We just spent two nights at Hearthstone Inn in Cannon Beach. Only second time we have spent nights there. Last time was winter too. So may not be best of CB Weather not good so limited beach time, but we did spend time in downtown CB and Seaside.
Sure easy to see why some like CB so well. Downtown of CB very well done. everything seems to fit well. And also rest of town has a low profile. No supermarkets. We need to go back when it is not winter.
We went on Hwy 26, not my favorite way to coast. We decided to return on Wilson River Hwy. I like that better, more time along the river, and once you climb up ylu get to top and start down. US-26 seems to have several climbs and limited streamside.
Bit further to go to Tillamook but enjoyed trip down 101 through the several small towns like Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Garibaldi etc and along Nehalem Bay and Tillamook Bay, Then a nice visit to Tillamook Cheese Factory and some good ice cream. And the drive over Arch Cape is very nice.
I need to make that trip every so often, think I can give some better advice about north coast in future.