Hit the Beach For Meetings and Retreats.
Quaint shops, beautiful beaches and a slower pace of life attract leisure travelers to Cannon Beach in the summer. But between October and May, the coastal community is well suited for a different type of traveler: professionals looking for a vacation from the typical meeting experience.
Most people don’t realize that Cannon Beach has a range of meeting facilities appropriate for retreats, team building events, meetings, even small conferences. By booking in the value-season, companies can also take advantage of signifcantly lower rates on guest rooms. And the things that make Cannon Beach ideal for tourists also make it a good fit for certain corporate events.
“Cannon Beach has 20 to 25 locations for meetings and 75 hotels and other places that provide accommodations,” says Court Carrier, executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. Most spaces are on the small side, perfect for intimate and affordable gatherings, with the largest meeting and reception space accommodating up to 300 people at the Surfsand Resort Ballroom.
When the weather is warm, small groups can meet next to the pond in the Inn at Cannon Beach’s courtyard garden. Misty Kawasoe, marketing project manager for management company Escape Lodging, says large groups are also welcome to use the breakfast nook/art gallery as a meeting space, or ask for sleeping rooms to be transformed into event rooms.
The Inn at Cannon Beach and its courtyard garden. – Photo courtesy of Crowerks
“Our properties aren’t your typical meeting spaces, but that can be a good thing,” Kawasoe says. “It’s a fun environment. It’s a creative environment.”
“Sundance Event Lodge is very unique for Cannon Beach,” says owner Carmen R. Swigart. It’s in a forested area just a few blocks from the beach. The lush grounds include a covered deck, pond and bridge with a pagoda.
People who prefer easy access to Cannon Beach’s iconic Haystack Rock can gather at the Hallmark Resort & Spa. It, like several of the area’s hotels, allow companies to bring in prepackaged food to keep costs low.
The Tolovana Inn has one of the largest meeting facilities, and the largest number of guestrooms in Cannon Beach. Doug Nealeigh, president of management company Vacation Villages of America, notes that their space can be divided into two rooms or used as one large space. There’s a foyer where sponsors or exhibitors can set up tables.
The Chamber of Commerce’s community hall is decked out with original artwork, chandeliers and wood beams with wrought iron salmon braces. “ is is a really artsy town, and the people who put this building together created a really artsy building that’s spectacular,” Carrier says.
If planners decide to host their event at a facility without overnight rooms, they have a range of accommodations to choose from. The Tolovana Inn has condos with spacious rooms, balconies and fireplaces. “If spouses or families want to attend, it really works out nice for that,” Nealeigh says.
The Lodges at Cannon Beach, another Escape Lodging property, also offers two and three bedroom condos. “They’re great meeting space because they have full kitchens,” Kawasoe says. The Ocean Lodge and Lighthouse Inn also provide comfortable sleeping quarters.
The Sundance Event Lodge is inside Sea Ranch Resort, which offers tent camping, RV parking and cabins. Many overnight facilities offer entertaining extras for guests. At the Sundance, staff members can arrange horseback rides (weather permitting). The Hallmark Resort & Spa has a spa for guests, and the front desk sells bonfire kits for evening festivities, says director of sales Kay Kimsey.
Cannon Beach has a wealth of hospitality and entertainment options, Carrier says. “We just opened two brand new brew pubs. There’s a small distillery and two wine shops. We have over 40 restaurants, plus art galleries and events.”
The Surfsand Ballroom at Surfsand Resort
Of course, there’s also miles of sand to explore. “A lot of the time people are a little stressed out by the time they arrive and get to their room,” Kimsey says. “The next day they’re on beach time. They’re relaxed and mellow and they tend to focus better.”
Bad weather can be an issue on occasion, but Nealeigh notes that there are plenty of clear days between October to May. What won’t change is the city’s small town charm. “Cannon Beach, as a whole, understands tourism and welcoming people into the community,” he says.
It’s a good idea to book meeting rooms and sleeping rooms early. Spaces can fill up quickly even in the value-season. To get help choosing a facility, Carrier recommends starting at the Chamber. They’re the clearinghouse for companies interested in bringing events to Cannon Beach.
“If planners give us their information, we can put an RFP lead together and get it out to all the people who would be qualified to host their meeting,” he says.
Once the facility is secured and the meeting has started, expect to sit back, relax and be pampered. “We’re different than what you’re used to,” Kimsey says. “We care. We want to take care of you.”