Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park. Beachcombers love Cannon Beach for its often low foamy waves and the wide stretch of sand that wraps the quaint community, making it ideal for fair-weather play or for hunting down a cup of coffee and strolling in winter. This stretch can get feisty in storms, however, which also makes Cannon Beach a good place to curl up indoors and watch the show. Haystack Rock rises 235 feet over the beach on the south side of downtown, one of 1,853 protected rocks that's part of the Oregon Ocean Island Wildlife Refuge, providing a nesting habitat for birds. Continue south past Tolovana Park—a playground located in the flood plain—to find the quiet side of Cannon Beach with a bevy of tide pools and few other souls. To the north of town, the beach gives way to Ecola State Park, a breathtakingly beautiful series of coves and rocky headlands where William Clark spotted a beached whale in 1806 and visitors still come to view them offshore during the twice-yearly migrations. From here, Sitka spruce and barbecues feature along the sands. There are a few excellent trails that hug the sometimes steep cliffs that rise above sand, including a 6½-mile trail first traced by Lewis and Clark, which runs from this spot past the Tillamook Head lookout and all the way to Seaside. Amenities: parking; toilets. Best for: partiers; sunset; walking. Ocean Ave., Cannon Beach, Oregon, 97110. 503/436–2844; 800/551–6949; Ecola State Park day use $5 per vehicle.