Long Beach is in Washington state, and Cannon Beach is in Oregon and only 50 minutes apart. Both are perfect beach getaways for the family. This article looks at both beaches to see which one is best for that much-needed weekend getaway.
Long Beach is a quiet small beach town, affordable and perfect for families with dogs who like to stroll on the longest Beach while beachcombing. Cannon Beach offers more in shopping, cafes and restaurants, dramatic coastline, and state parks with lots of outdoor activities for the family.
Long Beach and Cannon Beach have great attractions perfect for family beach vacations or weekend getaways. We look in detail at what both beaches offer and which one is best.
Long Beach – Washington
There are few places perfect for a quiet getaway, like Long Beach’s endless stretch of beach. Find out why Long Beach is the best beach on the Washington coast.
Where is Long Beach?
Long Beach is in the southwest corner of Washington state, easy to reach from Portland and Seattle. The scenic drive from both or Highway 101 will get you there quickly.
Long Beach stretches out as far as the eye can see in both directions. The lesser-known Pacific Northwest destination is the ideal beach getaway for those who like a quiet holiday.
Long Beach Peninsula is famous for its abundance of fresh seafood, longest Beach, unique lodgings, and surrounding northwest rain forests.
Long Beach has the most extensive salmon run globally, cod, razor clams, halibut, tuna, anchovies, sardines, and numerous other fish. The entire area is well-known for its super-fresh seafood harvests. Fishing is one of the major attractions in Long Beach.
At 28 miles, Long Beach is the longest contiguous stretch of Beach in the U.S. Long Beach offers many cafés, restaurants, and bars for those who like to enjoy a night out.
Long Beach is a quiet small beach town; however, there are still many outdoor activities to do. Several of them are based on exploring the Beach and surrounding peninsula.
Activities at Long Beach
Take a Walk on the World’s Longest Beach
One of the most relaxing things to do at Long Beach is to take a long walk on the sandy beach that never ends. Long Beach claims it is the longest beach globally, with 28 miles of sandy beach. It is the longest continuous sandy beach in the U.S, however.
Find Treasures Beachcombing
Long Beach is an excellent beach for beachcombing, and the Pacific Ocean is known to wash up all kinds of treasures and artifacts. Beachcombing at Long Beach is one of the fun activities that families love to do. Make sure to go beachcombing after high tide when the water has receded.
Beach Horseback Riding
For those who love horses, horseback riding is allowed on Long Beach and another adventurous activity that can be done as an entire family.
The horses from Skippers Equestrian Center and Back Country Wilderness Outfitters are sure-footed on the Beach and calm enough for the most inexperienced rider. Ride on the Beach to your heart’s content at $25 per hour.
Explore Long Beach Boardwalk
Most activities at Long Beach revolve around the Beach. This boardwalk is not filled with hot dog vendors or amusement parks; however, it offers beautiful views of nature at its best.
The long boardwalk stretches for about half a mile along the Beach, and the multiple walk paths that wind through the sandy dunes between Long Beach and the ocean is worth exploring. Grab some ice cream for the walk or ride your bike on the boardwalk where the Grey Whale skeleton lays preserved.
Long Beach Boardwalk offers panoramic views of the Washington coast and the North Head Lighthouse well worth a stroll.
Washington State International Kite Festival
One weekend each August, kite fans descend on the Beach to take advantage of great onshore ocean winds to compete in the famous Washington State International Kite Festival. Long Beach is excellent for kite flying all year round if you want to try it.
Downtown Long Beach
Besides beach activities, there are more things to do in Long Beach. Take a trip to the Marsh’s Free Museum, filled with fascinating historical artifacts, old games, and fun circus attractions like the Alligator Man.
Long Beach’s main street is tiny, with only a few businesses. There are boutique beach shops, cafes, and restaurants serving seafood.
The mini-golf at Stormin Norman’s is a fun activity to do while in town. Pay for your balls and scorecards at the shop and enjoy the ten rounds of fun mini-golf.
Dining in Long Beach
If you plan to visit Long Beach, prepare yourself for the best mouthwatering food, even if it is just for a weekend. The following places serve the best food in Long Beach.
The Depot – is found near Seaview; with its enormously talented chef, this former railroad depot serves the most delicious comfort food.
