Hiker along Cannon Beach coastline

Hike along Oregon’s stunning coast. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

Take a Long Weekend to Discover Cannon Beach, Oregon

One of Cannon Beach, Oregon’s most iconic sights is Haystack Rock, an impressive, 235-foot-tall rock formation. While this spot has more film credits than some actors (The Goonies, Point Break and Twilight all have scenes here), the area around it is far from a one-trick pony, thanks to its vast network of hiking trails and dramatic sea caves and waterfalls.

And with its art galleries, restaurants and a very unexpected location for a bar, the downtown neighborhood offers a lovely balance — more creature comforts, less wild and rocky activity.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Hike in Oswald West State Park

Start your day with waffles or an omelette from Lazy Susan Café. If you’re looking for caffeine only before hitting the trails, Insomnia Coffee Co. has some of the town’s best coffee. Make sure to pick up a little something to satiate snack cravings for your time in the wilds.

Hiker in Oswald State Park on bridge
Explore Oregon’s lush forests. (Photo: Getty Images)

Next, head for Oswald West State Park, a green space located a 10-minute drive south of the downtown area. Extending four miles along the coast, this park is an old-growth forest featuring a temperate rainforest climate overlooking the moody Pacific waters.

Hiking enthusiasts should start with the 4.6-mile (roundtrip) Cape Falcon hike — find the trailhead at the northernmost end of Oswald’s parking area.

Follow up your walk with a trip to Short Sand Beach, which is also accessed from Oswald’s parking lot. If it’s warm, bring a swimsuit: This is a great spot to watch surfers or even take on the waves yourself.

Time for some sustenance. End the day at Public Coast Brewing, where a rotating roster of homemade brews keeps locals coming back for more (the organic burgers are also a draw). The people-watching is amazing any night of the week, but it’s especially lively on the weekends.

If, after a beer, you’re craving a change of scenery, check out MacGregor’s of Cannon Beach for a whiskey flight and something from the (elevated) pub-food menu.

Saturday: Explore Haystack Rock

Rock formation in Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach’s majestic landscape (Photo: Getty Images)

You absolutely cannot visit Cannon Beach and not see its most famous rock formation, so grab your camera — along with a filling first meal of the day. For the latter, try Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters where you can eat your breakfast sitting in one of the Adirondack chairs out front.

You’re a one-minute drive or an eight-minute walk from the parking lot for Haystack Rock, the 235-foot-tall formation that graces the ending scene in The Goonies. Yes, it’s touristy, but it’s worth it — there’s something about the way the “stack” of basalt emerges from the fog and surf that’s both meditative and exhilarating.

Once you’re finished up at Haystack, head back to your car and drive seven minutes south to Hug Point State Recreation Site. Here, you’ll find caves carved into jagged cliffs, a waterfall and tide pools (accessible during low tides). The full walk along the coastline is short, measuring in at a half-mile each way. But the sheer amount of natural beauty gives it a must-see status.

Pack a picnic if the weather’s good or head back to town for seafood at Castaways (don’t sleep on the lobster bisque). After lunch, find out why Cannon Beach is known as an art destination. There’s a self-guided walking tour that starts at the corner of Spruce and 2nd Streets and winds you through 1.5 miles of public art.

For your evening outing, dress in layers: You’re about to experience a complete change of scenery from the previous night. Barrel bonfires are legal on the beaches of Cannon Beach between the months of June and October and from sunrise to sunset. Grab something to grill and set up on the sand — making sure to read all the bonfire regulations before you get the party started.

If you’re not visiting during “bonfire” months, call and book a table at the reservation-only Corbins for some soul-warming Irish cuisine.

Sunday: Stroll Downtown

Start the day on a sweet note at Crepe Neptune, home to 18 different takes on the French classic.

Then visit as many art galleries as possible — this community prides itself on its creative residents. Don’t miss DragonFire Gallery, the Cannon Beach Arts Association & Cannon Beach Gallery, White Bird Gallery and Bronze Coast Gallery.

From there, grab lunch at Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House, a bar where you can get the supplies for your next DIY project and a solid meal in the same trip. Even if you aren’t looking for a box of nails (we’re guessing not, given your vacation status), this bar is well worth a visit for the ambiance alone. As for the food, we suggest the smoked pastrami reuben with a side of Cajun tater tots.

Spend the rest of the afternoon shopping and strolling. C&R Mercantile has beach-ready apparel for all ages, the Cannon Beach Chocolate Café is a must-visit for those with a sweet tooth, Cannon Beach Leather has a massive selection of jackets and accessories, Golden Whale Jewelry has gifts and Dena’s Shop on the Corner offers stylish women’s clothing.

You can also unwind after exploring Cannon Beach’s quaint city center at Elements By the Sea, a day spa specializing in massage, skincare and energy work

Fish and chips with lemon on plate
Enjoy delicious fish and chips. (Photo: Getty Images)

To wrap up your last night, head to dinner at Ecola Seafood Restaurant and Market. Known as one of the best places to taste the catch of the day and the home of a “World Famous Smoked Salmon Jerky,” this eatery gets busy (try the fish and chips, crab melt or the clam chowder).

Before turning in, saunter over for a nightcap at Wayfarer Restaurant and Lounge, which is known for its impressive selection of whiskeys.