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The Secret Season

Eagles soar over the beaches. Large crashing waves thunder as they collide with the rocky shore following a storm. Between October and May, the pace of the coast changes dramatically and it’s a magical time to visit for wildlife lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to enjoy secluded beaches and the uncrowded streets of Cannon Beach. Weather can be unpredictable, but that’s exactly what quiet season visitors love about Cannon Beach. Many seek the wonder of the howling winds, drenching rains and crashing waves that can only be experienced this time of year. Others watch the weather forecast for fair skies when a visit to Cannon Beach can offer spectacular days, brilliant sunsets and beaches to enjoy practically to yourself. Room rates during this quiet season are an attraction in themselves, when oceanview rooms are offered at reduced rates. Slip away mid-week and the savings are unsurpassed.

Here are some great reasons and attractions to enjoy for your secret season getaway:

Storm watching: A Pacific storm is an experience that many hardy visitors seek out and Cannon Beach is the perfect place to take it in. Safe vantage points, including many oceanfront resorts, allow you to survey the scene and feel the power of the wind, rain and waves that have sculpted these striking landscapes. Some of the most remarkable scenes occur following a storm as wind-tossed seas continue to pound the coastline and explode on rock formations along the shore.

Great Room Rates: Whether you are seeking a storm or watching the weather report for one of those amazing stretches of unseasonably beautiful days, you will discover great room rates by avoiding peak seasons. Slip away midweek during the quiet season for even greater savings and uncrowded beaches.

Holiday Lights: Beginning in mid-November, the village of Cannon Beach lights up downtown with colorful displays of festive holiday lighting. In early December, even the seas offshore light up with twinkling lights as the commercial Dungeness Crab fishing season begins and crabbers haul in the Northwest delicacy.

Atmospheric Allure: Some of the year’s most beautiful sunsets, dramatic cloud formations and captivating light spills over the stunning coastal landscapes during the quiet season. Fog weaves through the trees and a warm glow blankets the beaches as the sun illuminates the lingering marine layer. There’s no limit to the magical scenes of light and color.

Best Beachcombing:  Beachcombers are rewarded with the best finds of the year as high tides and strong winds bring in all sorts of natural and man-made surprises.

Whale Watching: An estimated 18,000 Gray Whales can be seen migrating just offshore between mid-March and mid-April, then again in mid-December to mid-January. It’s the longest migration of any mammal on Earth. For one week during the peak of each of the migrations, volunteers are available at Ecola State Park to help visitors spot whales during the coast-wide Whale Watching Spoken Here program. ­

Secluded Beaches:  Sometimes, you can enjoy long stretches of beach all to yourselves when you visit during the quiet season. Visit mid-week and check out the nearby beaches to north and south to find your own personal paradise away from the crowds.

Roosevelt Elk: When summer crowds fade away, herds of majestic Roosevelt Elk begin to emerge from the forest shadows and can often be seen ­grazing in meadows or walking through the edges of town. Early mornings and dusk offer the most frequent sightings, but elk might be seen around any corner.

Bird Watching: Any time of year is bird watching season in Cannon Beach, but fall, winter and spring bring a variety of opportunities. Fall brings birds migrating the Pacific Flyway and populations of fowl, who winter in the mild climes of the coast’s estuaries and woodlands. Look for Buffleheads, Mergansers and other waterfowl in Ecola Creek or at the 2nd Street lagoons. ­Seabirds arrive for nesting in April. Watch Tufted Puffins at Haystack Rock through mid-summer and observe crowded colonies of Common Murres on Bird Rocks off the north end of Cannon Beach. Spring migrations also offer sightings of many varieties of shorebirds, who make surprise ­appearances on the beaches. Pelicans begin arriving in spring and build in numbers into fall. Watch for them soaring gracefully just above the surface of the ocean and sometimes diving into the waters with a splash.

Great Shopping & Holiday Fun: Enjoy the uncrowded shops and delightfully decorated town. Cannon Beach is the perfect holiday shopping destination, and the community’s Haystack Holidays includes a series of small-town holiday events sure to get you in the spirit.

Wildflowers: Spring is wildflower season on the Oregon Coast with interesting varieties blooming in coastal meadows, woodlands, bluffs and beaches. Look for Trillium blooming in the rainforest in March, then Wood Violet, Bleeding Hearts and others. Look for Wild Iris and Coast Paintbrush in meadows.

Read more about Cannon Beach's top attractions

Seeing the Sights

Arts & Culture

Haystack Rock

Beautiful Beaches

Ecola State Park

Hiking & Recreation

Romance & Celebrations

Nature & Wildlife

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