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Iconic Cannon Beach has been featured in National Geographic's “100 of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth,” and it’s certainly not hard to see why. Tucked away in the northwest reaches of Oregon, this rugged slice of coastline is overwhelmingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. Though there are plenty of local cultural attractions and sights worth checking out, Cannon Beach is most famous for Haystack Rock, a postcard-perfect, 235-foot-tall rock formation that sits near shoreline's edge. Nature lovers should also plan to visit one of the many mountain overlooks and state parks in the area — Ecola State Park is particularly gorgeous, with its dramatic coastal views, forested hiking trails, and peaceful picnic areas. The picturesque town of Cannon Beach is also home to an abundance of delightful boutiques, fine dining, bookstores, and art galleries, in addition to some of the most incredible oceanfront lodging in the country. Below, all the places we'd bed down on our trip to Cannon Beach.
Best Overall: The Stephanie Inn
Though the Oregon coast is studded with its fair share of fantastic places to stay, The Stephanie Inn stands out as one of the state’s best coastal hotel gems. Situated right on Cannon Beach, this luxurious, award-winning boutique inn opened in 1993, and since then it’s become a household name among locals and tourists alike.
The Stephanie boasts a lengthy list of amenities that include a way-above-average gourmet breakfast, gas fireplaces and Jacuzzi Pure Air Baths in every room, nightly complimentary wine and beer tastings, and the famous “Stephanie Good Nightcap" — a complimentary handcrafted aperitif served every evening in the hotel library at 9 PM on the dot. Attention to detail at The Stephanie is superb, from the original artwork by Portland artist Donny Masterson that’s featured in each room to the chocolates that regularly show up on your silk-encased pillow. Guests can choose from a variety of oceanfront rooms and suites, and from there, the goods just keep on coming: Indulge in a classic Swedish massage, sample some of Chef Aaron Bedard’s famed Dungeness crab cakes for dinner, and enjoy a glass of velvety Oregon pinot noir on the balcony as the sun sets over Haystack Rock.
Best Budget: Sandy Cove Inn
Located just two blocks away from the coastline and ten minutes north of Cannon Beach, Seaside's Sandy Cove Inn is the perfect place for beach-going travelers on a budget. Not only are rates reliably low, but the surrounding area is much quieter than other more touristy parts of the coast. That said, there are still tons of local attractions to check out, from the nearby Seaside Aquarium and the famed Lewis & Clark Salt Works to a variety of local restaurants and pubs. Charming, individually decorated themed rooms range from basic to family-friendly and feature amenities such as mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and basic cable; some of the rooms are pet-friendly and there’s a jacuzzi suite, as well. Plus, the staff here is notoriously warm and the beds are mighty comfy. After a long day spent lounging at the beach and strolling along the historic Seaside Promenade, guests will relish a night of R&R at the homey Sandy Cove Inn.
Best Boutique: Inn at Cannon Beach
The Inn at Cannon Beach is nestled a block away from the beach, just south of Haystack Rock — and yet, despite being in the midst of bustling activity, it feels like a serene, tucked-away oasis. Maybe this is due to the lush, meticulously-landscaped courtyard on the property, complete with wild bunnies scampering around the candy-colored flowers. Or, maybe it’s the picturesque, cottage-like facility, with its warm natural wood exterior and lovingly decorated interior. Either way, the Inn at Cannon Beach is an intimate boutique hotel experience unlike any other in the area. Complimentary perks include passes to Cannon Beach Fitness and Cannon Beach Yoga Arts, a delicious morning breakfast buffet, fresh-baked cookies, an expansive DVD- and book-lending library, and an array of welcome gifts for guests.
Best Family: Surfsand Resort
At Surfsand Resort, it’s all about curating experiences for youngsters and creating lifelong memories for the whole family. Boasting 97 newly renovated, spacious guest rooms in varying styles, Surfsand has several can’t-miss amenities, including a heated sauna and pool, on-site massage services, beachside cabana service, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. But it’s the kid-focused activities (all complimentary, of course) that really steal the show, including nightly beach bonfires and sing-a-longs, a weekly hot dog roasts on the beach, dozens of beach toys and games, a Saturday ice cream social, and homemade cookies and cold milk at the front desk. In addition to their children’s programming, Surfsand offers a lovely panoramic view of Haystack Rock to the south and Tillamook Head Lighthouse to the north, and the resort is just a short walk away from downtown Cannon Beach. Thanks to the hotel’s light-hearted touches and full range of luxe treatments and services, staying at Surfsand is a no-brainer for vacationing families.
