While fall is a magical time across the entire United States, it’s even more so here in Cannon Beach Oregon. Often referred to as our “second summer” or “the magic season” fall is actually the warmest season on the Oregon coast. This phenomenon is caused by a unique interaction between warmer waters and cooler temperatures inland. And all that compounded with the fewer people and less expensive lodging prices means that fall is a spectacular time to visit Cannon Beach!
We rounded up a few things you should do this fall in the area, from birdwatching to pumpkin picking to art gallery hopping below. Have a fantastic fall season exploring Cannon Beach!
While birdwatching is a great activity in Cannon Beach all year long, fall is when the mild climate of the coast’s estuaries and woodlands create the ideal conditions for migrating birds and fowl. According to local birders, you’ll want to look for Greater White-fronted Geese, American Coots and Townsend Warblers at the Cannon Beach Settling Ponds.
Or whale watching
While peak whale watching season in Cannon Beach is mid-December through mid-January, there’s still a good chance you may be able to catch a peak in the fall! And, because the summer crowds have died down and the winter visitors haven’t arrived just yet, you’ll have your whale watching perch all to yourself. We have a complete guide to whale watching in the area which includes tips, tricks, locations, and even some other fun things to do while you’re out and about. You can find it here.
Walk the beach
While a rainy, gloomy autumn day isn’t everyone’s first choice for a beach day, it’s a must when exploring Cannon Beach in the fall. There’s just something special about the gray skies, wet sand and crashing waves that make for a perfect Oregon coast day. A few beaches that should be on your list include Cannon Beach (so you can see Haystack Rock, of course), Arcadia Beach, Hug Point Beach, Arch Cape Beach and Crescent Beach in Ecola State Park.
Explore Cannon Beach’s coffee scene
Photo courtesy of Insomnia Coffee Company
There’s nothing better on a rainy fall day than cozying up in a local coffee shop! Luckily, Canon Beach is home to some spectacular cafes, coffee roasters and more that you can explore this season. A few of our favorites include Insomnia Coffee Company, Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters, Sea Level Bakery + Coffee, Bald Eagle Coffee House and Cannon Beach Bakery.
Take a hike
While Cannon Beach isn’t known for having swaths of bright changing leaves every year, that doesn’t mean we don’t get a sprinkling of color here and there! Our fall foliage reaches its peak usually in mid-October, offering a few pops of orange, red and yellow among the spruce and maple trees. The best way to explore Cannon Beach’s fall foliage is by taking a hike through one of our area’s many state parks. There are four state parks within 10 minutes of Cannon Beach. In fact, we have a guide to all of them Click here to explore Ecola State Park, Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area, Hug Point State Recreation Site, and Oswald West State Park.
Go clamming in Nehalem Bay
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Fall is prime time for salmon fishing, crabbing and clamming on the Oregon coast. While most will recommend heading to the larger Tillamook Bay, we have a soft spot for Nehalem Bay, a smaller spot directly south. This area offers exceptionally good fishing, crabbing and clamming in the cooler months and you don’t have to have a boat to enjoy all of those fishy opportunities! Click here for a guide to crabbing and clamming in Nehalem Bay. Just remember, in Oregon, everyone 12 years old and older needs a license to harvest shellfish. Licenses are available for a day or the full year and can be purchased online, from an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) licensed agent or a ODFW office.
Stay the weekend in a local Bed & Breakfast
Even if you’re a full-time Cannon Beach resident, booking a weekend stay at one of the area’s cozy and romantic bed & breakfasts is the perfect way to welcome fall to the area! Each B&B offers historic architecture, beautiful views and friendly faces that will help you see a side of Cannon Beach you may not have experienced before. If you’re looking for recommendations, don’t miss the Arch Cape Inn & Retreat, Cannon Beach Hotel Lodgings, Song of the Sea, and Ocean Point Inn & Spa in Arch Cape.
Grab a seasonal beer from a local brewery
This fall, cozy up with a seasonal brew at one of the two breweries in town—both of which opened in 2016. A small-batch brewery, Pelican Brewing, creates a wide range of beers, including pilsners, pale lagers, blonde and pale ales, IPAs, porters, stouts, Saisons and more. And situated at the northern end of town, Public Coast Brewing Co. is a modern and vibrant brewery with a great selection of beers. Grab a stool at the wrap-around bar and watch beer being made through the brewery windows!
Located near Astoria, Blackberry Bog Farm is a small, family-run farm growing some of the best produce around. During October, they have a large pumpkin patch that you are welcome to explore. The patch is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and visitors are encouraged to walk through to pick out pumpkins to take home. They also have a variety of mums for sale as well as winter squashes and plenty of tasty fall treats. And, if you don’t want to leave your car, they have pumpkins and mums for sale on their website and no-contact delivery options.
Try to spot some Roosevelt Elk
While they make themselves scarce during the summer months, herds of Roosevelt Elk can frequently be spotted at some of their favorite grazing grounds around Cannon Beach the rest of the year. These amazing creatures are usually in herds of a dozen or more, with adults coming in around 10-feet tall and 1,000 pounds! The best places to spot these majestic animals are the meadows of Ecola State Park, along the edge of Ecola Creek, City Park and the Highway 101 Sunset Boulevard Exit. It goes without saying that these are wild animals and should only be watched from a respectable distance and, if possible, from the safety of a vehicle.
Go on a self-guided art gallery tour
Cannon Beach is an undeniably artsy town. The area is home to more than a dozen art galleries filled with artwork from renowned artists, many of whom call Cannon Beach their home. This fall, bundle up and enjoy a self-guided walking tour of some of the best art galleries in Cannon Beach, focused on a variety of styles and mediums, from abstract sculpture to landscape painting and everything in between. We just happen to have a full guide and interactive map of our favorites!
Relax by a beach campfire
It just wouldn’t be fall without a cozy night bundled up by the campfire roasting marshmallows and sipping on hot cocoa. All this mixed with the sound of waves crashing and the sand squishing beneath your toes makes for a spectacular evening under the stars. Building a small campfire on the beach is allowed on most beaches in the area as long as there isn’t a fire ban in effect and the fire is small and contained. Small fires are also only allowed in dry, open sand, safely clear of any grass and driftwood lines. Click here for general burning information from the Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District.
Enjoy the arts at the Stormy Weather Arts Festival
Taking place each year on the first weekend of November, the Stormy Weather Arts Festival has been one of the town’s most popular events for over 30 years! This multi-day festival focuses on a wide range of visual and performing arts, including music, art, fashion and culinary art. The 2021 event will be held on November 5-7, featuring a variety of safe gatherings, artist demonstrations, paint classes and live musical performances. Click here for all the information.
Have a great fall!
What are you planning to do this fall in Cannon Beach? Let us know in the comments below!