Take Advantage of the Quiet Seasons in Cannon Beach
Published: 12/01/2010  Updated: 08/13/2019

Nature lovers, storm watchers, photographers and seekers of quiet getaways find uncrowded beaches, dramatic scenery, abundant wildlife and the lowest room rates of the year by planning their visits during the quieter seasons in Cannon Beach.

Summer may be the most popular and busiest time of year in Cannon Beach, but for many visitors, it's the quieter seasons of the year that offer the richest experiences. Each season offers its own unique flavor. Wildlife, weather and many special events reward visitors who delight in the surprises that the Oregon Coast delivers. Here's our list of the top seasonal attractions when you take advantage of Cannon Beach's quiet seasons:

The Wild Winter Experience
Eagles soar along the shoreline, elk graze in the meadows and the big crashing waves of a winter storm thunder as they crash against the rocky shore. Mild temperatures make the coast an easily reachable winter destination that rewards visitors with wild, spectacular and unpredictable experiences. Watch the weather forecast to enjoy uncrowded beaches on beautiful days or plan your visit to witness the howling winds, drenching rains and crashing waves that have shaped the landscape. This is a great time of year for bird watchers who can spot Peregrine Falcons, Buffleheads, mergansers and many other wintering species along the beaches, estuaries and forests. Beachcombers are rewarded with the best finds of the year as high tides and storms bring in all sorts of natural and man made surprises. Gray Whales can be seen migrating just offshore between mid-December and mid-January and one week, during the peak of the Gray Whale migration, volunteers are available at Ecola State Park to help visitors spot whales during the coast-wide Whale Watching Spoken Here program. Hike the rainforest, watch dramatic weather from a viewpoint, walk the beach, go surfing, enjoy a spa retreat, splurge on a massage, slip into a steamy hot tub, enjoy a candlelit dinner or savor a bowl of chowder. Special events include Haystack Holidays in December and the end of the season is marked by Savor Cannon Beach wine and culinary festival in March. Your winter visit can be a quiet getaway where you rarely leave your room or the ultimate outdoor adventure.

Spring to Life
A spectacular season for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through a moss-draped rainforest, watch puffins on Haystack Rock or explore the colorful life in the tidepools as low seasonal tides reveal natural wonders. Wildflowers bloom in coastal meadows, woodlands, bluffs and beaches. Birdwatchers can observe crowded colonies of common murres on the aptly named "Bird Rocks" off the north end of Cannon Beach and many other varieties of nesting seabirds. Puffins arrive at Haystack Rock in April and can be seen throughout spring while dozens of varieties of migrating shorebirds make surprise appearances. Large numbers of pelicans begin arriving in Spring and the giant birds will stay and entertain beach goers through fall. Herds of Roosevelt Elk are frequently seen in meadows and woodland areas. Gray Whales migrate just offshore in mid-March to mid-April and, for one week during the peak of the migration, the statewide Whale Watching Spoken Here program features volunteers at Ecola State Park to assist visitors in spotting whales. Come for a special event such as the Spring Unveiling arts festival, the Great Oregon Beach Cleanup or celebrate Earth Day and the environment at the annual Earth, Wind and Sea events.

Fabulous Fall
Sunny skies often linger into fall, extending the season for outdoor activities including kite flying, hiking and surfing. Bird watchers enjoy fall shorebird migrations and growing populations of wintering birds in the estuaries and woodlands. Pelicans can often be seen in large numbers, soaring gracefully just above the surface of the ocean and sometimes diving into the waters with a splash. Herds of elk begin to emerge from the forest shadows and can often be seen grazing in meadows. Dramatic cloud formations, fog and glowing misty scenes attract photographers. Special events include the popular Stormy Weather Arts Festival, three days jam-packed with gallery receptions, guest artists and demonstrations, music and special events. Other fall events include the Great Oregon Fall Beach Cleanup and the mutt-friendly Dog Show on the Beach.
Take Advantage of the Quiet Seasons in Cannon Beach