Over the holidays we opted to stay close to Washington and avoid the airports, so we drove down to Cannon Beach, Oregon for a much needed vacation. Yes going to the ocean in December sounds crazy, especially since you know it rains a lot up here in the Pacific Northwest, but we still had a blast!

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock on a sunny day. Photo by Jessica Hall

This seaside town is super adorable and full of tons of galleries, shops, and restaurants. While most days were cloudy while we were there (again normal for winter), we could still see the awesome rock formations along the shore. Just south of the town is Ecola State Park. It costs $5 for a day pass. There are a number of trails, and beach access, you know if it’s warm. Or you want to go for a run. But from there you can see the famous “Terrible Tilly,” a lighthouse built on a rock out from the shore.

Terrible Tilly Lighthouse
Terrible Tilly Lighthouse. Photo by Jessica Hall
Views from Ecola State Park. Photo by Jessica Hall
Views from Ecola State Park. Photo by Jessica Hall

So aside from awesome ocean views and seaside charm, if you drive about an hour south, you can visit…Tillamook Cheese Factory!

Tillamook Cheese Factory. Photo by Jessica Hall.
Tillamook Cheese Factory. Photo by Jessica Hall.

We love cheese so this was pretty awesome to see how they make it here in Oregon. There are free samples after the self-guided tour. Also, the cafe menu had some awesome looking grilled cheese if you need lunch or a snack while you’re there. They also have all of their ice creams too!

Speaking of food, there were some great restaurants in Cannon Beach. We had a great dinner, and local beer, at Warren House Pub. We also really enjoyed Driftwood Restaurant. But my favorite meal was at Newman’s at 988. This small cottage has AMAZING food. It’s French-Italian, I know you’re like whaaaat? But I guess you can say it has some French dishes, some Italian, all DELICIOUS. We had foie gras for the first time there and well, my life is forever changed. It was soooo good! We also had duck, scallops, and creme brulee. And amazing wine pairings. Oh man, I want to go back! Yeah, it was that good.

So that was Cannon Beach. It was a great getaway and I’d love to go back in the summer. If you want to see more photos check out my Flickr!