Most scenic route from Portland to Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is one of Oregon’s most popular tourist sites, and if you plan a visit, you will undoubtedly have a wonderful and inspiring experience. The Oregon Coast is a popular road trip destination in the United States because of its stunning sea stacks and wildlife sanctuaries. It requires around three hours to get from Portland to Cannon Beach.

Miami Beach Oceanfront
Miami Beach Oceanfront

You may even turn it into a mini-vacation and spend the weekend relaxing on the beaches and exploring the trails. Begin the gorgeous road journey along the Oregon Coast by traveling from Portland to Cannon Beach, a beach lover’s paradise. This picturesque tiny coastal village is known for its long sandy beach that reaches as far as the eye can see. It’s little surprise that National Geographic Magazine named this location “one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places.” Here’s how you can use various modes of transportation.

By car

The different driving routes between Portland and Cannon Beach are pretty enjoyable. Depending on your path, you will see beautiful forests, gorgeous waterfalls, and breathtaking coast views. Road journeys from Portland to Cannon Beach typically involve driving through Highway 26 West until you reach the connection with Highway 101, then another 4 miles south along Highway 101. And this equates to 127 kilometers of road that will take an average of 1 hour and 49 minutes to complete. However, you won’t be bored because there are numerous intriguing attractions along the way to keep you entertained.

Driving is a relatively inexpensive method to go from Portland to Cannon Beach, so if you are trying to save money and have your car, you will find this a viable alternative.

By bus

If you don’t own a car or prefer to sit back and enjoy the scenery rather than driving, you can take the Northwest Point bus. And this is the most practical and suggested route from Portland to Cannon Beach. The bus route begins at Portland Union Station and ends at Cannon Beach Family Market/Surfside Resort. Every day, two trips travel along this route. The overall trip duration, including transfers, is 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Here’s what to expect along the way, Seaside. The journey from Elsie to Seaside is breathtaking. Imagine driving through the Redwoods with your windows rolled down, inhaling the fresh scent of the trees. It’s all green and blue. After switching from Highway 26 to Highway 101, proceed north to the friendly town of Seaside. Park your car and stroll down Broadway toward the sea. It boasts one of the most expansive beaches you’ll ever see! Make a stop at Phillips Candies to sample the greatest taffy in the world.

Camp 18

Get a well-deserved lunch break at Camp 18 along Highway 26 in Elsie. Going inside the 19th-century log cabin, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Rest in the rustic dining area and keep your hands toasty by the fireplace. Meatloaf and homemade cinnamon rolls are two of our favorite dinner choices! There’s also a vintage water tower, a souvenir shop, and a logging museum at Camp 18.

Indian Beach Trail

Take some time on your journey down from Seaside to Cannon Beach to explore the beauties of Indian Beach. And this is a beautiful hike with some of the most breathtaking scenery. Admire 15 million-year-old rocks and walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, who utilized the trail during their trip in 1806.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park, located spectacularly on the edge of Tillamook Head, is a must-see for any visitor to Cannon Beach. Ecola Park Road passes through the old-growth rainforest in the north end of Cannon Beach before emerging into one of the Oregon Coast’s most famous views, overlooking several rock formations and the capes and headlands miles to the south. 

Paved walking routes offer vantage spots for panoramic vistas, including the famous Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, located close offshore on a solitary rock in the Pacific. A short drive to the other side of the park takes you to the scenic Indian Beach, a favorite surfing spot. Ecola State Park has miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and excellent bird and whale watching vantage points. Look for Roosevelt Elk herds feeding in the meadows and Bald Eagles circling overhead.

Tillamook Lighthouse

The legendary Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (nicknamed “Terrible Tilly”), which sits atop a basalt sea stack more than a mile off the beaches of Oregon’s North Coast, is the stuff of legend. Despite being long closed to the public, she remains scarred and bruised today, a tribute to her illustrious past. The first to sail into Tillamook Bay, Captain Meares was honored with the lighthouse’s name. It is known as the Oregon Coast’s shortest lighthouse. Built-in 1889, this small masterpiece stands only 38 feet tall and is a sight to behold.

Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size; you may see the light for 21 miles out to sea thanks to the sheer sea cliff on which it stands and its Fresnel lens. A fun out-and-back along the headland from the Tillamook Head Trailhead to the lighthouse sight, just before the 4-mile mark, makes for a pleasant 8-mile excursion. You can alternatively park your car at Indian Beach in Ecola State Park and take a shuttle north to Seaside’s Tillamook Head Trailhead. Cab companies can also pick you up and return you to your starting place.

The asphalt car lot at Indian Beach Trailhead is the quickest way to get an incredible out-and-back vista of Terrible Tilly. Travel north for 1.5 miles on a gravel road to Hikers Camp, which has three shelters (each with four wooden bunks). You will next walk by a WWII bunker before being rewarded with expansive views of the iconic light. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is one of the best scenic and well-known villages on the Oregon Coast. Hiking, birding, wandering through farmer’s markets, visiting art galleries, exploring the lighthouse, and appreciating beautiful tidal pools are just a few available activities. The most well-known attraction, though, is Haystack Rock. You may see this famous sight as you drive down the coast. We recommend coming here at sunset to view the shadow of this enormous rock cast against the sun’s soft rays, with its reflection on the gleaming sand beneath your feet.

Besides the gorgeous sea stacks that border the beach and the off-the-beaten-path hiking trails, the primary appeal of Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock. Haystack Rock, designated a National Wildlife Refuge, is a towering sea stack teeming with wildlife, including tufted puffins. At low tide, one can marvel at the tidal pools teeming with vivid aquatic animals. Another highlight is Hug Point Recreation Site, which includes spectacular sea caves, a seasonal waterfall, and tide pools.

FAQs

Drive from portland to cannon beach

You can drive from Portland to Cannon Beach in about 2 hours. The drive is scenic, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to enjoy the views.

How to get to Cannon beach from Portland without a car

There are a few ways to get to Cannon Beach from Portland without a car. You can take the bus, which takes about 2 hours or take a shuttle, which takes about 1.5 hours. You can also take a cab, which takes about 45 minutes.

Portland to cannon beach train

The train from Portland to Cannon Beach takes about 2 hours. The trip is scenic, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to enjoy the views.

Is there an airport in Cannon Beach?

No, there is no airport in Cannon Beach. The closest airport is in Portland, about 2 hours away by car.

Things to do in cannon beach

There are plenty of things to do in Cannon Beach! You can hike, birdwatch, visit farmer’s markets, explore the lighthouse, and more.

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