One of the most photographed places on the west coast has to be that of the Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR. This beautiful rock, which is 235 feet tall, stands majestically out of the water. It is the third largest monolith in the world.
Haystack Rock is a world of biodiversity and a protected place. On the rock itself, there are many seabirds that lay their nests there each year. Birdwatchers will be able to see tufted puffins, cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, and gulls. The Rock is declared to be a sanctuary and no boats, planes or even helicopters are allowed near it, because this may cause mothers to abandon their babies. People are not allowed to climb the Rock, either.
At the base of the Rock is another world of biodiversity - the tidepools. When the tide goes out, it leaves a large area for people to see the various kinds of life in the tidepools. Because the beach area is very shallow, this leaves an area about 300 yards surrounding the Rock. Visitors can carefully walk through the area, called the Marine Garden, and will find starfish, anemones, crabs, seastars, and more.
When the tide goes out, there are official people nearby who can talk about the area and the various types of sea life that is found in the tidal pools. They are there to answer questions and to help protect the area, too.
Many people come to Haystack Rock to be able to take pictures. It certainly is one of the most photographed objects in Oregon. The Rock is beautiful from many angles and times of day.
The beach offers a number of activities, too. It is nine miles long, and it is next to the town of Cannon Beach. The town is small, with only about 1,600 people, but it is ready for tourists. About 750,000 people visit the area each year. One of the main attractions is the annual Sand Castle Contest which has now been going on for 46 years.
The town works hard to keep its small town image, and there are a lot of small shops to browse through. The shops offer a wide variety of things - from antiques to pizza.
Cannon Beach has activities through the year and is known for its focus on the arts. There are a number of shops and exhibits that present art of various kinds. One popular event is called The Spring Unveiling. Artists prepare art works that are going to be revealed for the first time. Another popular event is the Stormy Weather Arts Festival which has several activities. One of them is called the Quick Draw event, and artists are given one hour to produce an art piece - which is then sold at the auction which takes place afterwards.
Not far from Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, there are plenty of other things to see. At the Ecola State Park and other places along the coast, you can see gray whales going by. The key time of year to go is during the spring and fall migrations, when it is possible to see as many as 29 whales per hour.
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