Cannon Beach is a small coastal city in northwest Oregon, famous for its beaches, art, and marine wildlife. Cannon Beach welcomes around 750,000 people a year, all who make their way to see Haystack Rock, a famous rock formation that makes Cannon Beach recognizable. Aside from its art scene and wildlife, Cannon Beach is one of the most beautiful places along the west coast, and certainly one of the best places to elope in Oregon.
As an elopement photographer based in the Pacific Northwest, I love helping and guiding my couples through the process of planning an elopement, which is why I put together this guide that has everything you need to know about planning an elopement in Cannon Beach. Whether you need help with location suggestions, parking, or where to stay, I’m here to help. This is the ultimate Cannon Beach elopement guide.
Do I Need a Permit to Have a Cannon Beach Elopement?
No. You do not need a permit to elope on Cannon Beach unless you have more than 50 people present at your elopement. If you do have more than 50 people, you’ll need to apply for a special use permit. You can find the application for the permit here. If you want more information about obtaining a special use permit, check out the official Cannon Beach website here.
Can I Bring My Dog to Cannon Beach?
Yes! Cannon Beach is a dog-friendly beach that allows dogs to be off-leash. As always, remember to practice B.A.R.K. principles if you choose to bring your furry friend along.
How to Get a Marriage License for Your Cannon Beach Elopement
If you want to elope on Cannon Beach, you’ll need to obtain an Oregon marriage license.
An Oregon marriage license has a 3 day waiting period, meaning you cannot get married until 3 days have passed after picking up your license. The marriage license expires in 60 days. I recommend applying for a marriage license two weeks before your actual wedding day.
*Note: I am using Clatsop County (Cannon Beach is located in Clatsop County) in this example. Each county has their own process for obtaining a marriage license. You do not need to get a marriage license from the county you’ll be getting married in, but it does need to be returned to the same county you acquired it from after your elopement.
- Make an appointment at the County Clerk’s office located in Astoria.
- Show up and fill out the marriage license application in-person. Be sure to bring your ID and $60 to pay for the license. Currently, the County Clerk’s office is taking appointments Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:00pm.
- After your elopement, drop off the signed marriage license.
If you live out of state, you can request to complete the marriage license application via mail. Simply call (503) 325-8511 or email your mailing address to email@example.com to request an application.
To get more information and to schedule your appointment, check out the official Clatsop County Clerk’s website here.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope on Cannon Beach?
Yes. Oregon requires an officiant and two witnesses.
Pro tip: A friend or family member can officiate your ceremony for free! All they need to do is fill out the application on the Universal Life Church website to become an ordained officiant. As an Oregon elopement photographer, I’m also ordained and officiate ceremonies for free in all my elopement packages!
When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope on Cannon Beach?
While the summer in Oregon comes with warm weather, it also comes with crowds and high prices. Cannon Beach is very popular, especially during the busy summer months of June-August. It’s not uncommon for there to be traffic, limited parking, and less lodging options. I personally recommend waiting until September to elope on Cannon Beach if you’re hoping for something more private. If you’re set on eloping in the summer, consider planning your Cannon Beach elopement during the week as opposed to the weekend.
Fall is the best time of year to elope on Cannon Beach, specifically from September to mid-October, also known as “second summer” to the locals. Temperatures are warm, tourists are dwindling, and prices are decreasing. The fall does bring a higher chance of rain toward the end of October, but if you time it just right, you’ll have wonderful weather during your elopement.
Winter is the rainiest season in Cannon Beach, but one of my favorite seasons to visit. During winter, the beach is bare, whale watching season is at its peak, and it’s easy to score an epic deal on lodging and excursions. If you don’t mind a bit of rain, consider planning your elopement during the winter season.
Spring is a vibrant time to visit Cannon Beach. The greens are lush, the puffins are making their way to Haystack Rock, and festivals are sneaking their way downtown. While it does start to get a bit crowded, especially during spring break, spring is one of the best times to visit. The weather is still a bit chilly though, and rain is always possible, so be sure to bring a jacket.
5 Best Places to Elope in Cannon Beach
Aside from the famous beach and Haystack Rock itself, these are the 5 best places to elope in Cannon Beach.
Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park is located just 15 minutes north of Cannon Beach and is one of my favorite locations to explore. Ecola is primarily known for its overlook, though there are so many hidden gems throughout the park that are less crowded. From Indian Beach (this is where the La Push scene in Twilight was filmed) to the lush Sitka spruce forests, there are a variety of different sceneries to explore on your special day in Ecola.
Hug Point is just a few minutes south of Cannon Beach. It’s known for being less populated, yet just as beautiful. Hug Point can only be accessed during low tide. Here, you’ll find a waterfall, tide pools, and rock caves along the beach. Hug Point is also dog-friendly! While it can get busy in the summer months, it’s definitely worth checking out. If you’re hoping for something a bit more private, there are numerous other beaches up and down the road to explore.
Oswald West State Park
Oswald West State Park is known for their various hiking trails to cliffside overlooks, secluded beaches, and dense forests. The most popular hike is a 5.2 mile hike through the woods to a beautiful overlook of the ocean. However, if you’re not up for hiking, don’t worry. Oswald West State Park also has a variety of easy to access locations, the most popular being Short Sands Beach, a sheltered cove beach with a small waterfall.
Sunset Beach is located 30 minutes north of Cannon Beach. It’s known primarily for its ease of access and expansive views. The beach is huge, offering miles and miles of shoreline. There are mini sand dunes and tons of areas to explore. If you’re looking for something simple, yet beautiful, Sunset Beach just might be the location for you.
Last on our list is Chapman Beach, located a few minutes north from Haystack Rock. Chapman Beach is much more quiet, yet just as breathtaking. There’s even a secret trail that will take you up to an unforgettable overlook of the ocean where you can watch the waves and see Haystack Rock in the distance. This is one of my favorite little hidden gems in the area.
Where Can I Find Parking for Cannon Beach?
If you’ve never been to Cannon Beach before, finding parking can be a bit tricky. Personally, I like booking a hotel right on the beach so I don’t have to worry about parking. However, if you’re staying pretty far from the ocean, you have a few options.
The closest place to park to access Haystack Rock is on Pacific Street just west of West Dawes. However, this area fills up quickly during the summer. The next option is the public parking lot located at the intersection of Hemlock and Gower streets near City Hall. If you can’t find parking there either, you’ll have to find street parking.
Best Places to Stay in Cannon Beach
Below are some of my favorite hotels and Airbnbs in the area. Like I mentioned above, I like finding an area close to the beach so I don’t have to worry about parking. Trust me, it’s worth it in the end!
- Hallmark Resort & Spa Cannon Beach – Enjoy this getaway spot right just steps away from the beach with a spa, sauna, and free bike rentals.
- Wayside Inn – A highly rated hotel just minutes from the beach and downtown areas.
- Beachfront Home – An open spaced home with floor to ceiling windows and view of Haystack Rock.
- Ecola Haven – A quaint and cozy a-frame cabin close to downtown.
- Cannon Beach Bungalow – A spacious bungalow with a beach view minutes to town.
Best Things to Do + Places to Eat in Cannon Beach for Your Elopement
If you’re anything like me, you want to get the absolute most out of your special day. Below are some of the best places to eat, along with some of my favorite activities you can do on your elopement day in Cannon Beach.
- Newmans at 988 – A fine dining French and Italian restaurant across the beach
- Gatsby’s Oceanside Speakeasy & Steakhouse – A romantic, reservation-only restaurant with a fun theme
- Pelican Brewing – A local favorite for drinks and burgers
- Have a luxury picnic on the beach
- Go whale watching in the winter
- Walk downtown and explore the local businesses
- Have a bonfire on the beach with s’mores and hot dogs
- Slow dance in front of Haystack Rock
- Fly a kite on the beach
- Try your hand at tidde-pooling
- Take a surfing lesson
Cannon Beach Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who helps couples plan epic elopements along the West Coast. I adore capturing elopements in Cannon Beach and help my couples plan by providing location recommendations, vendor recommendations, timeline assistance, and so much more. If you want to learn more about what I offer, check out my elopement packages!
- 4 hours – 2 days of elopement coverage in Oregon
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in Oregon are already included
- Starting at $6,500 for CA, OR, WA
DON’T FORGET YOUR FREE ELOPEMENT GUIDE!
An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.
YOU? YOU’RE THE KIND OF PERSON THAT GETS A LIL’ TEARY EYED LOOKING AT AN EPIC VIEW.
That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.
These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna, and I plan, craft, and capture elopements around the Pacific Northwest. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.