Cannon Beach Guide: Family-friendly picks

Oh, the Oregon Coast — golden beaches, great food, and thriving coastal communities full of art galleries and cool toystores and bookstores. Enjoy a misty morning tidepooling adventure with a hot coffee in hand. Or recline in a beach chair with a new book — while the kids create turreted castles from crystals of warm sand. Your choice.

Haystack Rock

One of my favorite destinations along the Oregon Coast is Cannon Beach, only about an hour west of Portland. Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock offers probably one of the most-photographed scenes in Oregon: Sundown, when the skies turn impossible shades of pink and purple, and the sun sinks behind the basalt monolith.

Keep in mind — all of the photos here were shot in November. Yes, November. It was awesome.

Go tidepooling. Pick up delicate anemones and grouchy crabs at Haystack Rock, near Tolovana State Park. Bring binoculars to find nesting birds in Haystack Rock’s cliff face (and oh yeah, watch your head). Look for one of the HRAP volunteers, who will tell you all about the creatures and features of the park.

Pick up Haystack CookieCannon Beach Bakery, where a bag  of Haystack Macaroon Cookies is only a few bucks. Named after the signature landmark, these treats are thankfully NOT made from rock and bird poo. Nope, just flour, dates, coconuts and walnuts.

Sea stacks off of Ecola State Park

Hit the trails. I like Ecola State Park, where the kids can count rings in felled trees, hike up and down a bluff, gather smooth coast stones and watch surfers catch the perfect wave. Don’t miss the striking sea stacks right off shore.

Eat fish ‘n’ chips. Sit at Ecola Seafood’s vinyl-covered tables. You’ll love the enormous, perfectly cooked portions of salmon, razor clams and halibut. Kid meals are served with a lollipop – as if they’d have room after all that fish fare.

Rent bikes. Check out Family Fun Cycles (1160 S Hemlock St.), where the knowledgable staff will get your butt in the gear. Rents during low tide – check those tide tables.

Pick up a picture book. Sit a spell at Cannon Beach Book Company, the solution to a sandcastle full of rain. You’ll also find Klutz books, great for little crafters, and nice chapter book selection.

Sandcastle construction at Surfsand Resort

Sleep in. I love Surfsand Resort, where kids can enjoy roasted hot dogs, craft projects and ice cream socials. And that’s before you get to the two-pager DVD list and luxe rooms featuring kitchenettes, Haystack-rock-view rooms and the sound of the surf. The hotel is right on the beach — perfect for quick cleanup.

Wind down. “Bedtime Stories,” on 89.5 (KMUN) from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., an evening radio program of kid-oriented stories and songs.

Go fly a kite. Pick your high-flier from one of dozens at the Kite Factory (339 Fir St.), then head to Tolovana State Park.

Bring home taffy. Choose your chewy goodness from Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, a local landmark, where the stretchy goodness is made on-site. Toss together a bag from the choices offered, whether you want traditional (root beer) or different (pomegranate).

This is just the tip of the monolith — I list more Cannon Beach restaurants, activities, restaurants and shops in my book Northwest Kid Trips: Portland, Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver.

About Lora

Lora Shinn writes about travel for regional and local publications, including AAA Journey, National Geographic Traveler, Bankrate.com, Natural Health and Whole Living.

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