If you’re lucky enough to live in Bend or somewhere in Central Oregon, you don’t have to go anywhere to find outdoor adventure, exceptional dining options, award-winning craft beer, or entertainment. All this is found right here in Bend and the surrounding area. However, if you want a change of scenery and you’re looking for a little adventure, consider making a road trip to Cannon Beach!
Not only will you end up at one of the most scenic and charming towns in Oregon, you’ll also encounter plenty of photo-worthy stops along the way. Take a look at our scenic route from Bend to Cannon Beach and consider stretching your legs at a few of the stops in between. And, if you’re feeling ambitious (and you have an entire day of travel to spare), you could stop at each place for the ultimate road trip!
While there are certainly more direct ways to get from Bend to Cannon Beach, we prefer the more scenic route. If you have plenty of time to spend on your drive, make a day out of it rather than sticking to the more direct highways. If you travel off the beaten path, you’ll encounter plenty of fun stops and jaw-dropping vistas. Just make sure you check the weather conditions if you’re traveling during the winter or spring, as you’ll be passing through some mountains and more narrow roads.
Head northwest from Bend on Highway 20 W and OR-22 W towards Salem. Then, continue along OR-22 W towards the Pacific (rather than heading north on I-5 to Portland) and travel up the scenic Highway 101 along the coast. This adds a little drive time to the itinerary (especially if you make several stops) but the views are worth it.
If you don’t stop, the total travel time for our route is a little over 5 hours. So, you’ll need to plan for several additional hours if you do some sightseeing and exploring, not to mention, gas and bathroom breaks.
If you haven’t yet been to Sisters, now is your chance! This picturesque town just outside of Bend is one of our favorite tiny towns in Oregon. Identified by the beautiful Three Sisters mountains, Sisters is a vibrant community with a nostalgic downtown area. Boutiques and specialty stores offer a variety of merchandise ranging from fine art and antiques to western wear and souvenirs. The nearby Deschutes National Forest accommodates hikers and backpackers with miles of winding trails and scenic vistas.
While the drive through the mountains is already scenic, we recommend making a stop at Detroit Lake for an especially beautiful sight. This large reservoir is perfect for swimming, boating, camping, fishing, kayaking, hiking, or simply pausing to take in the crystal blue waters and surrounding greenery.
Silver Falls State Park
Photo Courtesy of Oregon State Parks
Travel off OR-22 W a bit to reach Silver Falls State Park, where the possibility for outdoor adventure continues. Here, you’ll find some of the most stunning waterfalls in the region. In fact, you’ll find plenty along the Trail of 10 Falls, which showcases 10 of the park’s best waterfalls and one of the broadest collections of flora in the state. Begin your 7.8-mile journey at North Falls Trailhead and travel west on the Rim Trail toward the popular 177-foot South Falls. Continue along Canyon Trail to discover the remaining falls and various swimming holes. You’ll end up at the 136-foot North Falls, which features a unique undercut cliff that dramatically amplifies the roaring sound of rushing water.
After all the adventure of the day, you’ll want to fuel up with a bite to eat. Thankfully, Salem is less than an hour away from Silver Falls State Park. The capital city has plenty of restaurants to choose from, such as Rafns’, table FIVE 08, Venti’s Cafe, and Wild Pear. If you have more time to spare, consider stopping at the Oregon State Capitol, Enchanted Forest, Deepwood Museum & Gardens, or one of the many nearby wineries.
Head straight towards the vast Pacific Ocean, traveling west towards Pacific City, a quaint coastal town offering endless ocean vistas. One highlight of Pacific City is Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, an expansive state park along the water with hiking trails, a sea stack called Haystack Rock (not the one you’re thinking of!), and lots of wave action.
Photo Courtesy of Aaron Leitz via Tillamook Creamery
If you’re craving something sweet (or cheesy), make a stop at Tillamook Creamery, where you can take a self-guided tour of the Tillamook factory, complete with cheese samples, interactive kiosks, a cafe, and of course, lots of ice cream. This newly reimagined destination is a must for cheese lovers!
You’re almost there! As you wind along the coast heading north, consider stopping in Manzanita just before you hit Cannon Beach. This is another charming coastal town often overshadowed by its northern neighbor. However, Manzanita has the third-most photographed scenery in the state of Oregon. Plus, the quaint downtown area has a myriad of eateries, boutiques, coffee shops, bed and breakfasts, and other small town attractions. There are plenty of things to do and places to eat, shop, and stay in and around Manzanita. Stop for a cup of coffee at Manzanita Coffee Co. or Manzanita News & Espresso and grab a bite to eat at Big Wave Café, Bread and Ocean, A Mighty Thai, Marzano’s Pizza Pie, or Left Coast Siesta.
Arrive in Cannon Beach
You made it! Trust us, there will be no shortage of activities and destinations during your stay in Cannon Beach. Some of our favorite coffee shops in Cannon Beach include Sleepy Monk Coffee, Sea Level Bakery + Coffee and Insomnia Coffee. There are also plenty of places to eat, including The Irish Table, Stephanie Inn, Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge, Pelican Brewing, The Wayfarer Restaurant and Lounge. The town is known for its exceptional art galleries and charming boutiques, and there are a number of annual events, one of which may fall during your visit!
Have a great road trip — and let us know if we missed any spots along the way!