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Weekend getaway to Cannon Beach

From iconic Haystack Rock to the beer-serving hardware store, this town has character

View of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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In early spring before the summer crowds, Cannon Beach has a sleepy small-town vibe which makes it a very relaxing place to get away. You know when a town has beach in its name there will be an exceptional one. The iconic Haystack Rock dominates the beach and serves as a landmark when you stroll the four miles of flat sandy beach. Beginning in February and through October each year, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program provides volunteers that share their knowledge of the rock. Insider Tip: Make sure to get a tide chart so you can visit at low tide. That is the best time to get close to the rock and view all the tide pools that surround it.

I love a good beach house, and although there are plenty of lodging options in Cannon Beach, I think a vacation rental is the way to go. The Baker Beach Cottage available through Beachcomber Vacation homes is conveniently located a short walk to both the beach and the village. At the end of the street is the EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking School, where you can learn to cook a meal and enjoy the food as well.

Plan for plenty of beach walks during your stay -- the North Coast Beaches are sandy and lined with rocks, cliffs and the sounds of crashing waves. You can enjoy exploring the shoreline or look down from vista points. Make sure to read the warnings posted at each beach, especially about sneaker waves. Hug Point State Recreation Site is a "must-see." Visit at low tide so you can explore seaside caves and enjoy the beach front waterfall. Another "must-see" is Ecola State Park that has stunning views of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. There are also some scenic hikes.

Grab a copy of the North Coast Food trail and explore a variety of tasty stops. One local treasure in Cannon Beach is the Ecola Seafoods Restaurant and Market. After surviving a fire last July in the middle of their peak season, the business has bounced back in a beautiful new space serving their signature fresh seafood. Owned by the Beckmans, husband Jay operates two fishing boats to catch fresh seafood using sustainable and ethical techniques. Wife Cindy runs the market and restaurant with boat-to-table seafood. Each morning the fish is hand-cut into filets. Their Oregon Shrimp and Dungeness Crab boat is a wonder to behold. Fresh really does make a difference. Enjoy with the Beckmans' homemade cocktail sauce or just a squirt of lemon. Oh so good.  

The village has your beach town shops and candy stores. One place to drop into is the Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House. This local fave is known as Oregon's first hardware store to serve beer and wine. Yes, you can get a mug of beer or a glass of wine and shop this store which has a little bit of everything. Right next door is the Sleepy Monk which is a hugely popular coffee shop.

Next time you need a getaway, head to Cannon Beach and make sure you take the scenic route through Raymond and across the Columbia River through Astoria. It is such a beautiful drive and you avoid all the Portland traffic. For more information on Cannon Beach, visit:

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