The absolute wrong time to visit Cannon Beach, Oregon


I have always heard great things about the Oregon coast line. The scenery is supposed to be spectacular. So combining a great fare from NYC-Portland and a 3-day holiday weekend seemed like the perfect way to get that opportunity. The holiday I chose was President’s Day. It turns out that mid-February is probably not the best time to make that visit.

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I picked up a rental car downtown and headed out towards the coast, hoping that the early morning fog would burn off and that I’d get some decent weather out at the ocean. I was simply fooling myself.

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The fog was thick and didn’t clear up much. There was precipitation ranging from mist to drizzle pretty much the whole day. And I was not dressed the part at all.

About the only good thing that came with the weather was that the beach was pretty much empty. I made the hike down to Crescent Beach, somewhat ignoring the warning signs, and slipped and slid in the mud along the way. It was sloppy, but I was the only person there, for obvious reasons.

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I did discover a group of folks even more crazy that I am, however. A bunch of surfers were headed out into the water as I was leaving the park. Yeah, they had wetsuits so they were at least prepared for the situation, but the waves didn’t look all that great. Then again, I’m not a surfer so what do I know.

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My original plan was to hike around along the coast throughout the afternoon and overnight out by the beach, making the drive back to Portland in the morning for my flight home. The bad weather, combined with exhaustion, conspired to send me back into town that afternoon instead.

Much like my visit to the Great Wall outside Beijing, I was stymied by the weather. Doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy myself, but I know that the version of the experience I got is very different from the "normal" one. In this particular case I’m actually a bit disappointed about that. I guess I’ll just have to go back.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

9 Comments

  1. That’s sad. Somehow my wife and me have yet to have a trip ruined or significantly impacted by weather. It’ll happen to us sooner or later though

  2. I did a MR in the opposite direction last weekend, and enjoyed the nice weather and great food in NYC.

  3. Hey, you gotta go with the flow…that’s part of living on the west coast in winter!My wife an I have been there several times – once the fog was so thick in September that you couldn’t see 50 feet in any direction – real London pea soup stuff.

  4. That is what we Oregonians want the rest of the world to think about where we live. Notice how few people you saw everywhere. (and why there are so many great brewpubs, bookstores and coffee houses around). Next time give us a heads up and we can give you some pointers Seth.

  5. Good Heavens! Did you bother to inquire about seasonal weather patterns before booking your trip? What were you expecting, a cooler version of Los Angeles. What you describe is not strange or abnormal for late February – it is expected. As Seth notes, next time ask around a bit before you come. If the weather is perfect – (it DOES happen), great. If not, someone(s) will suggest fun things to do without weather considerations. Experienced roadies ought to know better.

  6. Seth—thats exactly why people go to the Oregon Coast for–the dismal, cold, gray skies…its perfect for getting a rental on the beach..making a fire…and having some chowder at Mo’s.

    1. Hehe….well, Ozaer, if that’s what they wanted then the weekend I was there was perfect. 🙂

      And, no, I didn’t expect warm breezes and blue skies, but I was hoping for slightly better than what I got. It was still nice, just a bit more of a mess than I was hoping for.

  7. Looking up weather patterns would not help. It’s always like that. I one time in august drove from Seattle to Big Sur without seeing hardly anything. In august too.

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