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10 Things You Must Do in Oregon’s Cannon Beach with Kids

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If you're looking for a beautiful beachfront, laid-back family vacation spot, Cannon Beach is for you. From the moment you see majestic Haystack Rock to that first taste of gooey, caramelized marshmallow roasted over a beach bonfire, you will find yourself falling in love over and over with this coastal Oregon town. Here are 10 thing you must do while in Cannon Beach with kids.

10 Things You Must Do in Cannon Beach with Kids

1. Get your Haystack Rock fix.

So, there's this big rock. It's called Haystack Rock because it looks like, well, a big haystack. That doesn't sound all that exciting, I admit. But, I promise when you see it, something will click inside of you, like a TV remote control switching you to a channel called zen.

Iconic Hastack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

Iconic Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. Go fly a kite.

It's typically windy near the beach, especially along Oregon's coastline; hence two kite-centric shops in town. Pick up a couple of flyers and thrill your kiddos by letting them hold the string and stare into the sky at their airborne babies. We learned from the local kite experts at Once Upon A Breeze that bat-shaped delta kites catch more wind than triangles, so keep that in mind when making your selections.

Once Upon a Breeze kite shop in Cannon Beach ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Cannon Beach with Kids

Once Upon a Breeze kite shop in Cannon Beach (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Shop downtown Cannon Beach.

Spending all of your time on the gorgeous beaches, you just might miss the whimsical wee downtown of Cannon Beach. Take the time to wander through its shops and gab with the friendly local shop owners. You'll find toys, art, souvenirs and so much more.

Having a swinging good time at City Park in downtown Cannon Beach ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

Having a swinging good time at City Park in downtown Cannon Beach (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Play with the locals.

When visiting Cannon Beach with kids, get to know the locals with a visit to a park. Children make friends so easily through the language of play. Stop by City Park in downtown Cannon Beach for a few turns on the tire swing and hangs on the monkey bars. I bet you wind up meeting a Cannon Beach family or two!

What kid wouldn't love a trip to the Chocolate Cafe? 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

What kid wouldn't love a trip to the Chocolate Cafe? (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Indulge in all things chocolate.

There is a wondrous place in Cannon Beach with kids (and their grown-ups) called the Chocolate Cafe. Here you will find chocolate truffles shaped like clown fish, puppy dogs, mice and more. You can also get your sugar fix from goodies like cookies, hot cocoa, and crème brûlée. If sweets aren't your thing, French press coffee and a wide variety of teas are available as well.

My kids loved finding this "secret" hammock hidden among the beach grass at Surfsand Resort ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

My kids delighted in finding this “secret” hammock hidden among the beach grass at Surfsand Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Use beach time to forget about electronics.

Beach play provides hours of distraction for children, away from the lure of electronics. You're family is probably not going to swim in the water at Cannon Beach, at least without wet suits. Air temps tend to top out at about 60-something on the hottest of summer days. And that's alright. Children can roll up their pant cuffs and skip over waves. Don't underestimate the power of sand toys, either.

Child guests at Surfsand Resort are welcomed with a pail and shovel with which to dig and build in the sand. The best part for grown-ups of older kids like my husband and me? Sitting on beach chairs near our hotel room patio, glass of wine in-hand, watching from a distance as our son and daughter happily played without us. (It's amazing how well siblings get along when adults aren't there to muck it all up!)

Roasting marshmallows for s'mores at Cannon Beach ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

Roasting marshmallows for s'mores at Cannon Beach (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

7. Roast marshmallows around a bonfire.

How could you not fall in love with the Oregon Coast when sitting along a crazy pristine stretch of beach, with Haystack Rock in the distance and the sweet smell of toasted marshmallows wafting though the air? It's impossible!

Surfsand Beach Resort provides a complimentary group s'mores fest for its guests. Or, you can pay a fee for the private route for a set up of firewood, marshmallows, chocolates, metal sticks, and graham crackers ~ just for you and your group. They'll even start the fire and keep it blazing for you!

My gluten-free beer at Public Coast Brewing Company ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

My gluten-free beer at Public Coast Brewing Company (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Taste Oregon's wines and beers.

Okay…this isn't for the kids. But parents deserve a vacation too, right? Oregon is renowned for its craft beers and its plentiful wineries. While in Cannon Beach, stop by the Westport Winery Tasting @ Cannon Beach in downtown to sip a few Oregon wines. A table set up with a tub of Kinetic Sand keeps kids content while the parents taste.

