Long Beach Travel Guide
Where to Weekend

The Perfect Weekend Getaway: Long Beach to Cannon Beach From Seattle

PHOTO: Jo Ann Snover/Shutterstock

Our new series on weekend road trips aims to inspire you for what's to come as we slowly return to travel.

Covid-19 Disclaimer: Make sure to check the status of the states, regions, and establishments in which you’re planning to visit prior to travel. Many regions continue to see high infection rates and deaths, while many states and counties remain under varying stay-at-home orders. Those traveling from areas with high rates of Covid-19 should consider avoiding travel for now in order to reduce spread.

The drive to Long Beach takes more than three hours and much longer with Seattle’s storied traffic, but there aren’t really any other options. From Long Beach to Astoria is another half-hour, and Cannon Beach another 40 minutes beyond that. The only music option for this drive is the hometown stars of nearby Aberdeen, Washington: Nirvana—you won’t quite hit the river, but put on “From the Muddy Banks of the Whiskah” anyway. If you’re a big fan, make a pit stop at the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park.

GETTING THERE

The drive to Long Beach takes more than three hours and much longer with Seattle’s storied traffic, but there aren’t really any other options. From Long Beach to Astoria is another half-hour, and Cannon Beach another 40 minutes beyond that. The only music option for this drive is the hometown stars of nearby Aberdeen, Washington: Nirvana—you won’t quite hit the river, but put on “From the Muddy Banks of the Whiskah” anyway. If you’re a big fan, make a pit stop at the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park.

DAY1

The drive to Long Beach is a long one, without much to recommend it until the final scenic hour from Raymond south, but that more than makes up for the rest. And if you aim to arrive by lunch, you’ll have forgotten the slog through Seattle’s southern suburbs before the two pounds of steamer clams in amber ale hit the table on the enclosed patio at The Lost Roo. Revived, you’ll be ready to head to the Skookum Surf Co. and don a wetsuit to try your hand at hanging a very chilly ten, because whatever the Pacific loses in temperature here, it makes up in consistent, uncrowded waves.

But if you prefer to stay on dry land, the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail winds along the peninsula, including around Cape Disappointment, where the crashing waters will mesmerize you. For a shorter jaunt, the Long Beach Boardwalk offers a classic beach stroll along the dunes.

Pop off the boardwalk at the Pickled Fish and savor the namesake appetizer, along with local seafood like Dungeness in crab cake, mac and cheese, or with brie in sandwich form, smoked sablefish salad, or buttermilk fried rockfish, as well as a little live music as you eat your dinner.

DAY2

Join the locals in line at the Cottage Bakery to pick up one of the oversized maple doughnuts first thing in the morning—they will tide you over through your fishing adventure. Depending on the season, you could just walk onto the beach to dig for razor clams. Or, if you plan to spend the whole day in Long Beach, book yourself a voyage with Coho Charters, who will help you help you catch all the crab you legally can over a day—and still leave you enough time in the afternoon to visit the Cranberry Museum and demonstration bogs.

Alternatively, head south across the river to Astoria, Oregon, where you can work up an appetite by climbing the 164 steps up the Astoria Column, a 1926 monument to the settlement of the West. Take in the view of the river and fly a glider (available for purchase at the nearby gift shop) off the top before you head down toward the water for lunch at Bowpicker Fish and Chips. It might be a cliché lunch in a seaside town, but the beer-battered freshly caught local albacore tuna steaks served out of this converted gill-netting boat blow any other version of the dish you’ve had before out of the (pun intended) water.

Spend the afternoon wandering the town—though the specific house featured in the 1985 movie Goonies long drew visitors, it’s now closed off, but the general Victorian architecture that stood out on screen is even more remarkable in person. On the west edge of town, stroll by old canneries, take a ride on the Old 300, a restored 1913 streetcar, and walk along the riverside. End at the Fort George Brewery to sample their beers, particularly their annual “3-Way” collaborative IPA made with two other breweries to kick off each summer.

Finish the evening with a surprisingly unseafood-y dinner: Bosnian food at Drina Daisy. Dig into the meaty menu, enjoying traditional stews, sausages, and even whole roasted lamb.

DAY3

Enjoy breakfast at the Blue Scorcher, which uses organic artisan bread from their bakery to make big breakfasts such as their breakfast sandwich with chipotle mayonnaise and Scorcher French Toast made from baguette. Then head south to Cannon Beach to visit the iconic Haystack rock and frolic in the sand—or, depending on the time of year, the fog. Either way, the 235-foot tall lava-formed rock is one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks, and looking down is just as interesting as looking up: low tide shows off sea stars and fascinating sea life in the tidepools, spring and summer bring in the local tufted puffins, along with tons of year-round seabirds.

Pop into Ecola Seafood Market for one last chowder meal before beginning the long drive back up the coast—but leave plenty of time to stop into Frite and Scoop in Astoria on the way home for housemade ice cream in innovative flavors like Earl Grey with lemon crud, raspberry with rosewater custard, and malted sweet cream with caramel sauce and blackberry curd.

WHERE TO STAY

Above the Pickled Fish in Long Beach, the Adrift Hotel nails the balance between modern amenities like the sauna and pool and classic, breezy, beach-town feel. Meanwhile, The Atomic Motel in Astoria brings back mid-century modern style in a big way, right in the center of town. For a higher-end feel, head to the Cannery Pier Hotel, where you get your own private balcony over the river, along with a free wine hour, bikes, and access to the hot tub and Finnish sauna.

WHEN TO GO

Choose between the sunshine of summer and the shellfish of winter. While many might mistake beaches as synonymous with warm weather, this cool coast keeps visitors engaged with storms throughout the year. If you have your pick, though, look to make it for a weekend when the beach is open for razor clamming, a classic local activity.

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