Oregon Road Trip: Summer Love in Cannon Beach



I could stop the story right there. It pretty much sums it up. I won’t leave you hanging though. I’ll tell you exactly why I feel in love with Cannon Beach, Oregon, but first, I need to start at the beginning.

The ocean crept into my blood at an early age. I grew up going to the Jersey Shore on hot summer days. In college we would head to the beach at night to hang out and cool off from the Savannah heat. My first job after graduation was in the Hamptons, where I spent lunches sitting on the beach in between photo shoots.

We never visited the coast when we first moved to Seattle. Six years later and I decided that needed to change. At dinner with a girlfriend one night I hatched a plan to road trip down to the Oregon Coast with a pit stop at Mount St. Helens and stay in Portland on the way home. What better weekend to take a last-minute trip than the Fourth of July, a national holiday here in the U.S. Yes, it was insane, but our family really needed it.

As soon as we pulled up to our hotel I wondered what had taken us so long to check out the Pacific ocean. The waft of sea air ran past my nose beckoning me to ditch the bags and check out the freezing coastal waters. Sadly we had to get the kids to bed instead, but tomorrow, tomorrow! we would squish our toes in the sand.

Taking Advantage of an Early Riser

It’s not surprising that Dek woke up earlier than usual. That’s putting it mildly. In fact he was up at 5:30am. This was after going to bed past 10pm because our room was blasted with sunlight with no blackout curtains in our room, and the sun doesn’t set before 10pm in the Pacific Northwest in July.

I really didn’t care though. On the first day of any trip I can’t really sleep in. Mike on the other hand has no problems. I grabbed Dek, plopped a sleeping Ty in the Ergo and we headed for the beach. I just couldn’t wait any longer.

Dek found himself a hole that had been dug the night before during the 4th of July festivities and made camp. He was not moving. Well except to jump into it over and over again. Jumping is very big in our house at the moment.

Wandering through town

Once the sun had come up and started to bake my intrepid hole digger (not to mention me), we shook Mike awake and declared it was time to eat. A trip to the Pig N’ Pancake, a Cannon Beach institution I’ve been told, was definitely in order, along with a walk around town to see just what it had to offer.

Like many beach towns it had it’s usual tourist shops filled with sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, water bottles and key chains with “Cannon Beach” splashed across them. I’m always tempted to buy a sweatshirt whenever we go to a beach town. I have no idea why. Everyone looks so cool wearing them. I on the other hand do not pull off the sweatshirt look all that well. The sleeves are always too short on the size that fits me, so I have to go at least one size up, which just makes me look frumpy; not a look I am going for right after having another baby.

More than tourist gear there was candy. And ice cream. And fudge. Saltwater taffy, which I thought only existed at the Jersey Shore, was bursting out of bins at the Picnic Basket, one of the many sweet spots on the main drag through town. I couldn’t resist buying a few hunks of fudge to take back to our room at The Courtyard either.

Don’t Miss the Sunset

We were only in town for one full day. That meant we had to see the sunset at Hay Stack, the iconic image of Cannon Beach, a mammoth rock that juts out of the sand. Maybe this doesn’t seem weird to you, but when the beach is perfectly flat and all of a sudden this sky high rock appears, it’s quite startling, and takes over the landscape. I have yet to see anything like it in my travels.

We’d been graced with clear skies our entire stay, a rarity in a spot that is known for its storm watching potential. I’d gotten a glimpse of the sunset the night before, but I really wanted to walk over to Hay Stack, something we hadn’t done yet, and take pictures. The walk would do us all some good too. Because you know, we hadn’t exhausted Dek enough after an early morning, no nap, and all play.

No Regrets

I don’t regret keeping Dek up and making him walk out to Hay Stack with us. I don’t regret skipping naps and having a kid who passed out on the 8-block car ride to dinner. Our time in Cannon Beach was our family at our best. It was just us, hanging out together, slowing way down so Dek could explore, getting to know our new little guy Ty a bit more as his personality continued to develop and shine through. I didn’t care that Dek was dirty and full of sand. He could hang out naked eating slices of nectarine and cheese on the patio for all I cared.

There is just something about beach life that slows me down, makes me forget my usual worries and responsibilities. I don’t get to sit back and relax very often, but that weekend I did. It was needed and even more necessary than usual after a crazy few months with a newborn in the house and a summer full of visitors. In fact, I had such an amazing time we are going back in a few weeks. I need to capture that free-spirited version of myself again. I miss her. She was fun.

Until next time Cannon Beach…until next time.

Do you have a place that helps you relax more than any other? 

Hey look! I was there too.


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Showing 37 comments
  • Beautiful photography of a beautiful place. I loved reading about your adventure. Amazing!

  • You so lucked out on the weather – I loved the shots last week of blue sky and peaks and this week you have blue sky and beach. Perfect timing for this trip.

  • jan

    Hi Keryn, I agree that beach holidays are so relaxing. As soon as I hear the ocean my mind slows and the little things give so much pleasure. Like the sand between toes and skin sticky from salt water and hair that is whipped into a tangle!

