Main Street in the historic district of Baker City, Oregon. Image credit davidrh -

12 Small Towns in Oregon to Visit for a Weekend Getaway

Celebrating the Pacific Northwest's rugged beauty, Oregon's small towns offer a rustic ambiance rooted in the resilience of the American Spirit. Many communities in the Beaver State formed as havens for pioneers who were traveling west on the Oregon Trail. The small settlements scattered through the untamed wilderness as the residents began to depend on the land and each other for survival.

Today, the same adventurous spirit and deep sense of community permeates the fabric of Oregon's small towns, beckoning travelers to experience the wonder of a land that fostered America's westward expansion. From snow-capped mountains with cascading waterfalls to ocean waves breaking over sandy sunset beaches, these small towns are the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Their tranquil serenity can recharge the soul and bring a new appreciation for the hopeful spirit that pushed the early pioneers westward in search of new beginnings.


Cars on the street in downtown Astoria with Astoria-Megler Bridge in the background
Cars on the street in downtown Astoria with Astoria-Megler Bridge. Image credit Enrico Powell via Shutterstock

Astoria is a famous port city in Northwest Oregon built on the south side of the Columbia River as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. The town relishes in an old-world ambiance as it overlooks the harbor, offering memorable river/coastline vistas. The Astoria Column has a stunning bird's eye view. As the first permanent non-indigenous settlement west of the Mississippi, Astoria offers a unique glimpse into the sea-faring heritage of early colonists. Stroll through the Columbia River Maritime Museum exhibits or tour the Flavel House Museum (a gorgeous example of Queen Anne architecture).

The downtown riverwalk area is the perfect place to spend a day exploring the unique collection of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Try a craft beer at one of the breweries or sample the Dungeness crab cheesecake (a signature item) at the Bridgewater Bistro. The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and Fort Clatsop are nearby, with numerous hiking trails and wildlife opportunities for those who love communing in the Oregon wilderness.

Cannon Beach

Overlooking Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, Oregon.
Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, Oregon.

As a small coastal community in Northwest Oregon that the National Geographic magazine has designated as "one of the world's 100 most beautiful places," Cannon Beach offers an excellent weekend escape. The stunning coastline features over four miles of sandy beaches and interesting rock formations, like the iconic Haystack Rock. The town enjoys a vibrant arts scene with over a dozen galleries, including Dragonfire Art Gallery, White Bird Gallery, and Icefire Glassworks.

Indulge your tastebuds in Oregon's finest culinary experiences, like the broiled shrimp sandwich at the Lazy Susan Cafe or the farm-to-table delights created nightly at the Stephanie Inn. Ecoloa State Park is close by and offers exquisite hiking through spectacular scenery. Walk along the rugged seaside cliffs or journey to see the Tillamook Lighthouse through an old-grove natural forest that will fill your senses.

Hood River

Mount Hood rising over Hood River, Oregon.
Mount Hood rising over Hood River, Oregon.

This charming small town in the Columbia River valley is filled with endless outdoor activities due to its proximity to Mt. Hood. Try your hand at windsurfing in the Columbia River Gorge, cruise a mountain bike down a steep mountain trail nearby, or sit and sip a glass of your favorite vino from some of the best wineries in the state. There are several orchards and farms in the Hood River Valley, just south of the town, like Mt. View Orchards for apples and Hukari Orchards for the best blueberries on the planet. Depending on the season, many farms will let you purchase from roadside stands or pick your own if you want to try.

Hood River has a diverse downtown district featuring many restaurants and breweries that can delight and mesmerize the palette. One of the best is Celilo Restaurant and Bar, a popular spot for over 18 years. Many visitors stop at Multnomah Falls, which is a must-see waterfall about halfway to Portland.  


Aerial view of Jacksonville, Oregon.
Overlooking Jacksonville, Oregon.

Jacksonville enjoys its heritage as a former gold rush town that exudes a modern flair. It sits in southern Oregon in the Rogue River Valley, surrounded by natural beauty, and is one of Oregon's most pristine environments. The town is best known for the seasonal Britt Music Festival, which attracts some of the best performers in the country each weekend.

The C-Street Bistro is a lovely, locally sourced restaurant to try for lunch. Be sure to ride the Jacksonville Trolley Tour for a 45-minute exploration of the historic buildings in the town, or hop on the Wine Trolley for a tour of local wineries. Browse the knickknacks in Trolley Stop Antiques to pick up some nice mementos from the weekend. During the summer, pick a bouquet at Applegate River Lavender Farm, where you can choose from seven different varieties of lavender from this unique family farm.


The main street in downtown, Sisters in the summer.
The main street in downtown, Sisters in the summer. Image credit Bob Pool via Shutterstock

For those seeking a weekend with an adventurous spirit, the quaint town of Sisters offers tremendous appeal with over 250 miles of hiking trails. This lovely little hamlet in central Oregon is named after the three glorious Cascade mountain peaks that tower nearby. Hike to the summit of the third-highest peak in Oregon for a challenging walk that rewards climbers with glorious views. (A permit is needed during the summer for the South Sisters Trail).

For a less grueling excursion, venture to Sahalie and Koosah Falls, Whychus Creek Falls, or the Tam McArthur Rim Trail. Sisters offers an exciting downtown with numerous specialty shops and restaurants (The Sisters Saloon and Ranch Grill is a favorite for its farm-fresh menu served in an old-West setting). The Black Butte Ranch has two championship golf courses for visitors who want to work on their swing.

Baker City

Overlooking Baker City, Oregon.
Downtown Baker City, Oregon.

