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Portland Day Trip-Seaside and Cannon Beach
Visiting the Oregon Coast from Portland
If you’re visiting Portland, Oregon at any point in the near future you might be looking for a fun full-day activity. Luckily I have the perfect recommendation: the Oregon Coast.
I grew up in Seattle and moved to Portland over four years ago for college. I loved the area so much I decided to stick around after graduation, and since then my love for the city has only grown. There are a lot of things about this city that truly enchanted me. It’s clean. It’s quirky. The people are crazy (usually in a good way). And it’s very progressive. But my absolute favorite thing about Oregon is the coast.
There are two main towns on the Oregon coast that I recommend you visit, only an hour and a half drive from the city. They are Seaside and Cannon Beach.
Why you should visit Seaside OR
What to do in Seaside:
- Feed the seals at the aquarium
- Play games and win prizes at the large arcade
- Swing on the beach’s swingsets
- Ride the carousel in the mall
- Shop! - stores include boutiques, candy stores, clothing stores, and galleries
- Fly a kite or have a bonfire
- Go out to eat ice cream or gelato
- Ride bikes or hike
- Ride the mechanical shark
Visiting Seaside Oregon
A visit to Seaside is guaranteed to be fun. It’s one of the Northwest’s most popular ocean-side resort towns and is only a 90 minute drive from downtown. That means you can drive out in the morning and return in the evening and still get a whole day in this small town.
If you’re looking to stay on the coast Seaside also offers a whole variety of resorts; including budget, luxury, and romantic.
Seaside has 1.5 miles of oceanfront Promenade and a beautiful easy to access public beach. Year-round activities include volleyball, the beach swings, low-rider beach bikes, clam digging, sand castle building (there is at least one big sand castle festival a year), kite flying, bonfire building, marshmallow roasting, ocean wandering, and if you’re very very bold you can try swimming (it’s cold) are available on the beach.
The town also has a lot of fun activities to offer, including an arcade, bumper cars, shopping, mini golf, and a small aquarium.
This is a great place to visit with family, especially young children. The games and beaches are designed to appeal to a sense of adventure and youthful curiosity.
Why You Should Visit Cannon Beach Oregon
What to do at Cannon Beach:
- Eat great food
- Grab some candy or ice cream from local shops
- Rent a skimboard at one of the local tourist shops
- Walk the length of the beach to Haystack Rock
- Shop till you drop
- Wander the art galleries
- See a show at Coaster Theater
- Visit IceFire Glassworks
Visting Cannon Beach
I love Seaside, especially the arcade, but it is Cannon Beach that has my heart. Famous for Haystack Rock and its beautiful beach, Cannon Beach is truly a truly icon coastal town.
Unlike Seaside (which appeals heavily to youth), Cannon beach is more centered around the arts with beautiful galleries full of blown glass and printed photos. Shops sell everything from touristy wares to handmade art to home decor and pet supplies. The town itself is gorgeous - the perfect little coastal town.
My shop recommendations:
- Bruce’s Candy Kitchen- I never visit Cannon Beach without stopping by this candy shop. It’s not only adorable, but you can also get sample of taffy while you watch them make it.
- The Good Life- This adorable little shop sells everything home decor, it’s worth stopping by just to marvel at the house by the sea you wish you had.
- Crepe Neptune- Do not go to Cannon Beach without getting these crepes. They’re amazing. This cute little shop is papered with postcards on the inside. The smell wafting down the street will draw you in. And the actual crepes will have you coming back for more
- DragonFire Gallery- This gallery has everything you could want when it comes to art. Uniquely beautiful fountains, gorgeous photography, incredible paintings, and intricate woodwork. It’s your one-stop-shop for all the art your heart desires.
Haystack Rock from Above
One of the best things about these two towns by the sea is that they’re only a 20 minute drive from each other, so you don’t have to choose just one. My recommendation is to leave early in the morning and spend a whole day between the two cities. The best breakfast is in Seaside and the best crepes are in Cannon Beach.
Oregon Coast Weather
You may be by the sea, but you’re still in the Pacific Northwest. That means the weather in Cannon Beach and Seaside is usually decidedly chilly. If you plan to spend time on the beach (which I hope you do) I recommend always bringing a raincoat, no matter what time of year.
The beaches are usually windy and the temperature is usually 5-10 degrees colder than in Portland.
When to Visit the Oregon Coast
Anytime, all the time!
Okay so that isn't quite true. If you're looking to build sandcastles and sit on the beach you'll want to visit sometime between mid-June and late-September. During this season the weather is less temperamental and the water is less cold (though it's never warm, be warned).
But, no matter what time of year you visit, both towns are still a lot of fun. I've frequently walked the beaches in seven layers and had a great time.
If you're visiting Portland in the fall or spring I still recommend taking a trip out to the coast, you won't regret it.