Occasionally I visit a destination that makes me wonder why I often travel long and far to find an incredible beach, yet overlook some much closer to home. Cannon Beach on the Northern Oregon Coast, was just one of those special places. Arriving in time for sunset, this amazing sand beach made the six hour road trip from Vancouver, British Columbia entirely worth it.
What’s to Love?
The large sandy beach is a marvelous place for children to fly a kite, build a sand castle, or dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean (although not a safe swimming beach), all with the majestic Haystack Rock as your backdrop. You will undoubtably hear that Haystack is the third largest monolith in the world. In fact, it is not (wikipedia), but that does not diminish the fact that it is quite a site to behold. To answer your child’s question, no, you are not allowed to climb it ($500 fine), but during low tide, it is a great place to check out tidal pools full of starfish, sea anemone and crabs. The rock is also a nesting site for many sea birds including terns and puffins.
First a 1 minute video……or just continue reading below. In the video, not only will you see how gorgeous the Oregon coast is , but you will also learn the truth; that my children are not nearly as serene as I like to portray them in this blog.
Where to stay in Cannon Beach with kids:
While there are many family friendly properties in Cannon Beach, we were lucky enough to enjoy a one bedroom suite at the Ocean Lodge Resort. As it is right on the beach, from our cozy room we had an unobstructed view of the water and Haystack Rock. The rooms are well suited for families with the availability of cribs and high chairs, and a small kitchen (mini fridge and microwave). The lodge is also a pet friendly property.
Nightly rate: starting at $129 (non-view), and $189 (ocean view) including continental breakfast
Get a deal: check website specials page
Hotel class: 3+ star
Rooms: studios to 1 bedroom suites – most with ocean views
Reviews: 95% of family reviewers rate as very good or excellent on tripadvisor
Note: The 1 bedroom suites with sofa bed (ocean view) are very popular with families.
What we loved: All day coffee and cookies, continental breakfast included, library, excellent staff, great location, DVD library
Price range: $$$
Hotel class: 4 star
Specials: See the special offers page
Reviews: 89% of family reviewers rate as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ on Tripadvisor
Things we loved: fabulous location, s’mores by the beach, pet-friendly, rubber duckies and chocolates for turndown service, family friendly restaurant on site (The Wayfarer), heated indoor pool
For more information: see full review
Kid-friendly dining options in Cannon Beach:
The top rated restaurants in Cannon Beach are not particularly kid-friendly (EVOO and Castaways). There are, however, several other decent places that worked out well for us.
The Wayfarer (website) $$$ seafood / west coast fare – finer dining
Address: 1190 pacific drive (map)
Reviews: 75% recommend on tripadvisor
Offers: high chairs, booster seats, kid’s coloring activity, and a good children’s menu (including an option for babies)
Click for menus
Note: This restaurant is right next to the beach near Haystack rock. My children had a nice run around before dinner while I enjoyed the view (although I did have to dust them off a bit before walking in the door)
Family Friendly Activities in and around Cannon Beach
Wander through the town of Cannon Beach, peaking into the nice galleries and boutiques. Kids will love Bruce’s Candy Kitchen (website) and Geppettos Toy Shoppe (website), with it’s well curated selection of beach toys, books, and games.
At the north end of downtown Cannon Beach, you can enjoy the drive (or hike) into this dense forest of Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock. Watch the surfers from Indian Beach or see if you can spot any elk in the open meadows.
Take a trip to neighboring Tillamook
Known for their famous Tillamook cheese, the town is only a 45 minute drive south of Cannon Beach. Make sure you save room for a bite to eat and some ice cream.
While this is a self guided tour, my children were completely mesmerized by the cheese packaging assembly line. There are also a number of interactive kiosks for little ones. Of course, in the end you are funneled into the store. Just try to get out of there without buying some cheese, fudge or ice cream !
Blue Heron French Cheese Company (website)
Address: 2001 blue heron drive – just off highway 101 north (map)
Hours: summer hours 8am-6pm, winter hours 9am-6pm
Reviews: 73% of people rate as very good or excellent on tripadvisor
Part attraction, part restaurant, this is a great place to grab a bite of lunch while your child checks out the farm animals and other attractions in the yard. If you are interested in purchasing some Oregon wine, they also have a nice selection to choose from.
Other family activities in Tillamook:
While we would have loved to have visited the Cape Meares lighthouse and wildlife refuge, a small typhoon made such an outing virtually impossible. It does, however, get wonderful reviews (91% recommend on tripadvisor) , so be sure to visit if possible.
Important things to know about Cannon Beach, Oregon:
Calendar of Events – check out the events page from the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce
The Ocean Lodge kindly offered me a complimentary stay. All other expenses were paid for personally. All opinions in this post are entirely my own.