Cannon Beach, Oregon
Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know
Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know
The uniqueness of Portland, the majesty of Mount Hood, and the rich forests are all major reasons for travelers to visit Oregon. One region that doesn’t get as much attention, however, is the rugged Oregon coast. Just around 20 miles or so south of the Washington border, the charming beach town of Cannon Beach is a must-stop location along your RV road trip through Oregon.
The small town of less than 2,000 people got its current name after a pre-Civil War era cannon was discovered washed up on the beach. It was fairly unknown until the 1960s, when a massive tsunami wiped out major highway access to the town. In an effort to bolster tourism and the local economy, the locals started a sandcastle tournament that continues to be a tourist favorite during the summer. Today, Cannon Beach is an RV destination that appeals to all types of campers and is routinely rated as one of the best beach towns in all of the United States.
The beach and all its beauty are the biggest draw to this fantastic little town. Haystack Rock is one of the most photographed natural features on the west coast. Rising 235 feet above the sea, this rock indeed resembles a massive haystack and was created by ancient lava flows.
The pristine sandy beaches cover about four miles and are a favorite for sunset walks. As you stroll along the coast, you will continue to encounter more rugged geological features and you’ll realize that you’ve never imagined this side of Oregon. On your walks, keep an eye out tidepools filled with colorful sea anemones and other critters during low tide.
Just three miles to the north of town, you can find an entirely natural experience at Ecola State Park. Featuring nine miles of forested coastline, the park has an incredible selection of scenic hiking trails, including a portion of the famous Clatsop Trail. Look out from the cliffs upon the rocky Pacific coast and you will see why famous explorer William Clark claimed the view to be his favorite from all of his travels.
Down below, you will find Indian Beach, a surfer’s delight. The consistent roll of mid-sized waves makes the waters at Indian Beach approachable and attractive for surfers of all levels (in the warm summer months, at least). It is also a great hub from which to do a little whale watching with a pair of binoculars.
Downtown Cannon Beach also has plenty of cultural beauty to showcase, as well. Named one of the country’s top 100 ‘art towns,’ there are more than a dozen galleries featuring a variety of different mediums. Perhaps not surprisingly, much of the local art pays homage to the gorgeous rocky coast and life in the Pacific Northwest.
For campers that love to learn about the history of the area and culture of their destinations, there are several museums nearby. The Cannon Beach History Center and Museum is the best place to research and understand life at Cannon Beach with many exhibits and historical buildings. For something a little different, visit the Lost Art of Nursing Museum and Gallery which pays tribute to these heroes of the medical field and their position in American culture throughout history.
Cannon Beach has far more shopping than your typical tourist town. Rather than trying to find which personalized key chain you’re going to choose, the town has tons of options including apparel, home decor, toy stores, surf shops, and so much more. Even for the speediest shoppers, you could make a day out of perusing the shops of Cannon Beach.
One of the favorites among tourists and locals alike is Bruce’s Candy Kitchen. Opening its doors in 1963 just before the town really popped, Bruce’s offers a delicious variety of classic saltwater taffies and handmade chocolates. Their seasonal offerings around the holidays (e.g. Rudolph-themed nutter butters) also make for fantastic gifts to bring back home for family and friends.
Although people watching downtown is fun, don’t miss out on all of the amazing wildlife along the coast. In the spring and winter months, tens of thousands of gray whales make their migratory journey to and from Mexico and Alaska, passing right by Cannon Beach. Nature enthusiasts love bringing a pair of binoculars and keeping a lookout for any sign of a waterspout or tail fin, signaling these huge beasts are on the move.
Out near Haystack Rock, you can also keep an eye out for another fascinating local animal, but you’ll want to look up this time. During the spring and early summer months, colorful tufted puffins flock to Haystack Rock to lay and hatch their eggs. Watch on as dutiful parents swoop to the sea for a mouthful of fish to bring back to their chirping chicks.
Located within its city limits, the Cannon Beach RV Resort is an excellent option with tons of camper comfort and is within walking distance of everything the town has to offer. The campground offers nearly 100 full hookup campsites, complete with a well-stocked camp store, complimentary Wi-Fi, bathhouses, and laundry facilities. Campers will also enjoy the game room and indoor pool and hot tub.
About seven miles to the north, the Circle Creek RV Resort has more of a natural feel. With views of forested mountains and meadows, campers often have the opportunity to observe elk from the surrounding nature conservancy. The resort’s 44 RV campsites offer full hookup access and other comforts such as Wi-Fi, bathhouses, laundry facilities, and a great camp store. For fun, the bordering Neacanicum River is an excellent fishing option or, catch a weekend trolley to downtown Seaside for a little dinner and shopping.
Also within the city limits of Seaside, the Seaside RV Resort is a fantastic option close to town. With more than 200 campsites, there are plenty of full hookup spaces for your rental RV (up to 50 feet in length). Not only is the campground within walking distance of tons of restaurants and shopping and the beach, there’s plenty of entertainment on site as well. Campers can choose from mini golf, ping pong, hiking, the swimming pool, bingo, and group campfires.
A little further to the north in Gerhart (12 miles), Bud’s RV Park may be a good option for folks looking for some distance from the hustle and bustle of Cannon Beach. The quaint campground is primarily a greenspace with a few trees around, so don’t expect a fantastic view, but you will still be close to the beach. Bud’s has a love for the sportsman community, offering fishing and hunting licenses on site as well as plenty of bait and supplies at the tackle shop. Your RV campsite will be outfitted with full hookups and patios and full-service bathhouses and laundry facilities are also available for your comfort.
If you would like to stay up at the mouth of the famous Columbia River, the KOA campground in Hammond (23 miles) is loaded with recreation options. On top of plentiful full hookup sites and all the usual modern amenities, this campground offers mini golf, bike rentals, nature trails, a giant bounce pillow, indoor swimming pool, and even wine tasting in the summer months. You’ll also just be a short drive from the town of Warrenton if you’re looking to grab some food or do a little shopping.
Cannon Beach and the immediate area is loaded with dining options for hungry campers. A mouth-watering variety of restaurants, pubs, bakeries, delis, and bars offer a fantastic variety of goodies to appease anyone’s tastes. Some options include smokehouses, seafood, steakhouses, pizza, Mexican, French, breweries, and whiskey bars.
If you are staying at one of the campgrounds north of Cannon Beach, your next best option would be the town of Seaside (seven miles). Here you will find similar options like seafood, pizza, grills, and steakhouses. Unique to the area however, there is also some Hawaiian, Italian, Thai, and plenty of chains if you are looking for something fast.
No matter where you stay, the charm and rugged coastal beauty of Cannon Beach will show you a side to Oregon that is likely to surprise you. Do not miss out on this wonderful little town on your RV road trip through the great state of Oregon.