Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s retreat at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center situated at the edge of Cannon Beach, Oregon. The retreat was in January, and I suspected that the weather would be dismal at best for my first trip to this Pacific northwest state. But as it turned out the sun shone brilliantly all weekend, melting the snow that had fallen the week before and warming my heart toward this amazing stretch of coastline. That weekend I determined that I would return to Cannon Beach, and I have…many times.
I’ve been back to speak at the conference center since then, but my daughter Abigail is the one who has spent the most time there. After I told her what an amazing place this was, she got a summer job at the conference center working with preschoolers during the summer family camps. The next year she was in charge of the youth program, in the mornings teaching the teenagers who had come to camp with their families and then providing activities for them such as ropes courses, hikes and bonfires on the beach. This year, she’s back as a staff minister, tending to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of the high school and college students who are there working. Abigail has fallen in love with Cannon Beach, too.
This July, James and I returned to Cannon Beach to visit Abigail, but also to enjoy the respite this lovely coastal get-away affords.
The Ecola Creek Lodge
When James and I visit Cannon Beach (and we’ve been three or four times now) we like to stay at the Ecola Creek Lodge, which is located just as you come into the picturesque little seaside village.
It’s an historic inn. The current buildings were constructed in 1946, but there’s been an inn on the property since 1892. So yes, it looks somewhat like an antiquated travel lodge from the outside, but the rooms and suites are actually very spacious, comfortable and lovely. It has character and charm.
We’ve stayed in four different accommodations on the property and rested comfortably in each of them. Many of them have fireplaces, kitchens and seating areas. While the property is not oceanside, some of the rooms do feature ocean views. And you can bring your pets with you to certain rooms. All of the rooms have free WiFi, flat screen televisions and DVD players, refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers.
During our recent visit in July, we stayed in room #1. It’s a one bedroom king suite with a kitchen.
The lodge also provides beach blankets and towels, beach toys for children and coffee and tea. Delicious, warm cookies are made available to all guests each afternoon, and you can borrow board games or rent movies to play in the in-room DVD player for just $1 a night.
Attractions & Events
We happened to arrive in Cannon Beach on Tuesday, the day of the weekly farmer’s market held mid June through September. Oregon is known for its berries and there were plenty to be had. I bought strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries that we munched on all week. But there was also honey, veggies, wines, goat cheese and more.
Speaking of munching, one of my favorite things to do while in this part of Oregon is to visit the Tillamook Creamery. It’s just about an hour down the coast in Tillamook…of course. You can taste lots of cheeses, watch them make ice cream and, of course, eat. They have a-maze-ing cheeseburgers, cheese fries and, of course, grilled cheese sandwiches. But they also offer healthier options, too. And be sure to cap off your visit with a big waffle cone filled with your favorite Tillamook ice cream flavor…or two.
There’s plenty to do around Cannon Beach, but honestly one of my favorite activities is simply walking through the quaint residential streets tucked behind the main street of shops. Not only are the homes enchanting, but the flowers are vibrant, fresh and prolific all summer long. Yes, I’ve been to Cannon Beach during every summer month, and the flowers never disappoint.
While in Cannon Beach you could also attend a stage production at the local theatre, visit a nearby vineyard, pick blackberries along the roadside or go for a hike. There are so many great places to hike nearby.
I love hiking through the green forests of coastal Oregon and then popping out onto a new beach. The Pacific ocean always takes me by surprise as I step out of the lush, wooded trail to see it crashing against the shore below.
When we visit Cannon Beach we always make a day trip over to Astoria, where they filmed the movie Goonies years ago. It’s a quaint, old fishing village steeped in history and brimming with charming architecture.
You can get the best fish and chips (fried beer battered Albacore tuna and steak fries) at a little boat in a parking lot. Yep, the Bowpicker is a stationary fishing boat where people line up daily and wait for its owners, Ron and Linda, to fry up one meal at a time. Then you grab a bottled water or soft drink out of one of their coolers and vie for a seat at one of the three picnic tables. This odd little eatery is a must for your itinerary.
Before you leave Astoria, be sure to head down to the old tuna canneries to Coffee Girl for a great brew right on the wharf.
Downtown Cannon Beach
One of the things I like about staying at the Ecola Creek Lodge is that it’s not on the main street, but it’s an easy little walk to it. I see it as calorie burning so that I can eat more!