The Pickled Fish – is situated inside the Adrift Hotel and serves delicious fresh seafood and offers live music most nights for those who like live entertainment with their meals.
Scoopers – Even though Scoopers is technically a market, everyone goes there mainly for the ice cream.
North Jetty Brewing Company – is rooted in the history of Long Beach and offers the best craft beer in town.
Streetside Tacos 2.0 – The permanent food truck parked outside North Jetty Brewing Company offers the best carnitas tacos and chicken tikka every day in Long Beach.
Places to Stay in Long Beach
Long Beach has plenty of beach condos and timeshares for rent and a Best Western hotel if you want to stay off the beaten track.
The Adrift Hotel – is near the southern end of the Long Beach boardwalk. The room rates are from $170 per night, and for a tiny bit extra, you get an ocean view.
The Sou’Wester Lodge – is located south of Seaview and is several fully restored RV trailers that you can rent. The Sou’Wester offers free bike rentals, access to the Beach, and a Finnish sauna. The Trailers start from $105 per night, book in advance because they are popular.
The Breakers – is a combination of rental and condos north of Long Beach. Four of the buildings are home to permanent Long Beach residents. The other buildings are open to hotel guests. The condos feature a fully equipped kitchen. Breakers are close to the Beach, and tariffs start from $139 per night. Many retirees live in Long Beach at The Breakers.
Swimming at Long Beach
Swimming in the ocean at Long Beach is NOT recommended, even on calm days, because there are no Lifeguards on the Beach. The ocean currents at Long Beach are dangerous and strong at any time of the day.
Cannon Beach – Oregon
Cannon Beach is a small beach city in northwest Oregon known for its long, sandy beach. The famous Haystack Rock stands tall in the ocean and is a seasonal home for tufted puffins.
A little bit north of Cannon Beach, you will find the Ecola State Park, which offers several trails with scenic views of the ocean, the lighthouse, and caves.
South of Cannon Beach is Arcadia Beach, with its picnic area and famous tide pools. At Hug Point, you will find many sea caves for the adventurous. The charming main street in Cannon Beach is filled with boutique stores, art galleries, restaurants, and cafés.
Where is Cannon Beach Located?
Cannon Beach lies an hour and a half west of Portland, Oregon, and four hours south of Seattle, Washington. Cannon Beach is about four miles south of the US-26 junction on the Pacific Coast Highway and a perfect getaway for families.
Cannon Beach is famous for its scenic beach and the Haystack Rock formation. Some movies filmed at Cannon Beach were Twilight and The Goonies, which highlighted Cannon Beach’s beauty.
Cannon Beach has lots to offer, with many outdoor activities and beautiful places to see. The best time of the year to visit Cannon Beach is from July to September, when the weather is the warmest.
Cannon Beach features amazing tidepools, scenic ocean views, and an abundance of wildlife to please any visitor.
The closest airport is Portland International Airport, about an hour and a half from Cannon Beach to reach Cannon Beach. Take US-26 West for 75 miles before reaching Cannon Beach to drive from the airport.
Activities at Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach has many cultural places to visit and features many art galleries, boutique stores, tourist shops, restaurants, and cafés. The shopping area is found just off Hemlock Street in Cannon Beach. Some places to visit while you visit Cannon Beach are:
- Cannon Beach Soap Company – sells a variety of sea salts, bath bombs, and handmade candles.
- Bruce’s Candy Kitchen – You can sample their popular Sea Salt flavored taffy at Bruce’s Candy Kitchen.
- IceFire Glasswork – sells exquisite glassworks in their store. Book a visit during their glassblowing hour to see how they make their vases.
- Jeff Hull Gallery – Artist Jeffrey Hull is famous for the way he paints the beautiful Pacific coastline. The art gallery is one of many and worth a visit.
Cannon Beach Farmers Market
Visit the Cannon Beach Farmers Market, where local produce is sold every Tuesday. It is a perfect place to buy fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and artisan products. Some accommodations in Cannon Beach include kitchens, so buy some fresh seafood to cook at home.
The Haystack Rock
The famous Haystack Rock formation is iconic to Cannon Beach and a must-see; the weather and wave carved rock looks remarkably like a stone haystack, thus the name.
