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It probably sounds cliché when I say that Cannon Beach is my happy place, but it truly is.
It is joyful and beautiful, mystical and simple.
The sand is so fine it squeaks like cornstarch when you run on it!
Last year when we visited on our road trip to Napa we only stopped briefly, but this year we hung out for several days.
One of the things I love most about this beach is that bonfires are allowed. Many of the stores in town sell bundles of firewood and kindling, as well as roasting sticks and the ingredients for s’mores. This is the stuff memories are made of and while the kids enjoyed being on the beach all day, playing in the surf and making sandcastles, they were really stoked about having fires at night.
My number one tip for this is to buy several bundles of firewood. On our first night we just bought one and as soon as my sister got the fire going, we realized we needed more wood and she rushed back to the store to buy two more bundles. I wish I had a photo of her walking back to our campfire carrying two heavy bundles of wood like a rockstar!
Another tip is to get to the beach before sunset. The late afternoon sun is absolutely gorgeous for photos, the sunset is sensational, and you can see where you want to set up your fire. We took a shovel down with us to make a little fire pit and this makes it easier to put the fire out, by burying it in the sand.
Where to Eat in Cannon Beach
We ate at Pelican Brewing Company and loved it. They have a lot of things on the menu for kids and if you have a more adventurous palate, try the Sweet Potato Quinoa Cake.
One night we picked up takeout at the Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House – also known as the Screw and Brew – and took it down to eat at our bonfire. My nephew got a chicken sandwich and they were so generous with the tater tots that we all got to roast a few in the fire.
Our favorite breakfast place was Crêpe Neptune where they serve delicious Illy espresso, and an imaginative variety of sweet and savory crêpes.
Camping in Cannon Beach
Though I didn’t stay there, I visited the Sea Ranch RV Park & Stables and it’s where I will stay on my next visit. My sister and her kids were staying at the Hallmark Resort & Spa Cannon Beach which is a terrific facility right on the beach. I accidentally booked into an RV park in Seaside which is only a few miles north of there, but the town has a totally different vibe.
Offspring and I got kicked out of our campground in Seaside because our van is not a legit camper. A few years ago some guy was camping in a van, got cold and fired up the engine. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning and his family sued the campground for allowing it. Why is this ok? Why aren’t we responsible for our own mistakes?
When I was still skydiving, a group of us went to Perris to jump and we had to sign a waiver while reading part of it into a video camera. I was happy to do it to protect the sport and protect the DZ, but I also told my parents that I was taking risks, and that under no circumstances were they to ever sue a company unless they actually murdered me and there were witnesses.
Not only that, they would not refund me for the last night of our stay. The guy suggested that I go buy a cheap tent and put it up next to the van and he would pretend that we were sleeping in it. Really?
We ended up crashing with my sister and her kids in their hotel room on our last night after a bonfire and a movie.
Overall the trip was a great experience. The kids all had fun and the beach magically fed my mermaid soul. We’re already talking about doing it again with more of our family next year.