  • I love your photos of this beautiful area Keryn. It is so easy to see why you loved your stay here and want to go back. The little town looks gorgeous with its restaurants and cute shops. There is definitely something about water that makes relaxing so much easier.

  • Beautiful photos 🙂

  • Love the beautiful pictures! What a wonderful weekend getaway for your family. My Pacific NW friends can’t say enough great things about Cannon Beach. I totally hear you about beach vacations slowing things down. I grew up on an island so I sometimes miss the slow pace of island life.

  • The beach does it for me too! There is something about the sand, the waves, our kids playing and having fun while I chill out with a good book. Mabye I was a fish in a previous lifetime because the beach always feels like home to me!
    Gorgeous photos – love the idea of a early morning walk, and pancakes for breaky

  • Dek’s a real trooper!
    What a beautiful beach this is. I wouldn’t want to leave there.

  • Great pictures! Beach and kids go together quite nicely. I have been to Newport, Oregon but have never heard of Cannon Beach. I’ll tuck it away in case I’m in the area again.

  • I love that first photo. I haven’t traveled at all in Oregon but am definitely looking forward to it. As for where I love to relax, it’s the central coast of CA, near Monterey.

  • Oh how I love that area of the Pacific shoreline. It’s so beautiful there. When I need to recharge I head home to the beaches of SoCal. I’m really craving a trip right now.

  • Beautiful and alluring pictures. I need to get to the Oregon coast. Yes I do.

  • Wow! It’s amazing with sunshine (I’ve only seen it with fog). Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures of your family on the beach.

  • Stunning photos and it sounds like an amazing trip! I love going to Cannon Beach and have to go to the bakery and get Haystack Bread to bring home :o). The Oregon Coast is my place to relax and recharge! Thank you for sharing your travels.

  • Such great pictures and a really touching story to go with them.

  • Being by the coast always makes me feel calm and happy. The last image in the series on the beach is really outstanding.


  • Gorgeous photos!! My sister lives in Portland and I love going out to Cannon Beach!

  • thanks for taking us along through both words and photos. well done, Keryn.

  • Oh what great photos! I can relax just walking around the noisy streets of New Orleans!

    Thanks for sharing with Foto Friday,

  • I grew up on the beach as well, and though I don’t go there as often anymore, there’s no place more comforting to me. Did you know there’s another beach with a huge round rock in California? It’s Morro Bay. Check it out sometime!

  • Cassie

    This is beautiful! I can see why you love it! Gorgeous photos too, friend! I’m so glad you linked up to the Mixer and I hop to see you again next week! 🙂

  • Pig ‘n Pancake? Our traditional eatery is Morris’ Fireside Cabin but now I’ll have to try a new place the next time we roll through Cannon Beach!

  • I love it when a plan comes together. I swear, there’s something in the water—the ocean that is—that relaxes me too.

  • Absolutely beautiful! The photos definitely make me want to take a trip there!

  • Oh my goodness! Those photos are beautiful! I’ve been thinking about road trip ideas lately…we might need to head up to the Oregon Coast.

  • I had no idea Oregon was this beautiful. Amazing pictures! The beach is the place that makes me feel happiest/most peaceful as well.

  • Anwar

    I had a similar type trip a few years ago. Went to Mt. St. Helens and then down the coast on my way back to California (was living in california for several months). Beautiful photos, truly.

  • Liz

    So fun to hear about your trip and see a bit of the northeastern coast. My son is heading up that way soon for work. I’m hoping he gets to see some of the sweet sights you did!

  • Cami

    I am thankful for you & for your post <3 Thanks for linking up with me at First Day of My Life!

    Beautiful photos!! Glad you had a great time!!

  • Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye

    Beautiful images. A little piece of paradise! Thanks for linking up for Flash Blog Friday. Bree

  • Cathy Sweeney

    A family hanging out together on a beautiful beach, a town with all kinds of treats to be found & a sunset — Precious times.

  • Elise

    Looks like a great time! I love taking a hike in the mountains

  • Nicole@Show Off Friday

    Great pictures! thanks for linking up. It looks like a wonderful time!

  • Gina

    Looks like it was an amazing day! I’ve always wanted to go to the Oregon coast. I love rugged coastlines and from all the pictures i see, that stretch of coastline seems to have some of the best. If I’m up there, I’m definitely going to have to check out Pig n’ Pancakes, too! I live in San Diego so I’m not far from a beach and while I do always find walking on the land relaxing, nothing is as relaxing to me as going to my Granny and Grandpa’s farm in Montana.

  • Julie

    I used to live in Cannon Beach and seeing your pictures and hearing about your adventures made me long to be there again. There are so many things to see and do in Cannon Beach and the area in general…it’s one of my favorite places on earth to be.

  • Jeremy Branham

    Beautiful photos! Reminds me of California as it looks a lot like the Monterey/Big Sur coastline here. You had great weather for this trip.

  • Tim H

    Oh, I’m so looking forward to my first trip to Portland next year. I know this post is old, but it is reinforcing a theory I have. Everyone who visits Oregon loves it. Can’t wait.