Cradled between the Pacific Ocean and Oregon’s coastal mountain ranges is the City of Cannon Beach, one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets. Populated with artists, art galleries and restaurants, Cannon Beach is a quiet, beautiful town by-the-sea. It's famous for its rugged natural beauty - such as forested headlands, magnificent monoliths, miles of pristine beaches - and its film locations. Cannon Beach is where the uber-famous Twilight (2008) and two of my personal favorite films were shot, The Goonies (1985) and Point Break (1991).
1. The Goonies
Each year, approximately 750,000 visitors arrive in Cannon Beach to enjoy its spectacular scenery and revisit the film location of their favorite childhood movie The Goonies. If you’re a fan of this Richard Donner film, written by Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus, you probably remember its action-packed opening sequence which includes a car race/truck rally on a beach.
That scene was filmed on the gorgeous Cannon Beach by Haystack Rock, a 235-foot tall monolith, named for its shape.
Cannon Beach is the perfect film location for the above scene from The Goonies. In addition to its idyllic seaside backdrop, it's also the widest beach I've ever seen. A rare quality in the world of beaches.
Haystack Rock, now a protected Marine Garden is where visitors can explore tide pools on Cannon Beach at low tide. It’s also where local birds such as seagulls, tufted puffins, and cormorants call home.
Another scene from The Goonies was filmed a few miles north on Indian Beach, located in Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park. Part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park, this beautiful park is another reason why visitors love visiting the area. Stretched along nine miles of Oregon's coastline, Ecola State Park offers some of the most spectacular sightseeing you'll ever see. It's also home to many hiking trails, tide pools, surfing beaches such as Indian Beach, and wildlife such as deer, elk or eagles
The entrance road of Ecola State Park takes visitors through a lush Sitka spruce forest to a grassy bluff with magnificent views of Indian Beach and the Pacific Ocean. This cliff is where the Goonies pull-up their bikes during their search for the treasure hoarded by the pirate One-Eyed Willie.
2. Point Break
In Point Break, Indian Beach doubled as the world-renowned Bells Beach, the setting of the movie's ending scene. In real life, Bells Beach is home of the world's longest-running surfing competition, the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival in Victoria, Australia. Even though Indian Beach is on the opposite side of the globe from Bells Beach, it does a beautiful job standing in for the famous surfing beach in the movie.
Perfectly stormy and ominous, here's a screenshot of a scene from Point Break's emotionally charged ending:
Located in one of Oregon's most beautiful coastal areas, Indian Beach is also the spot to surf and watch the sunset. With good waves in a variety of swells and not at all crowded, the beach is popular with surfers - though often not the best beach for beginners because of its strong currents and shifting sands.
Originally, the production planned to film at the actual First Beach in La Push, but that beach was too far away from where the majority of the filming took place in Oregon. Indian Beach became the back-up location for the movie even though it’s smaller than the actual First Beach.
In addition to The Goonies, Point Break and Twilight, many other films have been shot in Cannon Beach. This does not surprise me at all since Cannon Beach is one of the most beautiful places I've been too.
The breathtaking beauty of Cannon Beach’s shoreline has earned it much accolade. In his book America’s Best Beaches, Stephen Leatherman names Cannon Beach the “Best Overall Beach” in Oregon. Author John Villani considers Cannon Beach as one of America’s Best 100 Art Towns. National Geographic called Cannon Beach “one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places” in their June 2013 issue.
If you're looking to film your next production at a beautiful seaside town, you can browse through the Cannon Beach's film locations on LocationsHub.com. LocationsHub also has a listing on Ecola State Park's film locations.
Filming in Oregon
For more information on filming in Oregon, visit the Oregon Film Office's website and/or read through their FAQs page. The state has a competitive film incentive program which includes a 20% rebate for Oregon-based goods and services and an additional cash payment of up to 16.2% of wages paid to production personnel.
Browse Oregon’s film locations.
Banner image - photography by Sarah Le for LocationsHub. All rights reserved.