In the afternoon when the clouds begin to roll out is a good time to walk downtown and browse the shops and eateries. We especially love going in for a coffee at one of the several coffee shops. Truly, you just want to drink more coffee when you’re in the Pacific Northwest!
We enjoy both Insomnia, located right downtown and near the beach, and Sea Level further south. They both have great coffee and specialty drinks, as well as delicious pastries and other goodies.
The Chocolate Cafe doesn’t sell just any ol’ chocolate. This is rich and flavorful chocolate at its best. My husband and daughter have to have a chocolate milkshake every time we visit.
We ate at Seasons Cafe for the first time this year, and we liked it pretty well. The service was off that day, but I think maybe that was out of the norm.
But our favorite places to eat in Cannon Beach include Pizza a’Feta and the Ecola Seafood Market for fish and chips. We haven’t eaten at the Lazy Susan Cafe, but we hear from multiple sources that they have wonderful breakfasts. But we think the pancakes and all the fixin’s can’t be beat at Pig’n Pancake. Really, I think they may be the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten.
There’s really no shortage of shops to look through, restaurants to dine in and coffee shops to hang out in. Whether the sun is out or the drizzly rain so common to the area is replenishing all those beautiful flowers, you’ll find plenty to do at Cannon Beach.
And then there’s the beach
That rock. I never tire of seeing, photographing or walking to Haystack Rock. And if you approach it when the tide is out, you can explore the tide pools around it, looking for starfish and other sea creatures. To walk to Haystack from the Ecola Creek Lodge is just at a mile, so a daily jaunt is a great way to stay in shape while vacationing in this beautiful seaside town.
Cannon Beach is perfect for walking, running, playing with your dogs or flying a kite. It’s not so great for sunbathing or swimming, although some people do both. If you walk on up to Indian Beach or Crescent Beach you’ll probably see surfers, too.
Abby has led us to walk up to the sand dunes just above Cannon Beach at neighboring Crescent Beach to enjoy the sunsets. She tells us she’s even taken naps in among these dunes. This stretch of beach is a little more isolated and rarely filled with the crowds that gather around Haystack Rock. It’s a great place to build a beach fire and enjoy s’mores or roasted wieners or hobo dinners.
Unfortunately, we had planned our beach fire for Thursday night and that very day they announced a burn ban that extended to the beaches due to the forest fires already raging miles away in another part of Oregon. But we still enjoyed just sitting on the dunes and watching the sun set beyond the vast Pacific.
Booking Your Vacation
When I set out to book our vacation, I was having trouble finding vacancies at the Ecola Creek Lodge, but I knew that was where we wanted to stay. So I was a little surprised that when I tried the Booking.com app it was easier to find dates when we could get the hotel we wanted. We’ve used other booking agencies in the past, but we booked this vacation through Booking.com and it was a good experience all the way around.
I especially liked that they sent me reminders when deadlines for cancellation approached and they alerted me when payments were being charged to my credit card in the month before our trip (as agreed upon).
And Booking.com doesn’t just book hotels, but they also provide access to bed & breakfasts, villas and luxury apartments as well as other nontraditional accommodations (think tents!) You can even book your flight and rental car through them.
Thanks for letting me share my trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon, with you. It truly is one of my favorite places in the world. No joke.
I have used affiliate links in this post, so if you book through them I will earn a little bit of commission. I appreciate you supporting this blog that way. If you’ve enjoyed this post or you think you may want to visit the coast of Oregon someday, why not share this post on Facebook or save it to your travel board on Pinterest. That would really help me out!
Oh, and by the way, as usual my pictures for this post were taken by my husband James. Photography is a fairly new hobby for him, but I think he’s doing an amazing job.
Have a blessed and beautiful day!
Blessed for My Day
Today may you feel the pleasure of the Lord. I’m reminded of the beach scene in the movie Chariots of Fire as I write this post. I remember also that Eric Liddle, whom the movie is about, said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” When was the last time you really felt God’s pleasure in you? Truthfully, God simply takes pleasure in His children. I believe He enjoys watching us explore, grow and do the things He specifically created us to do. But the enemy would convince us that God is not pleased in us at all, that He is perturbed or disappointed or exhausted by us. Sister, that’s just not true. You bring the Lord pleasure. He created you for His pleasure…and He takes pleasure in you. Today may you feel God’s pleasure.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. ~ Psalm 149:4