- Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock
- Evergreen Aviation Museum
- Wings & Waves Waterpark
- Nonni’s Italian Bistro (Dinner)
- Lazy Susan (Breakfast)
- Pigs and Pancakes at Cannon Beach (Breakfast)
- Camp 18 (Breakfast)
We have a Christmas Day tradition – quickly open presents early in the morning and then jump in a car and head out on a family road trip while everyone is enjoying Christmas day feasts and visiting relatives. The board crossing takes minutes and the roads are empty and the end of year’s adventure is waiting. These past two years our destination was Oregon Coast – Seaside and Cannon beach. Each time we’ve spent 3-4 nights on the Oregon coast, exploring nearby areas and doing day trips. Here’s a list of places that we loved and would recommend to anyone visiting the area.
Cannon Beach – it has to go first on the list. The beach near Haystack Rock is an experience one never forgets. The power of the waves, the solitude when the weather is rainy and gloomy, or unreal light and clouds when the day is clear, the majestic rock formations along the beach, the smooth and tightly packed sand – all of it comes together in almost surreal perfection. There are many ways to enjoy the beach – from an easy 3K run on a packed sand, truly a “rave run” worthy of magazine posts, a family outing with kids running away from the waves on exploring see creatures in tidal pools, a romantic walk along the shore, you have to pinch yourself to believe how beautiful the surroundings are.
Wings and Waves Waterpark and Aviation Museum – this will take a day trip and a couple of hours of driving, but the visit is totally worth it. A location for the infamous Spruce Goose – the largest wooden plane ever built, the home to a fantastic collection of fighter jets, a black bird plane, artifacts from space exploration history, helicopters and much much more. It has plenty to enjoy for kids and for adults alike. After a few hours of learning about aviation history, there is a waterpark, right next to the museum with a number of breathtaking slides, great wave pool, hot pool and water playground. The place is impossible to miss, a real plane sits right on top of the waterpark and serves as s base for the four main slides.
Nonni’s Italian Bistro – this would be my top food pick in the area. A truly authentic, Italian restaurant right in the heart of touristy Seaside town. I’ve learned not to expect too high quality of the food in highly touristy areas and this is a rare exception where the quality of food is top notch and the prices are reasonable. Having said that, it must be a nightmare to get in during the high season, as the place is fairly small, so plan accordingly. However, if you are able to get in, you will enjoy incredible pasta dishes like spaghetti in slow roasted tomato sauce, lasagna, meatballs on polenta with mascarpone, a tight family-style menu of great Italian dishes, fast and friendly service, decadent deserts and more.
Breakfast choices – we’ve tried a few locations around the area and enjoyed these places, each one for a different reason. Lazy Susan – very atmospheric, old-house charm café, with health food inspired, organic ingredients menu. Works great for a group of adults that are ready for a few twists on their breakfast staples. Pig and Pancakes – Cannon Beach Location – is a complete opposite – regular ingredients, mostly heavy and greasy staples in a traditional diner atmosphere. Perfect choice for families with picky eaters and preference for traditional American breakfasts. Most notable dish, totally unexpected at a place like this is Crab Eggs Benedict. Light hollandaise, Huge chunks of real crab meat, melt in your mouth English muffin base, perfectly cooked egg. Great surprise and a dish worthy of a way more upscale restaurant. Finally Camp 18 Restaurant – about 25 minutes drive from Cannon Beach and right on the way to the Aviation Museum and Wings and Waves waterpark – it’s a restaurant built in what used to be a logging camp. Great atmosphere and hearty food. I’d recommend their breakfast over other meals. The location and ambiance are really unique – huge log beams, beautiful fireplace, gigantic tree during Christmas time, wooden family-style tables and chairs, a collection of tools displayed along the walls, all make for a memorable breakfast experience.