Two spectacular places on the Oregon Coast are Ecola Park and Cannon Beach situated about 25 miles from the northern border of Oregon. The road to Ecola Park is at the northern end of the city of Cannon Beach. When taking the coast drive these are definitely two places to stop and take photos. Part of the Goonies was also filmed here. If you are on a goonie trek, then you will have to stop here.
From Hwy-101 take the road to Ecola Park. This pleasant road winds through an old growth forest with lots of very large trees. Take the road at a reasonable speed as it is quite windy. The drive takes 15 minutes to get to the parking area and there is a small parking fee. On a clear day the coastline is pretty amazing. You can take a short hike down to the beach (recommended) and if you are lucky you can watch parasailers taking off from the sloped fields and floating in the sky. The shallow coastal waters make for some nice wave action to enhance photos.
The parasailers sit in a seat that resembles a large version of a child seat on a swing. They sit on a seat with their legs extending below and with sides all the way around. The front panel contains gauges and instruments. I am guessing that they were probably for measuring altitude, windspeed, etc. The parasail connects to the seat. The pilot places the parasail behind and then runs down the slopped field. After a very short distance the pilot is airborne and floating silently through the air. The updrafts kept them aloft and the controls on the parasail allow pilots to soar maneuver with a high degree of precision. I spent a long time watching because it looked so peaceful and fun to fly powered only by the wind.
Cannon Beach is just south of Ecola Park. This upscale beach community and tourist town has shops, galleries, restaurants, a marvelous beach, and Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is “must stop” location. It can get quite crowded so I recommend getting there early so you can find a place to park (parking can get pretty challenging).
One of the main attractions of Cannon Beach is the beach and the rock formations, particularly Haystack Rock. The fine sand beach is very shallow and the waterline moves a very long distance between high and low tides. I like taking beach photos towards the end of the day because there are fewer people and you often get some nice colors in the sky and in the water. Sunset photos from the beach can be pretty spectacular especially when you get the rocks in the background. You can also get some views of “Terrible Tilly,” the lighthouse situated in the ocean on a rock outcrop,
One Cannon Beach shop that needs special mention is the Kite Factory on 339 North Fir Street (north end of town). My wife wanted a long, colorful, single-line kite to fly and we could not find one in other kite stores. We ventured into the Kite Factory and found a nice red stingray kite with a long tubular tail. I also had one of my small stunt kite that needed some repair parts. The owner found my parts and said that he did not like the string that came with the stingray kite, so he replaced it with a better line. I asked how much extra the upgraded line cost and he said there was no charge. He also did not charge for the small repair parts. The store had simple kites, fancy kites, a very good selection of stunt kites, wind socks, flags, banners, spinners, and accessories. If you want a kite a highly recommend the Kite Factory. The owner is very cool, the prices are good, and he has a very nice selection of kites.
Cannon Beach has many fantastic art galleries. Our favorite is the Oregon Gallery at 223 N. Hemlock. They have all sort of artwork including photos, metal prints, watercolors, magnets, fine art, fun art, etc. Their prices are insanely good and we always find something that we like there. You will need several hours to just cruise through the various shops in Cannon Beach.