While it is considered a day trip destination of its own, Cannon Beach makes an excellent home base for exploring other popular destinations along the coast. If you find yourself spending an extended amount of time in Cannon Beach, or if you are lucky enough to live here year-round, add one of these day trips to your schedule!
We’ve included a mix of nearby towns just up the road and some farther off destinations, never taking more than 1.5 hours to reach. There’s something for everyone to do — including outdoor recreation, historic sites, beautiful views, restaurants, and more.
If you’re looking for a place to stay while you’re in Cannon Beach, consider booking a stay at one of these oceanfront hotels and vacation rentals in town.
COVID NOTE: Be sure to wear a face mask and maintain a 6-foot distance from others at all times. Check the website for each business before you visit, for their COVID policies and to ensure they are open.
For More of What You Love About Cannon Beach: Seaside
Distance From Cannon Beach: 8.9 Miles (About 15 Minutes)
Photo Courtesy of M.O. Stevens, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
If you’ve visited all the businesses along Cannon Beach’s picturesque Hemlock Street, don’t fret! There’s more where that came from — and it’s just up the road. The bustling beach town of Seaside is home to a number of shops, restaurants and attractions, including the popular Seaside Aquarium, home to a few famous seals. Spend an afternoon or an entire day exploring all that Seaside has to offer, alongside the thousands of tourists who visit each year.
Thrillist put together an excellent itinerary for Seaside, from relaxing activities to outdoor adventures. To start, take a simple stroll along the Historic Seaside Promenade (known as the Prom), a 1.5-mile-long promenade stretching from Avenue U to the south and 12th Avenue to the north. Then, order seafood at Buoy’s Best Fish House, pick up saltwater taffy at Seaside Candyman, rent kayaks, drink a beer at Seaside Brewery and visit the Seaside Historical Society Museum.
For History Buffs: Astoria
Distance From Cannon Beach: 25.4 Miles (About 40 Minutes)
Founded in 1811, this quaint fishing village is the oldest settlement west of the Rockies. Astoria is filled to the brim with history, scenic views, Victorian-era homes, adorable local shops and much more.
Explore the Columbia River by kayak, learn about area history at the Columbia River Maritime Museum or the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, sit down for a delicious seafood meal, or take a hike up to Youngs River Falls, offering some of the best views in the area. Don’t miss the iconic Astoria Column, a 125-foot tower resting above town on Coxcomb Hill. Plus, make your way to Fort Stevens State Park for a mix of history and outdoor recreation, which is located along the Pacific, as opposed to the riverfront Astoria. This historic military site is also home to the Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, a Victorian ship abandoned by its crew in 1906 after strong winds destroyed its masts at sea.
For Cheese Lovers: Tillamook
Distance From Cannon Beach: 40 Miles (About 55 Minutes)
Photo Courtesy of Matthew Millman via Tillamook Creamery
Home of the renowned Tillamook Creamery, Tillamook is a small town south of Cannon Beach, just off Tillamook Bay. Many venture here to visit the cheese factory, which offers free self-guided tours of the factory, complete with cheese samples, interactive kiosks, a cafe, and of course, lots of ice cream (click here for COVID updates!).
But Tillamook has more than just cheese to offer. The town is located at the convergence of three rivers, Tillamook, Trask and Wilson, making it a paradise for kayakers. Plus, here, you can embark on the Three Capes Scenic Route, which includes a stop at the lighthouse at Cape Meares State Park, Cape Lookout State Park, and Cape Kiwanda. Another lesser–known destination, but one certainly worth considering, is the Tillamook Air Museum, an aviation museum housed in a former U.S. Navy blimp hangar, the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world.
For Hiking + Camping: Clatsop State Forest
Distance From Cannon Beach: 41.6 Miles (About 1 Hour)
If you came to Cannon Beach from Portland, you passed through Clatsop State Forest, the massive 136,000-acre state forest in the northwesternmost portion of the state. This diverse park provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, from fishing to hiking and camping to horseback riding.
Pitch your tent at Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground, Gnat Creek Campground, or Beaver Eddy Campground. And embark on a hike along one of the many trails in the area, including Bloom Lake Trail, Soapstone Lake Trail, or the Spruce Run Creek Trail. And cast a line at Lost Lake, a 14-acre natural forest lake stocked with trout. Learn more about each of these destinations here. After your adventures, you’ll understand why William Clark wrote these words in his journal about the forests in Clatsop County: “Today I behold the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed.”
For Views That Won’t Disappoint: Cape Disappointment
Distance From Cannon Beach: 41.8 Miles (About 1 Hour)
Don’t be fooled by the name; Cape Disappointment is anything but disappointing. In fact, it offers some of the most breathtaking views in the region! Situated in the southwest corner of Washington State, Cape Disappointment is a peninsula jutting into the convergence of the Pacific and the Columbia River. The cape contains old growth forests, freshwater lakes and marshes, a military fort, historic lighthouses, and more.
While you’re here, visit Fort Canby, take a hike through the forest, walk along the beach and collect shells — and take in all the incredible views all the while. While the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is inaccessible due to the closure of Deadman’s Cove, visitors can still visit the North Head Lighthouse — or at least view it from the outside! Make sure you return to Cape Disappointment in the future to visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center once it reopens.
For a Drive Along the Coast: Pacific City
Distance From Cannon Beach: 64.6 Miles (About 1 Hour, 30 Minutes)
Cannon Beach makes an excellent home base for exploring some of Oregon’s best beach towns, from the abovementioned Astoria to the north all the way south to Brookings at the Oregon-California border. If you’re looking for a quick trip with rewarding views along the way, look no further than Pacific City.
Visitors flock to Pacific City for its exceptional views, restaurants and shops, and nearby outdoor recreation options. One of the most renowned attractions in Pacific City is the massive sand dune, which you can climb for one of the best viewpoints around. Another 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. Top off your Pacific City experience with a beer at Pelican Brewing Company!
If you didn’t get enough, consider driving just 30 minutes south to Lincoln City. Learn more about Lincoln City (and some of the other notable beach towns along the Oregon Coast) here.
What day trips should we add to our itinerary? Let us know in the comments below!