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In Search of Sunshine at Cannon Beach

In Search of Sunshine at Cannon Beach


avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 02/04/2016
Posted On 05/02/2018 14:44:27

Destinations | Drives in Oregon | Portland Day Trips | Cannon Beach | Haystack Rock | Needles | Hug Point



After traveling almost weekly for the 11+ years before my recent retirement, I had not been on a plane for almost two months - until this week. Scott and I flew to Phoenix where we met my mother and then quickly boarded a flight to Portland, Oregon. The primary purpose of our trip was to help my Aunt Jan plan a Celebration of Life for my Aunt Barbara who passed away in December 2015. Although the weather was expected to be less than perfect for outdoor activities, after spending our first day planning (inside), we hoped to sneak in a little sightseeing.

If you live in or are visiting the Portland, Oregon area and have access to a motor vehicle, here's a great day trip which takes you out to a small town on the coast with some nearby beautiful scenery. Unless you make a souvenir or dining purchase along the way, the only cost is fuel for your car.



Westbound Drive from Portland, Oregon

With Scott at the wheel, we headed west on US-26 through Clatsop State Forest (full of moss covered trees) until we reached US-101. We then travelled south along the Oregon coastline making several photo stops on our round trip journey. Approximately 80 miles west of Portland, the city of Cannon Beach was surrounded by ocean beaches, rivers, forests and mountains, as well as some unforgettable viewpoints.


Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

Home to about 1,705 residents and hosting over 750,000 visitors annually, Cannon Beach was named "one of The World's 100 Most Beautiful Places" by National Geographic in June 2013. October through May is called "The Quiet Season" in Cannon Beach. While enjoying the secluded beaches, bird watching and spring wildflowers are a given, visitors also come for storm watching (and whale watching between mid-December and mid-January and again between mid-March and mid-April). In addition to the scenery, Cannon Beach is a perfect small town to explore on foot.


Cannon Beach - The Quiet Season

Cannon Beach - The Quiet Season

Filled with specialty retail and food shopping (94 flavor of saltwater taffy!), art galleries and restaurants, visitors can easily spend an afternoon wandering about the town.


Gotta have some Saltwater Taffy!

Gotta have some Saltwater Taffy!

Haystack Rock and The Needles

Just south of downtown Cannon Beach, we caught our first glimpse of Haystack Rock, one of the most popular and recognizable landmarks on the Oregon coast. Haystock Rock rises 235 feet high, and was formed millions of years ago by lava flows over the Columbia Plateau to the Oregon Coast. After remaining buried until changes in the earth and sea left the formations above water, the softer sediments eroded away, leaving the rock formations seen today.


Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock

Soon after finding Haystock Rock, we also saw The Needles.


The Needles

The Needles

About a mile south of Cannon Beach, we made a brief stop at Arcadia State Recreation Site. Just off the highway was a shady grove, and we were steps away from the ocean. It was a great place for Charlie (Aunt Jan's puppy) to get out and stretch!


Arcadia State Recreation Site

Arcadia State Recreation Site



Hug Point State Recreation Area

Continuing south down the Oregon coast, we approached Hug Point. Both Hug Point and Hug Point State Recreation Area were named after the trail along the beach because pioneers had to "hug the point" as they travelled via stagecoach. We walked the short distance from the parking lot toward the beach and spotted a sea cave carved into the sandstone cliffs.


Sea Cave at Hug Point

Sea Cave at Hug Point

Klootchy Creek County Park

A concrete and steel one-lane bridge over the Necanicum River caught my attention as we were traveling west, so on our eastbound return to Portland, we made one final stop. Just over 2 miles from the intersection with US-101 on US-26 was the home to Klootchy Creek County Park.


Necanicum River at Klootchy Creek County Park

Necanicum River at Klootchy Creek County Park

Although we saw very little sun today, at least the rain let up long enough for us to stretch our legs a few times! I can only imagine the beauty of this area in the spring, summer and fall.

Tips for a Visit to the Oregon Coast

  • If you can make the journey on a day with nice weather and would like a little exercise, I believe that a walk along the mile long stretch of beach from "the city" to Haystack Rock would be very enjoyable - if it weren't so cold, I definitely would have done it.
  • If you can swing your visit to Hug Point at low tide (and nice weather), consider taking a walk along the original road north of the parking area where you can apparently still see wheel ruts carved into the rock from the stagecoaches that once travelled the route.
  • When visiting Klootchy Creek County Park, look for the giant Sitka Spruce tree - at an estimated 750 years old, it is one of the oldest living things in the state of Oregon, and I didn't know about it until after our visit. Although it doesn't rise as high as it once did due to a lightning strike, windstorms and the necessity of being further cut by the Parks Department in an effort to ensure visitor safety, you are still supposed to be able to tell how massive it was.

Another "Must Do" Drive in Portland, Oregon

Check out our post titled "All in a Days Drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway" for some even more amazing scenery.

Coastal Cities

In your opinion, what's the most beautiful coastal city in the United States ... or anywhere else in the world?




Total FitBit steps today: 5,146
Weather:54F Mist and Fog
Tolovana Beach State Park, Cannon Beach, OR, United States


In Search of Sunshine at Cannon Beach




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