Top 7 Things to Do on the Oregon Coast in December

If you’ve never visited the Oregon Coast in the December, you’re missing out on one of the best times of year. Between holiday celebrations, whale watching adventures, and (of course) those spectacular winter storms, December is the perfect time to experience this beautiful coastline. Here’s what you can expect to see throughout the month.

To find out how you can plan the ultimate winter getaway, request access to our digital Vacation Guide. This carefully curated guide includes information about dining, shopping, recreation, and more. The best part? It’s free!

How to Experience the Oregon Coast in December

1. Attend Haystack Holidays

Haystack Holidays is a must-see in Cannon Beach. The festival usually runs from mid-November through December and features a variety of activities and events. Special highlights include Mimosa Madness (Cannon Beach’s version of Black Friday), a traditional Lamp Lighting Ceremony, and the annual Christmas concert. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for details.

2. Ride the Candy Cane Express

The Candy Cane Express is a historic steam locomotive that offers incredible views of the Oregon Coast in December. While traveling from Garibaldi to Rockaway, passengers can sip hot chocolate, munch on Christmas cookies, and even enjoy a visit with Santa.

3. See Santa at the Station

Traveling with kids? Take them to see Santa Claus at the fire station in Rockaway Beach. Little ones will have the chance to ride on a fire truck and tell Santa what they’re wishing for this year. Cookies, cocoa, and coffee are available, and there will be plenty of photo ops for parents who bring cameras.

4. Try the Arch Cape Polar Plunge

Are you brave or just plain crazy? Consider tackling the Arch Cape Polar Bear Plunge, a local tradition for over 50 years. On New Year’s Day, participants of all ages meet at the south end of Arch Cape and run into the frigid waves of the Pacific – no matter what the weather. Brrrr! Looking for more details? The time of the Polar Plunge changes based on the tides each year. Check our Facebook page as we’ll post more information about the event as soon as it is announced!

5. Whale Watch

Whale watching is a bucket list activity for many. It’s also one of the most popular things to do on the Oregon Coast. Each year, roughly 18,000 whales pass along the coast during Whale Watch Week (December 27 – 31) on their way to California and Mexico. Specially trained volunteers are stationed at several whale watching sites, including Ecola State Park and Cape Meares, to answer your questions and help you spot these incredible creatures.

6. Storm Watch

When the weather outside is frightful, staying in and storm watching is delightful! The Oregon Coast is famous for its wild winter storms (just watch this YouTube video) and when you stay with us, you’ll have a front row seat. It’s a great way to experience the power of nature.

7. Admire Christmas Lights

Each winter, millions of dazzling lights welcome Santa and his sleigh to the Oregon Coast. Decorated homes light up the sky, and parades, festivals, and tree lighting ceremonies abound. Some of our favorite places to see the lights include:

  • Cannon Beach in Lights
  • Seaside Festival of Trees
  • Seaside Holiday Parade of Lights
  • Rockaway Beach Holiday Gift Fair
  • Rockaway Beach Tree Lighting Ceremony

For event details, read our blog.

Book Your Stay with Starfish Vacation Rentals

Now that you know how to experience the Oregon Coast in December, it’s time to start planning your trip! Our winter vacation rentals in Manzanita, Arch Cape, Rockaway Beach, and Cannon Beach have everything you need for a memorable getaway. We even offer vacation specials and direct booking on our website to help you get the best price on your lodging! All you have to do is check our availability and make your reservations today. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with you!

Wondering what it’s like to stay with Starfish Vacation Rentals? Check out our guest services.