Down the Oregon Coast, not far from the town of Astoria made famous by the 1980s film Goonies, lies the iconic town of Cannon Beach . OK, so maybe the town isn’t iconic, but the huge rock on the beach, aptly named Haystack Rock, is picture perfect, and also show’s up in that favorite kid’s classic film. Just up the road is the bustling town of Seaside, but if you are looking for the quieter life, a good meal, quaint shops, and dedicated family time, you just can’t go wrong with Cannon Beach. Just don’t forget your bucket and shovel!
Dig a hole. My toddler loves nothing more than to dig massive holes on the beach. He could literally spend hours. He didn’t come up with this idea on his own. During our first visit we found holes littered throughout the beach. Well, when the water is too cold to swim in, I guess digging yourself a big hole to make your own beach pool is the way to go.
Haystack Rock. You can’t go all the way to Cannon Beach and not check out the 235-foot sea stack that dominates the landscape. Puffins and gulls make it their home, along with several sea creatures that can be seen at low tide. Take a walk down the beach to explore, or rent a funcycle to ride down the beach in style. You can even hook up a trailer to carry your infant and toddler.
Hug Point and Ecola State Parks. The latter will cost you $5 to enter, plus a line up if you hit it at the wrong time of day in the summer. Hug Point is best seen during low tide so you can walk the beach, most of which disappears once the tide comes in, along with all of the caves you will want to explore. Be sure to schedule in a post-trip nap; there is more than enough to run little legs ragged while you explore both parks.
Wayside Inn (south of Haystack Rock) This small inn across the street from Tolovana Park provides easy beach access, a heated pool, large rooms and suites ideal for families, and a friendly staff ready to help you make the most of your trip.
The Courtyard (north of Haystack Rock). Run by the Cannon Beach Hotel Lodgings, this small hotel is just a half block from the beach, an easy walk to town, coffee, and even Haystack rock. Be forewarned that there are no blackout curtains. Little travelers who are up with the sun will be up early in the summer months. Another alternative is the McBee Cottages run by the same group.
Insomnia Coffee Company (coffee) 139 West Second Street. Start your morning off right with a simple drip, a chai latte or an Aztec mocha topped with chocolate whipped cream. Yum! All three (and more!) will keep you buzzed for a full day of family fun.
Crepe Neptune (breakfast) 175 2nd Street. If you are a fan of crepes than you have to stop in to sample some at this local hole in the wall/ takeout hot spot. The savory crepes are just as good as the sweet. Take time to peruse the menu and enjoy the locally-inspired names including the “Goonies” crepe and one of my favorites, the “Fort Stevens” crepe filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, green onions and mustard dill sauce. There are no tables, so pull up a bench outside or eat as you walk through town and window shop.
Fishes (sushi) 240 N Hemlock Street. Don’t be fooled by the simple menu. The sushi is delicious and the appetizers worth a taste. Kids are welcome, although there are no high chairs available.
Billy’s (burgers) 188 N Hemlock Street- This seat yourself joint serves up great burgers, but you may need to wait for a table if you intend to stay. Get there early to avoid the crowd, and parents, treat yourself to a brew. You deserve it after a long day on the beach.