Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Concierge.com's insider take:
Cannon Beach is the most appealing of Oregon's many coastal towns, in part because it is the closest to Portland. A mere hour and a half away (compared to upwards of two or three hours to towns further south) along mostly scenic roads, Cannon Beach is also one of the prettiest. The town consists of a long strip of tastefully weathered shingle buildings, housing a typical beach-town mix of art galleries and ice cream shops, pubs and pizzerias, bike rentals, and a good number of inns. While this makes for a pleasant stroll, the wide sandy beach, with its crashing waves and the well-known Haystack Rock, is the real point of making the trek out here. On the right day, when the sun is shining and the wind isn't blowing, it offers a near-perfect beach experience (August and September are good bets, though the weather is notoriously unpredictable). Another scenic vantage point is Ecola State Park, on the northern edge of town, whose wide, grassy viewpoint is sprinkled with picnic tables (plan ahead) with beautiful ocean vistas. Book a room at the cozy Stephanie Inn bed and breakfast.