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Here’s Why We Love Winter and You Should Too

Many people think summer is the best time, or even the only time, to visit Cannon Beach. Oh, what they are missing. Without the summer crowds, winter in Cannon Beach offers a truly authentic Oregon Coast experience that locals cherish. If there are crowds, they’re just as likely to be a herd of elk grazing in one of our parks. The weather? It’s never boring and often the most dramatic and awe inspiring of any time of year with spectacular sun breaks and sunsets that can be surreal, not to mention a roaring ocean that in no way resembles the comparably placid waves of summer. Add to that our little village lit up festively for the holidays and some of the lowest room rates of the year and you have the makings of a truly memorable Oregon Coast getaway. And, that’s just the beginning. Here are our top reasons why winter should be your favorite season in Cannon Beach:

#1 It’s Not Your Summer Ocean

The ocean is a completely different character from the one summer visitors experience. Even on sunny winter days, the ocean roars with an unmistakable seasonal frenzy, whipped up by passed or still offshore storms. Enormous waves explode against our rocky shoreline leaving drifting sea foam on the beach and swells the size of a two-story house can be topped with a misty spray of spindrift when winds blow offshore. There’s no doubt about it. Summer waves are boring compared to Mother Nature’s winter performance.

#2 Our Wild Side Shows

We’re used to it, but visitors are always enthralled when our local herd of Roosevelt Elk is seen leisurely grazing in one of our parks, strolling down the beach or sometimes right down the street! For a really big show, time your visit between mid-December and mid-January and you may also witness one of the planet’s most remarkable migrations as approximately 20,000 Gray Whales swim just off our shoreline. Once you’ve seen a spout, you’ll always recognize the sign of these amazing creatures. Bald Eagles soar through the skies, hunting along the shore and carrying branches to begin work on their nests. There are many other wildlife and bird watching experiences that only winter offers, so bring your binoculars.

#3 Yes, We’ll Say It: The Weather

Believe it or not, some people think Cannon Beach is only beautiful in the summer. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth and the only thing that stands between you and one of the most incredible scenic experiences is the right clothing. You may find yourself enjoying the beach between rain showers when the sun makes a brief appearance, casting a dazzling rainbow arching over Haystack Rock. Beams of light streaming through gray clouds casting spotlights on the ocean and the warm glow of the marine layer lit up by a cloud break on the horizon are some of the majestic scenes we love and you will too. Winter sunsets can be truly unforgettable with no limit to the shades of pink, purple and orange that might play like fire against a backdrop of fluffy cotton candy clouds. If it rains, there’s no better time to explore one of our nearby rainforest trails where the scene often includes light streaming in from above with the forest shrouded in a heavenly softness. But please don’t hold it against us if Mother Nature throws in some of those crisp, clear days that make for unequaled beauty on a beach you have nearly to yourself. 

#4 The Holiday Season, Cannon Beach Style

With our picturesque village festively lit for the holidays; great shopping in our boutiques and galleries; and a season of fun events, Cannon Beach makes for a delightful holiday season getaway. Mimosa Madness turns Black Friday on its ear at the end of November, melting away the stress of holiday shopping with fun deals and adult beverages. Our traditional Lamp Lighting marks the ‘official’ start of the holidays at the beginning of December and to wrap things up with a bow, there’s a fun winter concert at the end of December. Restaurants, bakeries and local candy stores offer up tasty seasonal favorites to enjoy and hotels keep their fireplaces blazing so you’ll have a spot to warm up when your shopping and celebrating is done for the day.

#5 Cannon Beach Without the Crowds 

There aren’t many places in the world where you’ll find a stretch of beach you can have mostly to yourself, but if you come to Cannon Beach in the winter, that’s exactly what you’ll find. Fair weather visitors may avoid our showery and sometimes stormy season, but they’re missing out on the Oregon Coast at its authentic best. An added bonus to this season of fewer people is that you’ll find it easier to get into some of our best little restaurants and you’ll discover hotel rates for ocean view rooms that are lower than any other time of year.