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Cannon Beach is a lovely little seashore town located on the North Coast of Oregon. To the north of us is Ecola State Park and to the south are Arcadia Beach, Hug Point, and Oswald West State Parks. Standing just offshore is Haystack Rock - possibly the most photographed chunk of basalt in the world. The scenic grandeur of our surroundings and our moderate year-round climate makes Cannon Beach a popular destination for travelers from all over the world.
Back in the '70s a small artists enclave got started here and has grown to include over twenty galleries featuring work by local, regional, and nationally known artists. Cannon Beach is a good place to find art for decoration or investment. Two galleries specialize in bronzes, one in classical fine art and bronzes, one in local wildlife, quite a few of them show the work of their owner/artists, the rest are general galleries featuring work from local and non-local artists.
In keeping with our close ties with the arts Cannon Beach has a small theater, the Coaster Theater, where you can see live theatrical and musical productions. The productions I have seen have been very good amateur work. The actors are well rehearsed and directed, and the sets are low-budget but creative. That is as it should be. The immediacy of live theater - of seeing our friends and neighbors up there doing their best - is a treat that we experience too seldom in this electronic age. The Coaster Theater is located at 1st and Hemlock in Cannon Beach, Oregon. You can contact them at 503-436-1242 between 1 and 5PM daily.
beach at Cannon Beach is a very nice long, clean, light-colored fine sand beach. In the
surf you will see numerous rocks called sea stacks including the much photographed Haystack Rock which sits pretty much dead-center opposite the
town. Beachcombing, photography, tide pooling (do it right!),
beach volleyball, bird watching, whale
watching, sand castle building and just plain old walking are all
popular activities on our beautiful beach. A walk on the beach will clear your mind
and can really change your perspective on life.
Some people really like to shop, and we try to accommodate them in style. Here in Cannon Beach you will find many quality shops, but no tacky souvenir stands. Visit our links page and check out the "Cannon Beach businesses & shopping" section to learn more about them.
Just a word about
weather forecasts: ignore them! It is the most frustrating thing listening to
weather forecasts here - especially in the summer. Precipitation is infrequent here
on the coast during July, August, and September, but it is predicted in some form almost
every day. I think that if the weather forecasters can't get it right a reasonably
high percentage of the time, they should quit trying. If you come in July, August or
September, you should be confident that the weather will be mostly, very nice. Not
hot or cold and seldom wet. We do get a lot of rain, but most comes between November
In 1805 Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their exploratory party made camp at Fort Clatsop (up near Warrenton) for the winter. They were here on assignment by President Jefferson to explore his new land purchase and to see what was beyond. It was a particularly wet and miserable winter and they got a nasty case of cabin fever. One day they got some interesting news:
This whale - or Ecole in the native language - was washed up on what is now known as Cannon Beach. Having nothing better to do and being quite bored, Captain Clark, Sacagawea, and some men decided to go have a look, thus making Cannon Beach the first tourist destination west of the Mississippi River. As you can see, they enjoyed the scenery from Tillamook Head (now within Ecola State Park) and did some beach combing:
It is interesting to note that a 105 foot whale would have to be a Blue Whale, not the more locally common Gray Whale which tops out at about 45 foot. Since Captain Clark was a professional surveyor, it is reasonable to assume that he measured the "Skelleton" accurately.
Captain Clark ended up purchasing 300 pounds of whale blubber, a souvenir which he much prized. Fortunately, you can now find many excellent restaurants in Cannon Beach serving fresh seafood caught and prepared with care and expertise.
You can learn much more about Cannon Beach at Cannon-Beach.net or at the official Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce website. These are both good web sites with lots of helpful information. They are locally produced and so are more complete and up-to-date than any of the others out there.
The Cannon Beach Magazine is published each year to help you plan and enjoy your vacation in our little beach town. If you are considering a vacation in Cannon Beach you can contact the information center and they will send you a copy for free. Or you can download a PDF formatted copy by clicking here. By downloading and printing only what you need, you will be saving a lot of paper.