Aerial view of Astoria and the Astoria Megler Bridge in Oregon.

12 Most Scenic Small Towns in Oregon

Oregon is home to one of the most spectacular natural sceneries, not just in the Pacific Northwest but the entire United States. With its rugged coastlines, majestic peaks, dense forests, and dramatic high desert landscapes, the Beaver State is the ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Charming small towns with dazzling scenery are spread across these intriguing physical formations, making for the perfect vacation destination.

Spared from the chaotic scenery of big cities like Portland, these little locales represent the raw splendor of this beautiful state with their small-town charm and laidback way of life. Tourists should brace for endless outdoor adventures with exquisite natural gems to discover at every corner. For those planning a vacation anytime soon, these towns in Oregon inspire exploration with their unparalleled scenic qualities.


Aerial view of Jacksonville, Oregon.
Aerial view of the town and surrounding forests in Jacksonville, Oregon.

Small towns do not get prettier than this quaint community in Jackson County. From fine dining and wine tastings to scenic tours, a rich mix of experiences ensures there is something for everyone in Jacksonville. Oenophiles are spoilt for choice when it comes to wine-tasting experiences thanks to a rich blend of wineries in the town. A tour of Daisy Creek Vineyard offers the rare opportunity to sample freshly crafted wines in a serene setting while enjoying soothing music. Hand in hand with the wine, the outdoor scenery remains unbeaten, offering inviting venues like Doc Griffin Park. Here, families can enjoy delightful picnics in a tranquil green space.

The town's relaxed personality is perfect for exploring the local art scene, which one can do inside the Art Presence Art Center. This little jewel exhibits a diverse scope of works by local and regional artists. After touring the many sights in town, end the day by savoring delicious local flavors at trendy restaurants like Cowhorn Kitchen & Wine.

Baker City

Aerial View of Baker City, Oregon.
Aerial view of historic buildings in Baker City, Oregon.

Travelers visit Baker City for its rustic charm, boasting a historic district with over 100 antique buildings. With a legacy dating back to 1865, historians have much to uncover in this pleasant community, starting at the Baker Heritage Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this expansive century-old venue displays a vast collection of artifacts chronicling the town's past. Nearby, the Alder House Museum is a popular landmark, boasting iconic tours transporting one to a bygone era. Despite being built in 1889, the house continues to dazzle with its Italianate architectural style.

For the artsy inclined, a tour of Crossroads Carnegie Art Center offers a taste of the local art landscape in an impressive facility with an art gallery and school. When it is time to step outside, some tourists choose to play a low-key game of golf at the Quail Ridge Golf Course.

Hood River

The cityscape of Hood River and Mount Hood in Oregon.
The cityscape of Hood River, Oregon with Mount Hood in the backdrop.

Hood River stands out for its outdoor scenery, punctuated with picturesque views of the Cascade Range and the Columbia River Gorge. The town is chock-full of adventures, such as picnicking and nature walking at the Hood River Waterfront Park. For a more adrenaline-filled experience, one can stop by the Gorge Paddling Center, which offers kayak and paddleboard rentals along the cascading Columbia River. Add on areas like the Port Marina Park, and there is no end to the natural opportunities in and around Hood River.

After taking in their fair share of the outdoors, tourists can explore aviation history at the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum. This remarkable facility boasts one of the region's largest clusters of still-flying antique aircraft. Also, remember to try out some local wines with a visit to Evoke Winery, which produces several award-winning products.

Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock along Cannon Beach in Oregon.
The famous Haystack Rock sitting along the beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Cannon Beach harbors spectacular beach scenery that complements its tranquil atmosphere, making for the perfect weekend getaway. This cozy community is home to several beaches for those who like long shoreline walks, including the pristine Indian Beach and its namesake, Cannon Beach. The latter stands out as tourists can savor stunning views of Haystack Rock, one of the town's most recognizable landmarks. Moving inland, Cannon Beach has a lovely art scene with several centers worth popping into, including the historic Coaster Theatre Playhouse and the Jeffrey Hull Gallery.

A bubbly atmosphere engulfs the town whenever locals converge at the Cannon Beach Farmers' Market. In addition to shopping for fresh produce, seafood, and flowers, the market is an opportunity to interact with townsfolk and learn about their culture in a friendly and welcoming environment.


View of the Wallowa Mountains from Joseph, Oregon.
View of the Wallowa Mountains and Glacier Lake from Joseph, Oregon.

Despite its modest population, Joseph hits way above its weight class with a raft of exciting tourist attractions, featuring wild outdoor adventures and an above-average art scene. One of the best experiences for outdoorsy travelers awaits at Wallowa Lake State Park. This beautiful oasis dazzles with unprecedented views of the Wallowa Mountains peaks and fishing and boating opportunities on the still waters of Wallowa Lake. The best way to take in the scenery is to hop aboard the Wallowa Lake Tramway for a bird's eye perspective of the lake, starting from Wallowa Valley to the summit of Mount Howard.

If you are not a sucker for the outdoors, Joseph's rich mix of galleries ensures your moments indoors are just as exhilarating. From the Joseph Center for Arts and Culture to the Valley Bronze Gallery, art connoisseurs should clear their itinerary, if they hope to explore all the galleries in the small city.


The town of Yachats resting along the Pacific Ocean.
The scenic town of Yachats, Oregon and its rugged coastline with the Pacific Ocean.

Visiting Yachats takes you to the southernmost tip of Lincoln County, where a rugged coastline with awesome water views never fails to intrigue newcomers. This laidback community provides isolated seaside adventures free of urban hustle and bustle. It is home to the Smelt Sands State Recreation Site, which features the historic 804 trail, along which one can spot whales in the water and revel in a serene atmosphere. Similarly, Thor's Well, a famous sinkhole near Cape Perpetua that seems to drain the Pacific waters, is a must-visit for any first-timer in the town.

