Cannon Beach is a picturesque beach community right on the beautiful coast of northwest Oregon. It is a scenic 90-minute drive west of Portland along winding open roads filled with tall evergreens, rolling hills, and vast spaces. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Oregon Coast Range on the other, Cannon Beach was once just a small artists’ community, but now it has blossomed in popularity for its quaint charm and coastal living. In fact, it is my favorite beach town on the United State’s west coast.
So on a somewhat cold and mostly wet spring, I managed to make it here to this place that I love. And while the weather can be very harsh here during this time of the year, nature did not disappoint. Neither did this town.
Along the stretch of beach stands Haystack Rock which is the symbol and the most highly marketed tourist attraction of Cannon Beach. Its sits very conspicuously just off the shore along the main strip. At low tide this large rock exposes its many tidal pools filled with colorful sea life; a teeming aquatic ecosystem called a marine garden. Here orange and purple starfish and lime green anemones, as well as small crabs, flat algae, and tiny fish all dwell in abundance.
Beyond this rock, Cannon Beach is a casual and friendly place with everything you’d expect in a well-appointed beach town. The town itself is filled with cedar shingle buildings, picket fences, and gravel streets. Cottages look comfortable, projecting a “shabby chic and proud of it” attitude that suggests tracking in a little sand will not be the end of the world.
I spent hours on the beach photographing the sea creatures and then hours in town going to one small store and one art gallery after another. Though time didn’t seem to matter here. It went on slowly, and for once, I welcomed the slower pace of life.
In the evenings as the sun is about to set, an array of smells beckons. The aroma of cooking bar-b-que meats on the patios of the condos and hotel rooms along the beach as well as the wood burning in the fire pits all calls on me for dinner. While Cannon Beach is a foodie’s mecca for its gastronomical achievements in seafood (with its many top-rated and Michelin-starred restaurants), I actually prefer the casual meal over an open flame, right next to the water where I can hear the sounds of the waves breaking on shore.
Each night I spent here I would sit on the dry but cold sands, and look around me to see numerous bon fires swaying with the wind while dogs are happily running around and people are laughing away. Nights were cold and always with a layer of fog covering the beach. But we always endured and bundled up on the sand next to the fire to enjoy our dinner and the laughter that surrounds us.
For me, Cannon Beach provides the quintessential Oregon coast experience boasting with this is an array of colorful art galleries and sea life that inspires your senses. I usually come here time and time again. And each time is a different but familiar experience that I never forget."If you like this post, you might like these, too:"