves. The water is pretty cold, and unfortunately you can not swim at Cannon Beach because of the rip currents.
The sand at Cannon Beach is the finest and softest sand I have ever felt. I figured this would be great – easy to get off – but that is false. Once wet it is very difficult to get off. Even with the powder hack, the sand still was stuck everywhere.
Ecola State Park
After spending a few hours walking around Cannon Beach, we headed north about 15 minutes to Ecola State Park. The park daily rate was only $5. We didn’t stay long and mostly walked along a few paths very close to the parking lot. We did however enjoy an awesome view of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park. If we had had more time we would have loved to go on a hike at the park.
Where we Stayed
We chose to stay in Astoria, OR for a few reasons, We were headed to Long Beach the next day so this was a good middle ground, and we used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book ;). The city of Astoria sits right on the Columbia River. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which had a great view of the river and the bridge into Washington. The hotel had bikes to rent for rides along the river front, and even a small area to wade in the water. My kids loved seeing how low the tide got throughout our short stay at this hotel.
Where we Ate
We chose to grab a quick lunch at Wayfarer because it was directly on Cannon Beach. Reviews were decent for the restaurant, but the food was only okay.
Fort George Brewery is located in Astoria, OR. We had to drive from our hotel, but it was only about 5 minutes and parking was easy. The restaurant does not accept reservations and we had a 30 minute wait. This was not bad at all because we could have a beer and play corn-hole with the kids outside while we waited. The beer at Fort George was great! So great we even took some home. They had a kids menu which is always a major plus. We liked the food a lot and would definitely return.
Read more on this weekend trip when we spent the second day visiting the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington!