Oregon – Day 9 – Oceanside to Cannon Beach

Hey Guys!

This post continues our drive along the amazing Oregon Coast!

Tip: Download the GuideAlong app to guide you down the coast. The app tells you when to pull over and about the history of the places you will see.

Today, we would be making our way from Oceanside to Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach is approx. 1 hr 15 mins from Oceanside.

But, we would first be spending some time in Oceanside.

We started our morning with breakfast at the Blue Agate Cafe.

The cafe was literally connected to the cabins we stayed at so we only had to walk a few feet to the restaurant.

The cafe opened at 8 am for breakfast and we were the first ones in line….the line gets long very quickly because there are only like 2-3 places to eat breakfast in Oceanside!

Read reviews here

Tip: The other restaurant is called Current Cafe – Read reviews here & Click here for other nearby restaurants

We were seated in a cozy little corner by the window.

After looking over the menu, I decided on the crab omelet with potatoes and the hubby ordered the breakfast burrito with potatoes.

The food was delicious!

After breakfast, we walked down the beach to explore.

Tip: You are allowed to have fires on the beach here

The couple staying next to us had told us about the “tunnel” that connected Oceanside Beach to a “hidden beach’.

So, we decided to go check it out.

We first explored some of the caves in the nearby rocks.

Then, we headed for the tunnel.

The tunnel is a man-made tunnel carved into the towering Maxwell Point.

The 90 foot passageway to Tunnel Beach was built nearly 100 years ago in 1926 by the Rosenberg family (who founded the beach town of Oceanside) to give guests at their resort more access to coastline.

Prior to this, you could only access Oceanside Beach since the cliffs of Maxwell Point cut off all approaches to the northern beaches.

The first half of the tunnel is made of concrete which soon gives way to the natural basalt rock that makes up Maxwell Point, the headland that sits 161 feet above your head.

Right after you enter the tunnel, you will notice these small holes that are perfectly round…if you take pictures from those holes, you can get some unique shots!

Over the years, the tunnel has seen its share of calamity. In 1979, a landslide blocked the tunnel for 20 years until major storms in 1999 flushed it out again.

The tunnel is dark so use your phone’s flashlight to light the way so you don’t trip over any rocks!

Don’t forget to snap a few cool pics while you’re in the tunnel!

After you exit the tunnel, you will be on “Hidden Beach” or Tunnel Beach…it’s been called several different names.

Hidden Beach is surrounded by huge cliffs and lined with numerous sea stacks. During super low tide, you can reach Tunnel Beach just by walking around Maxwell Point.

You will have views of Three Arch Rocks

The Three Arch Rocks consists of numerous sea stacks, islands, and rocks lying half a mile offshore and was designated a National Wildlife Refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.

The smallest wilderness area in the United States supports breeding seabirds including tufted puffins, cormorants, and common murres. The refuge is the only pupping area of the North Coast for Steller Sea Lions.

During low tide, you can explore tide pools.

My hubby found a broken sand dollar on the beach

And I found, what looked to be coral that had washed up on the beach.

Tip: Lost Boy Beach and Short Beach are located north of Tunnel Beach. Lost Boy beach is a pretty secluded 1,000-foot cove with no direct road or trail access. The Lost Boy Beach access from Tunnel Beach or Short Beach is unsafe and not recommended.

We loved exploring all the unique rock formations!

After spending about 30 mins on the beach, we headed back to the tunnel.

This time, no one was around so we were able to get some good pics of us in the tunnel!

Walking back through the tunnel.

It was definitely a bit freaky!

We headed back to our cabin so we could check out and head to our first stop of the day, Cape Mears State Scenic Viewpoint.

Tip: Click here for places to stay in Oceanside

After checking out, we continued our drive along the coast.

The Cape Mears area was so green and lush!

After about 10 mins of driving, we arrived to the parking lot for the Cape Mears State Scenic Viewpoint.

There are few things to see here – one being the Cape Mears Lighthouse.

A paved 0.2-mile path leads from the main parking area to the lighthouse, passing many viewpoints and interpretive panels along the way.

The views along the path were incredible!

A few minutes later, we arrived to the lighthouse.

Built in 1889, the Cape Mears Lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast.

It stands only 38 feet tall and it is truly a delight to see.

The first order Fresnel lens was one of the most powerful and largest of its day. Mariners could spot the distinctive red-and-white flashes from more than 21 miles away.

The lens was made in Paris, France. It was shipped around Cape Horn, up the west coast to Cape Meares. It was then hauled 217 feet up the cliff by a wooden crane built from local timbers native to the area.

The lighthouse is open to visitors seasonally from April through October and is free to visit.

The views from the lighthouse are so beautiful!

We walked in and snapped a few pictures and then headed back towards the car.

We stopped at the many viewpoints along the way!

Such breathtaking views!

Once we were back at the parking lot, we checked out this cool exhibit that had informational plaques that talked about the wildlife in this area.

From here, we checked out another nearby viewpoint.

There are volunteers here who explain the wildlife in this area…there was one who had set up a scope and was bird watching.

She let me look through her scope to see one of the baby seabirds!

After leaving here, we walked another short trail to the Octopus Tree.

From the main parking lot, the trail is only 0.1 miles to the tree.

The Octopus Tree is believed to be around 250 to 300 years old.

The 105 ft tall tree extends from a central base that is nearly 50 feet around, and instead of shooting straight up with a central trunk, the body of the tree splits into a number of smaller trunks.