For beer lovers, choose Public Coast Brewing Co. They even offer gluten-free option for Travel Mamas with sensitive tummies like me. Kids are welcomed and there's a children's menu. When the weather is nice, sit outside on their lovely patio to enjoy your burgers and brews. Oh, and you MUST get their Dirty Fries: smothered with bacon, mushrooms, jalapeños, onion, blue cheese and Buffalo wing sauce.

View of the ocean from Surfsand Resort ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

View of the ocean from Surfsand Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Stay in for Goonies and games.

No one in our family had seen Goonies before our visit to Cannon Beach. (Crazy, right?!) Oregonians take pride in this cult-classic movie, which was filmed along the state's beautiful coast and includes shots of Haystack Rock. Lucky for us, Surfsand Resort provides free movie rentals, including Goonies and plenty of other family-friendly choices. There's something special about watching a movie and seeing the very same scenery on screen as you do when you peek out your hotel room window.

Surfsand Resort also lends out games galore to its guests. Choose from such classics as Candyland, Apples to Apples and many more. These are perfect for a rainy day, or some mellow time family together on the patio or balcony when it's sunny.

Slowing down to watch the sunset just steps from our room at Surfsand Resort ~ 10 Things You Must Do in Oregon's Cannon Beach with Kids

Slowing down to watch the sunset just steps from our room at Surfsand Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Slow down, way down in Cannon Beach with kids.

I fell in love…deeply, deeply in love with Oregon during my family's vacation this summer. A lot of this love has to do with Oregon's slower pace and friendly spirit. I want more happiness and relaxation in my life. If you do, too, choose the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach. You step right from your room right onto the beach, with Haystack Rock in the distance. There's an indoor pool, a fitness center, hosted weenie roasts on the beach, special activities for kids, and delicious meals at the Wayfarer Restaurant next door. But really, it's all about the feels here. And I have a feeling your family will fall in love with Surfsand Resort. Read reviews of the Surfsand Resort on TripAdvisor and Hotels.com.

Learn more about the wonders of Oregon, including the wonderfully weird things to do with kids in Portland and why to book a farm stay at Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea, Oregon.

What would you like to do most in Cannon Beach with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Travel Oregon and Surfsand Resort hosted our hotel stay and some of our meals during our visit so I could write this review about Cannon Beach with kids. All opinions are mine, as always. This story includes affiliate links.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Kita Bryant says:

    My husband and I have always wanted to go here! My mom grew up there and talks all the time about how beautiful it is!

  2. Beautiful!! Looks like a relaxing getaway. I would not mind trying out that chocolate place either – yum!!

  3. Cannon Beach looks amazing! I would love to bring my kids here sometime!

  4. Melissa @ The Staten Island family says:

    Your photos are like LOVE letters to Cannon Beach. Looks like a great place for a family to unwind and reconnect in the most beautiful location. And first on my list to try would be that chocolate place!

  5. Chavonne Harvey says:

    I’d like to take my family to the Chocolate Cafe, sounds like my kind of place. And then to the beach to relax and take photos.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I hope you get to visit Cannon Beach & eat some of the chocolates from Chocolate Cafe someday, Chavonne!

  6. Kayla @ TheEclecticElement says:

    I’m definitely down for doing all of these things, especially the indulge in all things chocolate! In fact, I think it’s my new life’s mission to take a trip to that cafe!!

  7. Oh these are some really nice ideas. I would love to have a relaxing vacation there with plenty of beach time.

  8. Looks amazing! I would love to take my family here!

  9. Toni | BoulderLocavore.com says:

    Wow! Looks like there are a lot of amazing things to do in Cannon Beach! My son will surely enjoy flying kites! And I’ll surely love those cute truffles! 😀

  10. Marissa - Ordinary mom says:

    Vacations are the best time to put your phones and gadgets down(except your DSLR maybe) and spend quality and quantity time with your family. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      So true! I got rid of my DSLR a couple years ago, though. I got tired of lugging it around and find that I usually can grab really great shots with my iPhone.

  11. Michelle Kay says:

    So gorgeous! My family would love all of the great activities at Cannon Beach! I’m putting it on our list to must visit!

  12. This looks like a beautiful place to visit. I try to forget about my electronics when I leave to go on a trip but it’s definitely hard!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Agreed! I still use my phone to take photos/share pics on social media, but I do try to put the phone down as much as possible and really live in the moment!

  13. Karlaroundtheworld | Karla says:

    Oh wow, that beach photo up there is awesome. I’m amazed at how much fun you can get from this place, flying kites are one of my favorite activities!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Then you’d really love Cannon Beach! My kids had such a blast flying kites on that gorgeous beach.

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