Best Romance: The Gilbert Inn
Couples seeking the quintessential coastal B&B experience should look no further than The Gilbert Inn. Built in 1892, this classic Queen Anne Victorian home is the picture of oceanfront elegance, with its cozy fireplace in the parlor, stately family heirlooms, and honey-colored natural fir ceilings and walls. The Gilbert is located in Seaside, just a 20-minute drive away from Cannon Beach, and it’s adults-only — guests must be 18 years or older to stay — so if you and your sweetheart would prefer to stay in a no-kids zone during your vacay, this inn promises pure bliss. Guests can choose from 11 rooms, each of which is decorated with exquisite period furnishings and equipped with a coffee maker, flat screen TV, private bath, plush bathrobes, and a shared outdoor patio. FYI: don't miss an opportunity to start your mornings right by hanging out in the sun-splashed breakfast nook with a steaming cup of coffee and the paper in hand.
Best Luxury: The Ocean Lodge
For the ultimate luxury vacation, the Ocean Lodge’s sheer opulence and charm can’t be beat. Not only is this spectacular retreat located right on the shimmering Pacific at the southern end of Cannon Beach, but the lodge’s architecture is truly magical with 40s-esque details like sprawling wrap-around verandas, rustic Douglas fir structural beams and columns, and perfectly manicured grounds. This attention to design and detail abounds throughout the space: a towering, two-story wood-burning fireplace sits in the center of the lobby atop lovingly reclaimed spruce-hardwood floors, and the breakfast room features a magnificent hand-blown glass chandelier from local artist Andy Nichols. As befits a place like the Ocean Lodge, the amenities are top-notch — think Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces in every room, a decadent continental breakfast, homemade cookies and delicious coffee in the lobby, complimentary passes to Cannon Beach Fitness, and a vast library stocked with classic literature and DVDs. Guests have their pick of 45 oceanfront luxury studios and suites.
Best for Singles: Tolovana Inn
Situated just south of downtown Cannon Beach, the ever-popular Tolovana Inn is a fabulous lodging option for single travelers, simply because there’s something for everyone to enjoy here and you can easily customize your itinerary. For solo guests who prefer jam-packed vacations, in addition to easy access to the beach, the Tolovana is near five golf courses, several oceanside hiking trails, scenic fishing spots, and plenty of shops, galleries, and restaurants. If it's downtime you're after, a soak in the hotel’s indoor saltwater pool or a nap on your very own private balcony overlooking the Pacific is likely just what the doctor ordered. The 175-room Tolovana is a timeless treasure with weather-worn shingles and quaint decor, as well as notable amenities like complimentary morning coffee and newspaper delivery, pet-friendly suites, beach fire pits, and shuttle service to the downtown area.
Best Business: Arch Cape Inn & Retreat
Business travelers rave about the Arch Cape Inn & Retreat, with its pristine views of the water, luxurious European-style architecture and decor, and incredibly accommodating staff. Though small and cozy, this boutique is also the perfect spot for a corporate retreat or work meeting. In fact, the Arch Cape Inn caters specifically to business travelers. As part of their “Corporate Events” package, you and your team can rent the entire facility (10 rooms), enjoy a complimentary gourmet breakfast, and use the Common Rooms and garden for gatherings and meetings. Then, when work is done for the day, treat yourself to a swim at the beach at Arch Cape Inn — it’s a secluded stretch of dreamy coastline right across the street from the hotel — or go for a leisurely hike along one of the many nearby trails.
Best Hostel: Seaside International Hostel
Young, hip and adventurous travelers will love soaking up the social atmosphere at Seaside International Hostel. Just three blocks away from the beach, and roughly 20 minutes north of Cannon Beach proper, this relaxed, budget-friendly hostel doesn’t skimp on amenities or accommodations. Seaside guests will love lounging in the back patio and garden, right on the banks of the Necanicum River, while sipping a cup of locally brewed coffee or mint tea (with fresh mint from the garden). The community living room is furnished with an array of musical instruments, board games, and books, while the rooms themselves are sunny and clean. Guests can opt for a spot in a dorm room, which has thirty-four beds or elect to stay in a private room. Every morning, pancake mix and eggs are available to prefer for yourself (at no additional cost), and bicycles and canoes are available to rent. As far as hostels go, it doesn’t get much better than Seaside.