Freckled with acres of picturesque landscapes and pristine ecosystems, the Pacific Northwest is ripe for exploration.
Aside from its natural charisma, the Pacific Northwest has long been famous for its signature blend of innovation and offbeat charm. The area encompasses the states of Oregon and Washington, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Cascade Mountain Range to the east.
There are so many options for adventures and memorable excursions in this region, from quirky storefronts and historic markers to stunning vineyards and beautiful river gorges. If your group has never visited the area, however, your ultimate Pacific Northwest experience starts with these top attractions.
The Oregon coast is lined with quaint seaside villages and brimming with the salty banter of local fishermen, quirky finds at boutique shops and the delicious flavors at mom-and-pop restaurants that serve variations on the catch of the day. Although there are many options for stops along the coast, few cities can compare with the charm and group offerings of Oregon’s famous Cannon Beach.
The community of Cannon Beach, named for an iron cannon that washed ashore from a shipwrecked U.S. Navy schooner, has grown from its modest beginning in 1957 to include more than 1,500 residents as of a 2010 census. The beach itself extends four miles from the town, offering much room for exploration and fun in the sand amongst a background of scenic rock formations, among them the famous Haystack Rock. Haystack Rock rises 235 feet from the edge of the shoreline and has been the centerpiece for many cinematic scenes in movies such as “The Goonies,” “The Road,” “The Ring,” and “Short Circuit.” The tidal pools at the base of Haystack Rock are listed as one of Oregon’s seven protected marine gardens and are a great spot for spotting some of Oregon’s most exciting bird species, like the tufted puffins.
The town itself has become somewhat of an artists’ haven, where winding pathways guide guests through the walkable town center to public art courtyards, specialty shops and cafes. Numerous art galleries feature one-of-a-kind works from locally and internationally renowned artists. Groups looking for more interaction in the area tend to enjoy the short hike up to Tillamook Rock Lighthouse or the hands-on cooking classes at the Cannon Beach Cooking School.