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The Best Time to Visit Cannon Beach (Updated for 2024)

The Best Time to Visit Cannon Beach (Updated for 2024)

What's the best time to visit Cannon Beach?

Cannon Beach shines in the summer, especially from May to August, thanks to the popular Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest that began in 1964. Drawing participants from around the world, this event has become an Oregon Heritage Tradition since 2014. In June, the weather is delightful with temperatures in the 60s and minimal rainfall, making it an ideal time to enjoy the contest and the beach.

Cannon Beach is a popular Oregon Coast destination, year-round. But if you’re looking for the warmest weather and the smallest crowds, the best time to visit is during the summer months, from July through September.

But the best time to visit Cannon Beach for you will depend on a few factors. We’ll cover these in detail below; let us be your guide!

The Overall Best Time to Visit Cannon Beach

Two people walking along the still water while it laps their feet on the black sand beach pictured during the best time to visit Cannon Beach

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The best time to visit Cannon Beach is during the summer, from May until August. At Cannon Beach, a summer visit means you also get to see some of the most unique sandcastles.

The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest happens every June. It started in 1964 when families wanted to occupy their children and bring tourists to town to fund the rebuilding of the Elk Creek Bridge.

Over the years, the contest’s popularity grew, and now people from around the world descend on the beautiful beach for this event.

When you visit Cannon Beach during the contest weekend, you’ll see artists of all skill levels using only the sand and natural elements found in a small plot of beach to build their sculptures.

Since 2014, the event has been an Oregon Heritage Tradition, according to the state’s Parks and Recreation Department, which shows you that it’s worth seeing. Beyond this entertaining attraction, the weather is also perfect in summer.

The temperatures in June never top out of the 60s. The nights get a little chilly, so you’ll want to dress in layers and pack a jacket. There’s an average of eight days of rain during June, so you’ll have beautiful weather to spend on the beach.

Cheapest Time to Visit Cannon Beach

Fog rolls over the deep green trees of the Pacific Northwest during the best time to visit Cannon Beach

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Every vacation destination has an off-season, when there are fewer tourists around, so hotels and other attractions lower their prices. The cheapest time to visit Cannon Beach is during its off-season in September.

Tourists have traveled for the summer and returned home, and families aren’t yet taking any trips for fall break. Visiting Cannon Beach during September means your flights and rental car are cheaper than in the peak season.

You can also get hotel rooms at lower prices than during the summer months. If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb or unique lodging, you’ll have a much easier time finding a cool place to stay without breaking the bank.

Since there aren’t tourists swarming the beach, you’ll have your pick of dates during September and can pay a lower price for the lodging.

You can also find cheap airfare and lodging during February and November. Keep in mind that Oregon gets the most rain between November and March.

While you can book an affordable trip, you might struggle to enjoy your time due to the soggy weather. With that in mind, traveling to Cannon Beach during the off-season means you can take a longer trip with a smaller budget.

Least Busy Time to Visit Cannon Beach

Hug Point pictured with a walking path to Cannon Beach as seen during the least busy time to visit

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June through August is the busiest time to visit Cannon Beach. Everyone wants to plan a fun summer vacation to a beautiful beach, and the Oregon coast fits the bill.

The least busy time to visit Cannon Beach is the off-season, which runs from October to May. People call this period the magic season due to its peacefulness.

Tourist season starts with the previously mentioned sandcastle contest, so if you want decently warm weather without the crowds, May is your best bet for visiting Cannon Beach.

Temperatures dip into the 40s at night, so you’ll want to pack layers and jackets to keep warm. There’s also an average of 11 rainy days, so bring a raincoat or umbrella too.

However, fall in the Pacific Northwest is stunning, so you might want to aim for an October visit to capture the magic season. You can venture into the parks to see the foliage changing colors.

The temperatures are almost as warm as they’d be during a May visit, with a slightly higher likelihood of rain. Keep in mind that if you can only visit Cannon Beach during the summer, you can still find secluded areas.

The farther you venture from Haystack Rock, the fewer people will surround you. You can even hike into Ecola State Park to see Crescent Beach for a more peaceful beach experience.

Worst Time to Visit Cannon Beach

Photo taken from the top of the hill looking out over the ocean above houses for a guide titled Best Time to Visit Cannon Beach

Art Boardman/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit Cannon Beach depends on your intentions for your vacation. Are you trying to see natural beauty during its peak season, or do you want to get away from the crowds for some peace?

The good thing is there’s not a terrible time to visit Cannon Beach. Though the winter months are cold and rainy, the landscape is still so beautiful that you’ll get some stunning photos from your visit.

Haystack Rock looks cool during the summer months, but when it’s cloaked in fog and rain, it looks like a landmark from a fairy tale. If you’re trying to avoid people and escape into nature for a time, the worst time to visit Cannon Beach is June or August.

Crowds swarm the beach in June for the sandcastle contest, and by August, everyone is taking their family vacation and spending entire days at the beach. In terms of weather, the worst time to visit Cannon Beach is November.

This month is the rainiest in Oregon, so you might not enjoy spending too much time outside. However, if you like the dreary weather and dress accordingly, you’ll most likely have the beach to yourself.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Cannon Beach?

There’s not really a bad time to visit Cannon Beach, depending on your vacation intentions. If you want to see a fun event, go to the sandcastle contest in June. If you want peak beach weather, August is ideal, though you’ll have to navigate the crowds.

For tourists who can handle the cold, Cannon Beach is stunning even in the dreary winter months. It’s a must-see spot. So, with so much to see and do, and technically no bad time to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today!