Haystack Rock is 72 meters / 235 feet tall and globally the third most elevated seashore formation. Haystack Rock is a favorite tourist destination. It is next to the Beach and accessible during low tide, a short distance from the shore.
As Haystack Rock is a Wildlife Refuge, it is not allowed to climb on any rock formation part.
Explore Tide Pools at Haystack Rock
Another popular tourist activity at Cannon Beach is exploring tide pools during low tide. They have an abundance of sea life to observe, like small fish, crabs, anemones, and starfish.
At Haystack Rock, throughout the year, an education program allows students to ask questions about the sea life in the tide pools.
Take a Beach Bike Ride
A fun activity for the whole family is taking a bike ride on the Beach. You can rent a bike from Family FunCycles, which rents out bikes for everyone from toddler trailers, beach cruisers, and fat-tire bikes.
Visit Ecola State Park
At Cannon Beach, you will find Ecola State Park, a favorite hiking trail with panoramic views of the beaches. Ecola State Park runs adjacent to the coastline for 9 miles. The park offers places for picnics, hiking, and wildlife photography. These are points of interest at the Ecola State Park:
- Ecola Point – lies at the southern point of the park with views of Crescent Beach, where several picnic tables are available to enjoy.
- Take the Trail to Crescent Beach – Starting from Ecola Point, hike for 1.25-miles to Crescent Beach to view its natural cave and beautiful waterfall.
- Ecola Point – The day-use point at Ecola State Park overlooks the spectacular Pacific Coastline.
Most tourists visiting Cannon Beach love to go out crabbing where they can rent a boat from Kelly’s Brighton Marina to try crabbing in the bay.
Places to Eat in Cannon Beach
- Surfbird – is open for breakfast and lunch and serves excellent food to fill any hungry tummy.
- Chocolate Café – is famous for its chocolates and homemade truffles.
- Tom’s Fish and Chips – Serves delicious fish baskets, chowder, fries, and burgers.
- Suzy’s Scoops – has the best ice cream in town, and their Cascade Glacier flavors are a must-try.
- Pelican Brewery – Serves flatbreads, sandwiches and burgers, and delicious chowder.
Places to Stay in Cannon Beach
Here are a few options for places to stay during your visit to Cannon Beach.
- Blue Gull Inn- Rockland Harbor, Cannon Beach.
- Cannon Beach Ecola Creek Lodge – 208 5th Street, Cannon Beach.
- The Surfsand Resort- 143 West Gower Street, Cannon Beach.
- Inn at Cannon Beach – 3215 South Hemlock Street, Cannon Beach.
- The Stephanie Inn and Dining Room – 2740 South Pacific, Cannon Beach.
- Inn of the Four Winds – 820 North Prom, Seaside.
- Microtel Seaside – 2455 South Roosevelt, Seaside.
- Resort at Seaside Condo – 26 Avenue A, Seaside.
- The Wayside Inn -Atlantic Avenue, Camden.
Swimming at Cannon Beach
Swimming is permitted at Cannon Beach; however, the water is freezing, and most people seen swimming is surfers wearing wetsuits.
The water temperature of the ocean ranges from 48.1 F in February to 56.8 F in September. Most ocean temperatures comfortable for swimming starts at 72F.
Camping is NOT allowed on the Beach. Dogs are allowed on the Beach if they are leashed.
Long Beach VS Cannon Beach
Both Long Beach and Cannon Beach have lots to offer visitors. Both have excellent beaches with lots of outdoor activities to choose from. Long Beach and Cannon Beach have affordable accommodation, plenty of restaurants, cafés, and boutique stores to please anyone.
The only difference between Long Beach and Cannon Beach is that no swimming is allowed at Long Beach because of the strong rip currents, whereas swimming at Connon Beach is permitted if you can brave the cold water.
Long Beach offers a quieter, more relaxed holiday because it focuses more on nature, whereas Cannon Beach is livelier with more social activities and nightlife.
The spectacular coastline views and beautiful natural areas by the ocean at both beaches are worth a visit any time of the year. Taste the freshest seafood at many restaurants and stay in any of the luxurious seafront lodgings they both offer.
Long Beach and Cannon Beach are both excellent holiday destinations with lots to offer everyone. We hope this article helped explain all the fun activities and places to see around Long Beach and Cannon Beach.