The town of Baker City has a wealth of history as it celebrates its role as the base camp for Eastern Oregon. Travelers of the Oregon Trail often stopped at Baker City as they headed towards Willamette Valley in a final push toward the Pacific. The downtown district has over 100 historic buildings and numerous museums to explore, including the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretative Center, the Baker Heritage Museum, and the Leo Adler House. Be sure to stay at the Geiser Grand Hotel, a historic venue on Main Street. While you stay, visit Copper Belt Wines or Glacier 45 Distillery for a glass of wine or a cold hand-crafted brew, or try the Inland Cafe for a large, hearty breakfast in an old-fashioned diner.


Downtown Ashland, Oregon.
Downtown Ashland, Oregon. Image credit Nature's Charm via Shutterstock

Just off Interstate 5, this southern Oregon town lies north of the California border and enjoys a distinction as a thriving arts community. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will have you enjoying the mild summer evenings with the likes of Macbeth or Hamlet as you watch some of the finest repertory theater in the country. (The festival runs from February to November, with ten plays on three stages).

The Schneider Museum of Art is an excellent gallery of contemporary art exhibits at Southern Oregon University. In addition, Ashland is an excellent resource for mountain biking as it is nestled near the Siskiyou and Cascade mountains. Try the Horned Creek Road and Wonder Trails for a 4.4-mile moderate ride or hike. During the winter, the Mount Ashland Ski Lodge is one of the best snow runs in the state, transforming the town into a winter escape worth discovering.


Overlooking Yachats on the rough Oregon Coast.
Yachats on the rough Oregon Coast.

The rugged Siuslaw National Forest bounds this gorgeous coastal gem on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The region is known for the rocky basalt formations that jut into the sea, forming a natural barrier to the ocean waves. Hikers will feel the spray of fresh saltwater on their faces as they climb the terrain. For a romantic coastline view, try Cape Perpetua, the highest overlook you can drive to on the Oregon Coast.

If you are adventurous, hike to Devil's Churn for a picturesque outcropping of waves crashing over the rocks. Foodies will love the Yachats Brewing and Farmstore for its wide selection of sandwiches and cold craft beers. The Overleaf Lodge and Spa and Fireside Inn offer stunning oceanside views for those wanting to sit and watch the tide roll in.


Octagonal red, round barn on a farm near Joseph, Oregon.
Octagonal red, round barn on a farm near Joseph, Oregon.

Visitors to this northeast Oregon community will want to stay longer than just a weekend. Joseph enjoys its recent designation as a scenic small town due to the incredible views of the Wallowa Mountains nearby. With pristine lakes, box canyon trails, and abundant wildlife views, Joseph is the perfect getaway for both families and couples. Ride the steep gondola from Wallowa Lake to the summit of Mt. Howard. Many bikers take their bikes up the gondola to begin a wild mountain journey back down.

The Joseph Art Walk is an informative look at larger-than-life bronze sculptures from some of the country's premier artists. History buffs will enjoy the Maxville Interpretive Center, which details the early days of logging in the region.


Yaquina bay harbor marina in Newport, Oregon.
Yaquina bay harbor marina in Newport, Oregon. Image credit steve estvanik via Shutterstock

Newport is known as the "Dungeness Crab Capital of the World." One bite of crab, and you will know that this coastal Oregon community lives up to the billing. As a port city, it is the home of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Hatfield Marine Science Center, which are dedicated to studying and protecting ocean life. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a family-friendly attraction consistently rated as one of the "top ten aquariums in the county."

Walk the Newport Historic Bayfront to catch sea lions snuggling together on the lower piers or enjoy dishes filled with fresh seafood. Hikers will want to take in the Devil's Punchbowl with its unique rock formations. Take a camera for some of the best postcard moments you can imagine.

Klamath Falls

Farmers and ranchers rally in downtown Klamath Falls to bring attention to water issues of the Klamath Basin
Farmers and ranchers rally in downtown Klamath Falls. Image credit My Photo Buddy via Shutterstock

Visitors on their way to Crater Lake often fall in love with the ambiance of Klamath Falls as they make their way to the iconic landmark. For those looking for a desert adventure with plenty of warm sunshine during the summer months, Klamath Falls has plenty of hiking, ziplining, biking, and water adventures. Crater Lake Zipline will have your heart racing as you soar above the pines, or spend an afternoon browsing the displays at the Favell Museum Native American Artifacts and Contemporary Western Art.

The Basin Martini Bar and Restaurant is among the best places for a romantic dinner. And for those who love viewing birds, The Klamath Falls Birding Trail boasts over 350 species seen throughout the summer in protected wetlands.


Siuslaw River Bridge and the river in historic old town Florence, Oregon.
Siuslaw River Bridge and the river in historic old town Florence, Oregon.

As a hub for adventure seekers, this community is Oregon's coastal playground. The region around Florence is home to vast sea lion caves with lots of bird and wildlife viewing. Hikers exploring the trails around the nearby Heceta Head Lighthouse can often catch glimpses of migrating whales as they pass by. The town offers a historic Old Town District with various restaurants offering farm-sourced delicacies.

The Waterfront Depot is very popular and one of the best places for seafood anywhere. Do not miss the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area for some of the best sandboarding venues. If you enjoy camping under the peaceful pines, try The Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park to get your forest fix or fantastic fishing in the small lakes scattered through the park.

The small towns of Oregon produce a calm vibe, ideal for a weekend getaway. Whether you plan on camping, hiking, or just spending a romantic couple of days relaxing and sipping wine, these unique places will capture your heart and thrill your senses every moment. Many towns have vibrant historical districts that welcome visitors with warm doses of hospitality for weary travelers needing a place to rest, relax, and recharge.

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