Vast stretches of sandy beaches, towering basalt sea stacks, and amazing ocean views, Cannon Beach is the perfect place to elope on the coast. Situated along the northern Oregon Coast, this quaint seaside town is most well-known for the iconic Haystack Rock. Jutting out from the sandy shores, the basalt sea stack isn’t quite like the others. It stands 200 feet above, and though impressive in photos, it’s even more impressive in person.
As an Oregon elopement photographer, Cannon Beach is definitely high on my list of best places to elope on the Oregon Coast. Only an hour west of Portland, it’s proximity to the city and it’s incredible scenery make it hard to beat.
The Best Time of Year to Elope in Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is fairly temperate year round but certain seasons bring better weather and fewer crowds. I may be slightly partial to early fall due to its warm weather, sunny days, and more relaxed vibe.
Spring on the coast can be somewhat unpredictable in terms of the weather. Although the temperatures generally don’t get too cold, there’s more of a chance for rainy weather. Even still, rainy elopements are some of my fave! After all, that moody, mystical weather is part of the appeal of eloping in the PNW.
Although summer is the high season and it can get pretty crowded, it’s still one of the best times to elope. The weather is warm and there’s less chance of rain. I recommend the months of June through September. And don’t worry, there are ways to avoid the crowds (sunrise elopement anyone?!).
From September to mid-October, you’ll find sunny days, warm temperatures, and less wind. Early fall is often referred to as the “second summer” by locals for these very reasons. I highly recommend eloping during these months for the best chance of pleasant weather and fewer summer crowds.
Winter brings coastal storms with rain, wind, and big waves. Most of the rain falls during this time beginning in late October and subsiding in early May. Although it’s always a possibility that you’ll have a sunny winter day in the mid-50s!
The Best Elopement Locations in Cannon Beach
It’s pretty much impossible to talk about Cannon Beach without mentioning Haystack Rock. The infamous rock rises high above the sandy shore and it’s absolutely breathtaking in person. It’s no wonder so many people visit Cannon Beach to see the behemoth rock outcropping up close in all its glory. Haystack Rock makes for a stunning natural backdrop for a coastal elopement.
Ecola State Park
Just a few miles north of Cannon Beach lies nine miles of untouched coastline in Ecola State Park. Here you’ll find picturesque ocean vistas, rugged sea cliffs, secret beach coves, and the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. There’s also a bunch of hiking trails and incredible lookouts with unbeatable views.
Just south of Cannon Beach is a 43-acre state park known as Hug Point. Here you’ll find incredible seaside cliffs, rock outcroppings, and secret sandy coves. The name “Hug Point” actually comes from the stagecoaches that once traveled along the beach. During low tide, the stagecoaches would have to “hug” the cliffs as they went up and down the coastline. Today, when the tide goes out, the water recedes, uncovering a hidden beach cove surrounded by staggering sandstone cliffs and a magical waterfall.
On the northern end of Cannon Beach, you’ll discover Chapman Point. A bit further from the action of Haystack Rock, Chapman Point is usually less crowded but no less beautiful. It’s the perfect place for a quiet elopement. When the tide is low, you can even explore some of the unique rock formations and sandy coves.
Where to Stay for your Cannon Beach Elopement
How to get to Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is only about an hour drive from Portland, making it one of the most accessible beaches in the state (especially for out-of-towers!). If you’re flying in from out of state, it’s easy to fly into Portland International Airport (PDX) and rent a car from there.
Where to stay in Cannon Beach
From cozy beach cottages to quaint seaside inns, there are a ton of places to choose from when you elope in Cannon Beach. You can also find some other great lodging options in the nearby town of Seaside.
Local Campgrounds: Check out Nehalem Bay State Park about 25 minutes south of Cannon Beach. It’s the closest state park campground, set amongst shore pines and rolling dunes. Wright’s for Camping, a family-owned and operated campground, is another great option just a few minutes from the beach!
The Best Activities for Your Cannon Beach Elopement
What fun would an elopement be without an epic activity to celebrate your marriage?! Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your big day to really make it one to remember:
Go kayaking: There are some amazing places to kayak in and around Cannon Beach. The Neawanna River near Seaside is a favorite!
Take a surf lesson: Learn something new together out on the water by taking a surf lesson! Cannon Beach is well-known for its epic waves.
Hike the coast: Not only is Ecola State Park a beautiful place to elope, it also has some awesome hiking trails. Get out in nature and explore the breathtaking coastal scenery of the northern Oregon coast.
Cruise the coastline: Hop in your car and hit the road. Spend a day (or a few) driving the famous Highway 101 along the Oregon coast. Explore the seaside towns and soak up the diverse scenery of the expansive coast.
Explore Portland: Spend a couple of days before or after your elopement exploring Portland. Don’t miss it’s quirky neighborhoods, breweries, and fun shops.
Permits Needed for Eloping in Cannon Beach
Depending on where you plan to elope, you may need to get a permit. Not to worry though! I’m happy to help you through that process once you’ve settled on an elopement location. It’s usually pretty simple and straightforward!
How to Legally Elope in Cannon Beach
When it comes to eloping in Cannon Beach, you’ll need two things to make sure your eleopement is legal in the eyes of the state of Oregon. First, you’ll need a signed marriage license, and second, two witnesses for your elopement ceremony.
Getting your marriage license in Oregon is pretty simple. If you’ don’t live in Oregon, you can start the marriage license application process online, but you’ll still have to go to an Oregon county clerk’s office to complete and sign your license. If you’re local, you can head straight to any Oregon county clerk’s office to get your license.
Some important things to note:
You’ll need your signed marriage license at least 3 days before your elopement but no sooner than 60 days prior
The cost of a marriage license in Oregon is between $50 and $60 depending on the county
Apart from your license, you’ll need two witnesses present during your ceremony (don’t worry, your photographer counts as one!)
After your ceremony is over, you’ll just have to return your license to the same county clerk’s office that issued it, and you’ll be good to go!
Book Your Cannon Beach Elopement Photographer
Ready to make all your Cannon Beach elopement dreams come true?! So am I! I’d love to be your elopement photographer, Cannon Beach tour guide, and new friend. Reach out and say hi! I’d be happy to help you in any way I can. Contact me!