The small community's charm comes to the fore during Yachats Farmers Market, where a buzzing atmosphere compels tourists to interact with bubbly vendors and shop from their varied fresh offerings.


The cityscape of Silverton, Oregon.
Silver Creek cutting through rustic buildings in Silverton, Oregon.

With the motto of “Oregon's Garden City,” Silverton is one of the best towns in Oregon if you are all about aesthetic appeal. An unmatched oasis, the town is riddled with green spaces with natural wonders, proving to be a nature lover's dream come true. The Oregon Garden charms with a tranquil atmosphere with several themed gardens spanning almost 80 acres. However, the town's crowning jewel is easily Silver Falls State Park. Covering over 9,000 acres, adventurers can fully immerse in the wilderness while exploring its 24 miles of hiking trails. Meanwhile, sightseers will be left in awe of the gorgeous waterfalls, with some dropping more than 100 feet.

Beyond the beautiful outdoors, Silverton houses attractions like the Gordon House, an architectural masterpiece by the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright. Also, do not miss out on the opportunity to visit Marion County's oldest bridge, the historic Gallon House Covered Bridge.


Heceta Head Lighthouse along the coast in Florence, Oregon.
Heceta Head Lighthouse resting along the coast in Florence, Oregon.

Florence impressively delivers a blend of captivating historical heritage, unique dining options, a bustling art scene, and rich outdoor adventures. The town’s historical markers are among the most popular, highlighted by the postcard-worthy 19th-century Heceta Head Lighthouse. It invites outdoorsy travelers to explore the different nature spaces dotting its territory, including the Darlingtonia State Natural Site and the Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.

Strolling through the historic Old Town District reveals a vibrant atmosphere of art galleries, restaurants, antique shops, and other delightful businesses. This is an awesome opportunity to sample the delectable dining scene in Florence by walking into the Waterfront Depot Restaurant for scrumptious American fare.


A bridge surrounded by foliage in Mosier, Oregon.
A small bridge surrounded by lush foliage in Mosier, Oregon. Editorial credit: MelWood /

Mosier is a tiny town along the Columbia River that promises remarkable wine-tasting tours and unforgettable outdoor escapades. The town is known for its sprawling vineyards, close enough to allow for a wine-tasting spree in a day. Some notable local establishments include Analemma Wines and Idiot's Grace Wines, both serving a fantastic selection of award-winning wines. Adventurers can slip into their favorite hiking boots to explore the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, a fun and easy hike that will comfortably accommodate beginners. Meanwhile, those who do not fancy hiking can get behind the wheel and drive along the Columbia River Highway to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint for some of the best vistas of the Columbia River Gorge.

Cottage Grove

The Chambers Covered Bridge in Cottage Grove, Oregon.
The historic Chambers Covered Bridge in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Cottage Grove stands out for its unrivaled cluster of covered bridges, which are the most of all towns in Lane County. This makes it the perfect destination to admire Oregon's rustic architecture, which dates back to the mid-1800s. Among the more famous bridges is the Chambers Covered Railway Bridge, which straddles the Coast Fork Willamette River and boasts a tranquil natural setting.

Airplane enthusiasts will be intrigued by the exhibits inside the Oregon Aviation Historical Society and Museum, featuring an exciting collection of vintage aircraft. Meanwhile, the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum offers a hint of Cottage Grove's gold mining heritage. End the day with a live show at Cottage Theater to support the local art community and enjoy an exciting cultural experience among the welcoming townsfolk.


Dozens of boats docked along the marina in Astoria, Oregon.
Boats docked along the marina next to the Astoria Megler Bridge in Astoria, Oregon. Editorial credit: Debbie Ann Powell /

One of the first sights newcomers notice when driving into this scenic Columbia River town is the imposing Astoria column. This unique piece of art was erected in 1926 and stands at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. Visitors interested in Astoria’s past as a fishing village can stop by the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which has various interesting exhibits. However, there is a lot more to uncover about the town's past, evidenced by the wealth of historical sites across its territory. Notable mentions include the Flavel House Museum, a gorgeous mansion from the 19th century, and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Astoria's picturesque outdoors beckons enthusiasts to revel in a beautiful natural setting with plenty of recreation and exquisite views. The easiest way to do this is to ride the Astoria Riverfront Trolley and soak in all the sights along the waterfront.


Creek in Smith Rock State Park near Redmond, Oregon.
A quaint creek in Smith Rock State Park near Redmond, Oregon.

Redmond is a bustling community with an exciting mix of touristy experiences in the eastern region of the Cascade Range. It particularly lures tourists with its endless outdoor opportunities, generously available at the picturesque Smith Rock State Park and the Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint. Alternatively, vacationing families can go for more family-friendly outdoor options like Sam Johnson Park, which has pleasant amenities like picnic tables, BBQ grills, tennis courts, and a playground.

History buffs have a different set of attractions to enjoy, and most gravitate towards the Petersen Rock Garden & Museum, which blends a historical experience with love for the outdoors. Finally, souvenir collectors can speculate on incredible finds inside Redmond Antique Mall before leaving the town.

The Takeaway

Whether along the coast, amid vineyards, or inside old-growth forests, each of these scenic towns in Oregon captures the essence of what makes the Beaver State such a visually stunning tourist destination. With access to gorgeous hiking trails, rivers, lakes, and ocean vistas right at their doorsteps, they make ideal spots to enjoy leisurely vacations immersed in nature's splendor. For those seeking respite, relaxation, and natural beauty, a trip to any of these picturesque Pacific Northwest locales promises an unforgettable experience full of exploring Oregon's incomparable scenery.

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