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11 Things to Do in Cannon Beach During the Winter

  |  Cannon Beach, Neighborhood Insight

Usually, our picture of a trip to Cannon Beach involves kite flying, ice cream licking, beach strolling and forest hiking — and typically, this is best experienced during the spring and summer when the temperatures are warmer. But there’s a variety of cozy, indoor activities worth doing in Cannon Beach during the colder months — plus, let’s be honest: there are less crowds to navigate.

Whether you live just down the road or across the state, let’s explore just a handful of things to do in Cannon Beach during the winter, whether you prefer sipping on a craft brew or want to walk on the wild side in the eye of a storm.


Go Wine Tasting

Cozy up to the bar on a cold day to sip on a red wine — specifically pinot noir, the grape that put the Willamette Valley on the map for wine connoisseurs around the globe. Sample some of the best wines from the region at a number of cozy wine shops and wine bars in town, including The Wine Shack, The Wine Bar at Sweet Basil’s Cafe and Laurel’s Wine Shop.


Hang Out in a Coffee Shop

Sea Level Bakery Cannon Beach, OR

Photo Courtesy of Sea Level Bakery + Coffee

Winter is the perfect season for spending an afternoon in a coffee shop with a book or a laptop — or none of the above for a coffee date with a friend or your significant other. There are plenty of cozy coffee shops in Cannon Beach to choose from, and some of our favorites include Sleepy Monk, Sea Level Bakery + Coffee, and Insomnia Coffee. Sleepy Monk is especially cozy with warm lighting, wood benches, comfy pillows and of course, good coffee to warm you up.


Go Whale Watching

Gray whales are the most commonly seen type of whale along the Oregon Coast. And the most common time to see them is during their twice-annual migration between Mexico and Alaska. If you watched the whales migrate up to Alaska in March, see them pass by again as they head for the warmer waters of Mexico in December through mid-January. Nearly 20,000 whales pass by Cannon Beach during this beautiful migration. And one of the best places to see this phenomenon is Ecola State Park!


Visit a Few Art Galleries

Cannon Beach is kind of known for its incredible art galleries and artistic culture. Check out these 12 Must-Visit Art Galleries in Cannon Beach, complete with an interactive map to guide you on your art-filled journey. Bundle up and travel to and from each of these inspiring galleries, each of which provides an escape from the cold and plenty of incredible art to admire, much of which was created by talented local artists!


Celebrate the Holidays

Holiday Events in Vancouver, WA

Haystack Holidays is one of the many annual events the community looks forward to each year. Kick off the holiday season with a variety of events in November through the month of December, including WOW! Cannon Beach, Mimosa Madness, the downtown Lamp Lighting Ceremony, pictures with Santa, Holiday Foods Around the World, the Winter Holiday Concert, and more.


Eat Dinner at the Irish Table

While there are plenty of exceptional restaurants in Cannon Beach, we can’t think of a more cozy, intimate retreat than the Irish Table. Tucked behind the beloved Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters, The Irish Table is a warm and inviting eatery with a unique focus. Fusing Pacific Northwest cuisine with Irish fare, chef and owner Crystal Corbin’s daily menus are highlighted by homemade soup, soda bread and fresh fish. Open for dinner only, this cozy eatery is filled with wood paneling, warm lighting and rustic details. The selection of Irish whiskey, beer and handcrafted cocktails completes the experience at The Irish Table.


See a Play at Coaster Theatre

Grab tickets for a play or musical at the historic Coaster Theatre, situated in the heart of Cannon Beach. Formerly the home of a skating rink in the 1920s and beyond, the theatre has been a community staple for performing arts since 1972. Take a look at the events calendar to see what shows are coming up. At this small and intimate theater, there’s isn’t a bad seat in the house!


Try a New Brewery

Public Coast Brewing Co. Cannon Beach, OR

Photo Courtesy of Public Coast Brewing Co.

Cozy up with a seasonal brew at one of the two breweries in town — both of which opened in 2016. Pelican Brewing features soaring ceilings with large windows letting in lots of natural light — creating a cheerful environment, even on a gloomy day. This small-batch brewery creates a wide range of beers, including pilsners, pale lagers, blonde and pale ales, IPAs, porters, stouts, saisons and more. Situated at the northern end of town, Public Coast Brewing Co. is a modern and vibrant brewery with a great selection of beers. The name pays homage to the fact that all 363 miles of the Oregon coast remains free and open to all. Likewise, Public Coast makes craft beer that is both delicious and approachable. Grab a stool at the wrap-around bar and watch beer being made through the brewery windows.


Watch a Storm

A Pacific winter storm is something worth experiencing — as long as you proceed with caution. There are plenty of safe vantage points where you can take in the mighty wind, rain and waves — including a few resorts along the ocean. Consider booking a stay for a front-row seat to view one of these powerful, awe-inspiring storms.


Search for Roosevelt Elk at Ecola State Park

Roosevelt Elk

While Roosevelt Elk are few and far between during the summer, they are much more visible and active during the remainder of the year — especially if you know where to look. You can often find these beautiful elk gathered in herds of 10 or more, some of which can reach 10 feet in length and over 1,000 pounds. Head to the meadows of Ecola State Park, the edge of Ecola Creek, City Park, or the Highway 101 Sunset Boulevard Exit to potentially encounter these powerful creatures — especially during their most active hours at dawn and dusk.


Bundle Up and Take a Beach Stroll

Colder temperatures and less sunshine may not be the most enticing formula to draw you to the beach, but it can be a particularly magical scene — at least if you bundle up with plenty of warm layers. Fall and winter in Cannon Beach are significantly less active seasons for tourism, which means much less people on the beach. Take a stroll to Haystack Rock with a cup of coffee, watch the enormous waves crash on the shore, and breathe in the cool fresh air all the while.


Freeze the Day!

What winter activities in Cannon Beach are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below — whether or not they’re on this list.

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About the Author

Melissa Peterson, Director of Agent Services and Technology

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