The Best Places to Sit, Stay + Play with Your Pooch

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Doggone Getaway: Canine-Friendly Cannon Beach, Oregon

Unleash your spirit of adventure and head to the sandy shores of Cannon Beach, Oregon, where the Pacific Ocean’s roar creates the perfect soundtrack to a doggone delightful getaway. Prepare to let your tail wag with joy as we explore the unmatched canine-friendly vibes of this enchanting coastal town.


Nestled within the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Cannon Beach offers a paradise where your four-legged friends aren’t just allowed — they’re welcomed and celebrated.

It had been a few years since my last visit to Cannon Beach and at the time, it was sans dog. This time however, my travel buddies are Thya and Ziggy—plus photographer Julie Clegg—and after the three-hour drive from Seattle, we cannot wait to explore this quintessential beachside community.

As we drive past the many boutiques and galleries that line Hemlock Street, Cannon Beach’s main drag, the streets are quiet as we roll through town on our way to Surfsand Resort, our home away home for the night. We are here in the off season (November) and I kind of like it that way—it means we avoid the crowds and have more beach to ourselves!

Speaking of beach, with just a few hours of daylight left, we dump our gear and head straight to the shore. The Surfsand sits perched on the Pacific and is just steps from Cannon Beach’s world-famous landmark, Haystock Rock.

It’s a bit blustery as we make our way down to the beach, but it’s worth it. Accessible by foot at low tide, Haystock Rock rises 235 feet high and is surrounded by tide pools—home to many critters including starfish, sea anemone, crabs, chitons, limpets, and sea slugs. The rock is also a nesting site for many sea birds, including terns and puffins.

As Thya and Ziggy frolic in the sand, we spot a few other four-legged friends playing in the surf. Oregon beaches are super dog friendly and most allow dogs to be off leash as long as they are under voice control.

As mentioned, we are here in November, but the mild temperatures of the coast make it an ideal destination any time of year—even winter. In fact, winter storm watching has become quite popular and at the Surfsand you can brave the beach or cozy up in your waterside room and watch the waves crash along the shore. That’s exactly what we do, while the dogs enjoy the welcome basket we found in our room upon arrival, filled with goodies just for them. It includes a pet bed, towel, placemat, food and water bowls and of course, treats.

While the dogs settle in, we decide to step out for a bite to eat and the folks at the front desk recommend Bill’s Tavern & Brewhouse. As the name implies, it’s a casual place to grab a burger and locally-brewed beer. Fine dining is also plentiful in Cannon Beach. Newman’s at 988 serves up such mouth-watering items as lobster ravioli, marinated rack of lamb and duck breast with a truffle oil drizzle.

However, we’re happy with our burger and fries and with bellies full, head back to the Surfsand for a good night’s sleep. My suite features a comfy king sized bed, double sofa sleeper, large soaking tub with shoji screen, separate walk-in shower, gas fireplace and oceanfront balcony. Sweet!

The Surfsand also features the Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily as well as in-room service plus complimentary Saturday ice cream socials and seasonal Sunday weenie roasts and beach bonfires. There is also a heated indoor swimming pool and hot tub plus massage rooms and a fitness center with saunas. Ideal for little ones, the Taffy’s Kids’ Club at the resort features board games, a complimentary DVD library, kid’s crafts and activities, sand toys, cabana service on the beach and a special kid’s menu at the Wayfarer Restaurant.

Ecola State Park, Oregon

Alas, our little ones are of the four-legged kind, so the next morning, Thya and Ziggy enjoy another frolic on the beach, followed by a paw washing at one of the resort’s handy wash stations—no sandy paws allowed as we hop in the car and head to our next destination, Ecola State Park.

Ecola State Park is a hiking and sightseeing mecca, with trails situated above nine miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline. Visitors to the park are treated to cliffside viewpoints overlooking picture-perfect seascapes—pull up a blanket on the grass or grab one of the picnic tables and settle in for a leisurely afternoon. On the day of our visit, the view is of course stunning, but it is also pouring down rain, so it’s a quick look-see and then back to Cannon Beach for some more exploring.

Our first stop is Fetch, stocked with organic food and treats plus toys and accessories. Cannon Beach is a shopper’s paradise, with countless specialty stores, clothing boutiques and art galleries. Bruce’s Candy Kitchen can’t be missed with its hot pink-striped storefront. Operated by the same family for four generations, Bruce’s makes award-winning saltwater taffy among other confections.

But what Cannon Beach is ultimately known for—besides the beach, of course—is its art, and lots of it! Cannon Beach is one of the Northwest’s top destinations for art, offering opportunities to see some of the country’s best-known sculptors, jewelers, painters, photographers and glass-blowers. Seemingly too many to count, be sure to pick up a map listing all of the galleries at the Cannon Beach Information Center, located at 2nd and Spruce.

Whether, like us, you visit Cannon Beach for some wild winter storm watching, or wait until spring when wildflowers are in bloom, colonies of birds return to Haystock Rock, and migrating gray whales can be seen offshore, or wait until summer when the town is hopping with two- and four-legged alike, this quintessential beach town offers year-round fun for you and Fido.


Surfsand Resort 148 W Gower Ave., Cannon Beach, OR BOOK NOW

Bill’s Tavern & Brewhouse 188 N Hemlock St., Cannon Beach, OR

Newman’s at 988 Hemlock Street, Cannon Beach, OR

Fetch 271 N Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, OR


about the author

Brandie Ahlgren is founder and editor of CityDog Magazine. She, and her team of dog-loving editors, dig up the best places for you to sit, stay and play with your four-legged friends. Brandie, 12-year-old boxer Thya and Mexican foster failure Pancho, reside in West Seattle and can often be found hanging out at Westcrest Dog Park.

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