Don’t miss the scenic lookout right past the tree!

After the Octopus Tree, we headed to see the Big Spruce Tree.

The hike to the tree is only 0.6 miles round trip.

The Sitka Spruce tree was designated the state champion in 2008 for being the largest of its species in Oregon.

The tree stands 144 ft tall , 48 ft in circumference and 15 1/2 feet in diameter. It is estimated to be 750-800 years old!

Read reviews for this area here

Tip: Don’t miss seeing Cape Mears Beach

After this stop, we headed to our next stop, the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook.

This place is huge and VERY crowded!!

You can tour the factory for free or book a tour.

Read reviews here

The Tillamook Cheese Factory started in 1894 and is a farmer owned company.

It is the 48th largest dairy processor in North America. Tillamook posted $1 billion in sales in 2021 and employs nearly 900 people in Oregon and is the largest employer in Tillamook County.

The visitor center opened in 1966 and hosts over 1.3 million tourists each year. I think they all came the same day we did!!

The visitor center sells all of their products and many other products that are produced in Oregon.

Tip: They also serve lunch and ice cream

Visitors can learn about the cheesemaking process, cheese packaging process, and the ice cream-making process from a viewing gallery over the main production floor.

The Tillamook Cheese Factory produces more than 170,000 pounds of cheese each day and packages approximately one million pounds of cheese on-site each week. The factory warehouse has the capacity to age 50 million pounds of cheese at once.

It was cool to watch the process!

After watching from several observation windows, you get free samples of their yummy cheese!

We then headed to purchase some of their ice cream!

The line was a mile long and we ended up waiting 45 mins for our ice cream!

They had so many flavors to choose from so I ended up ordering the flight which allowed you to choose 3 different flavors!

It was worth the wait!

After eating our delicious ice cream, we continued our drive down the coast.

We passed through Rockaway.

There were lots of lily pads blooming when we were in Oregon…we stopped to snap a few pictures when we saw these!

After this stop, it was time for lunch.

So, we stopped at the historic Pronto Pup in Rockaway Beach.

The corn dog was invented in Rockaway Beach by husband and wife team George and Versa Boyington in the late 1930s.

The Boyington’s ran a small hot dog stand on the beach, selling the dogs to tourists and locals alike.

When the rain came and ruined the buns, George Boyington came up with the idea of cooking a “bun” as needed. He created a pancake batter based mix and the duo came up with the formula still used today.

They only sold corn dogs, fries, tots & ice cream.

We both ordered the original pup with an order of tots.

It had been years since I had eaten a corn dog…it was soooo good!

As we were sitting outside eating our corn dogs, the Oregon Coast Scenic Train passed by.

The railroad is a popular tourist attraction that operates every day of the week during the summer.

Passengers hop aboard at either historic depot in Rockaway Beach or Garibaldi. Multiple outbound trains depart either city each day and each ride includes a 30-minute layover in the charming fishing town of Wheeler. A one-way trip takes approximately 90 minutes in total.

I tried to get my hubby to ride the corndog before we left but he said he would pass! 😆

After lunch, we headed to our next stop, the nearby Cedar Wetlands Preserve to see the Rockaway Beach’s largest resident, the mammoth Western Red Cedar.

The tree resides inside the 45-acre old growth forest and Cedar wetlands preserve.

The boardwalk begins from the trailhead on Highway 101, right at the welcome sign for Rockaway Beach.

You’ll proceed through a dense thicket of willow, with alder, hemlock, and a few Sitka spruce.

An easy trail leads less than a mile through a boggy area of giant trees, ending at a boardwalk platform that surrounds the colossal Western Red Cedar.

On the walk, we spotted an eagle’s nest in top of one of the trees!

After a few minutes of walking, we arrived to the massive tree!

The western red cedar with a 45-foot circumference is believed to be between 500 to 900 years old!

After leaving here, we headed 25 mins down the road to our next stop, Oswald West State Park.

The views from the Neahkahnie Viewpoint were beautiful!

Next, we stopped off at Hug Point State Recreation Area.

The views here were amazing!

This state recreation site used to be a stagecoach road that ran along the beach before the coast highway was put in. You can still see those today in some of the rocks…we never found them.

After leaving here, we headed to our last hotel, the Hallmark Resort on Cannon Beach.

Once we were checked in, we headed to our room.

Our room had a king size bed, full size kitchen, fireplace, table w/ chairs, and a huge bathroom!

But the best of all, we had a balcony with views of the incredible Haystack Rock!!

This was definitely our most favorite hotel on our entire trip!

After getting settled into our room and relaxing for about an hour, we headed out to dinner.

Once again, we headed to one of the restaurants that my hubby had on his list called Driftwood.

We chose to be seated outside by the firepit.

After looking over the menu, I decided on the crab sandwich with a small bowl of clam chowder and my hubby ordered a steak.

The food was very average and based on our experience, I wouldn’t recommend.

Read reviews here

After dinner, we headed back to our room and enjoyed the views from our balcony.

Later that evening, we could see lots of bonfires on the beach…a few places along the coast allow you to build fires on the beach…our hotel even provided the wood and starter kit!

After sitting up for quite some time relaxing on the balcony, we called it a night!

Thanks for reading!

Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, Day 6 here, Day 7 here & Day8 here

Read my 10 day Oregon Itinerary here & Click here for links to all of my blog posts over the last 5 years!

Stay tuned for Day 10!

Leave a Reply