Astoria, Oregon, overlooks the Astoria Megler bridge as it crosses the Columbia River to the state of Washington. Image credit Jess Kraft via Shutterstock

6 Most Underrated Towns in Oregon

"The Beaver State" is renowned for its rugged natural beauty along the coastline and scenic wilderness. Its underrated towns pose the perfect base for getaways, with linger-worthy attractions along the historic, decorated streets. These towns are specks on the map but with a big character that shines brightly for some of the state's best nature.


Yachts, ships and fishing boats berthed at West Mooring Basin Marina next to the iconic Astoria Megler Bridge
Yachts, ships, and fishing boats berthed at West Mooring Basin Marina next to the iconic Astoria Megler Bridge. Image credit Debbie Ann Powell via Shutterstock

The old fishing port town of Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River boasts a fabulous waterfront. You can dine on amazing seafood with views, sip beer on a pier, and buy freshly-caught fish right from the docks. A ride on a vintage trolley offers a perfect way to get the landscape's scope and scavenge for hit-worthy spots along the way. Meander the atmospheric streets to learn about the town's past amidst tons of attractions and landmarks. Modern pursuits include shopping, antiquing, and buying baked goods.

Astoria was the setting for many scenes from the 1985 hit, The Goonies. Fans can enjoy checking out the many filming locations throughout town. While you are here, you must also check out the local museums and climb the 164 steps to the top of the Astoria column for the best panoramic vistas. Astoria hosts regular festivals throughout the year such as the massive Wine and Seafood Festival that fills the otherwise crowd-less town with mingling locals and tourists.

Coos Bay

Coos Bay Oregon, aerial Pacific Highway 101 going through town
Coos Bay Oregon, aerial Pacific Highway 101 going through town. Image credit Manuela Durson via Shutterstock

One of the state's coolest towns is home to ample natural beauty, and a long list of restaurants to recharge and hit the outdoor scene on repeat. There are plentiful amenities to kick up the tired feet following a day worth of exploring and call in a night in style under any budget. The rugged coast awaits the next morning's ventures at the point where the Coos River meets the Pacific for especially scenic vistas galore, hikes, and water fun.

The surrounding area has varied terrain, including dunes and state parks with trails for various types of adventures The atmospheric Cape Arago Lighthouse is the newest version following its two-time downfall from bad weather and erosion, and best sighted from Bay Sunset Park. Coos Bay is the perfect town that calls for scenic walks along the streets decorated with shipbuilding memorabilia from the past.


The sun sets in the sea and illuminates Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
The sun sets in the sea and illuminates Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon. Image credit Stas Moroz via Shutterstock

The enchanting oceanfront city of around 10,000, boasts an idyllic locale along the central Oregon coast and Siuslaw River. It is home to a charming, historic Old Town district next to the Siuslaw River Bridge, worthy to meander for culture and sights. There are also tons of shopping opportunities, and places to stay, eat and drink with views, such as the state's best seafood chowder on the coast. The serene town offers a real peaceful respite from the city with easy access to hot spots along the coast. The shores are perfect for sandboarding and whale-watching, as well as shopping along the boardwalk market.

There are many interesting museums to learn about the atmospheric community's past and present. The Darlingtonia State Natural Site is a must-visit for the unique cobra lily, a carnivorous plant. Other natural and sightseeing highlights include the Oregon Sand Dunes, Sea Lion Caves, and the Heceta Head Lighthouse. The town boasts its own attractions including the Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters, a stroll-worthy riverfront, art galleries, and local businesses.


Aerial of Manzanita Beach and Pacific Ocean surf on Oregon coast
Aerial of Manzanita Beach and Pacific Ocean surf on Oregon coast. Image credit Rob Crandall via Shutterstock

The underrated small town of just over 600 residents spreads scenically along Oregon's western coast. Manzanita has fewer crowds and a more pleasant climate than much of the state. It is perfect for exploring the nearby Oswald West State Park's trails, and the beach at the Nehalem Bay State Park along with breathtaking views of the Bay. Manzanita is an idyllic road-trip stop on the way to the neighboring Cannon Beach or Pacific City.

The quiet town with an expansive beach is perfect for a peaceful year-round respite from the crowds while immersing in serene pursuits. Nature lovers enjoy meandering amidst towering pine trees, while yoga studios in town offer a thematic way to achieve true zen. The charming downtown is home to an organic grocery market and cute coffee shops. For the best evening spent, the Manzanita Winery Wine Bar serves state-famed wine in a cozy environment with fire pits right next to the ocean.


Cityscape at the Silver creek at the city of Silverton, Oregon
Cityscape at the Silver creek in the city of Silverton, Oregon. Image credit Laurens Hoddenbagh via Shutterstock

Only fifteen miles east of the state's capital of Salem, the affectionately-nicknamed "Garden City" demands a visit. It is a spectacular small town full of perennial attractions and nature pursuits without leaving the green premises. Although fewer crowds know about this gem, Silverton exemplifies the state's growing appeal with popular attractions such as The Oregon Garden, home to 80 beautifully-landscaped acres of botanic marvels. It is open year-round for some peaceful time with nature amidst scenery and smells and includes a Children's Garden and Pet-Friendly Garden.

There are several events at the garden throughout the year, such as the renowned Art in the Garden during summer, with local works displayed. The expansive outdoor Silver Falls State Park is nearby, with streaming waters and the nationally-recognized "Trail of Ten Falls". There is the 177-foot South Falls at the focal point, as well as the through-running Silver Creek. The adjacent downtown area is home to cozy coffee shops, local cafes, and restaurants, as well as many enticing places for a good night's rest.


Oregon Coast Highway 101 winding through town of Yachats at the Central Oregon Coast.
Oregon Coast Highway 101 winds through the town of Yachats. Image credit Manuela Durson via Shutterstock

Pronounced "Yah-hots," the speck on the map along the central Oregon coast is a fun town for an excellent weekend escape. The friendly community boasts the state's best-rugged beauty tucked in between the coast and sprawling Siuslaw National Forest. You are bound to get sucked into enjoying the slower pace of life through bountiful laidback pursuits for each day. There are hiking trails and bike paths around town with wonderful attractions on the way and outlets into amazing scenery all around. While you are in the area, you must explore the hauntingly-beautiful Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.

The Amanda's Trail section of the Oregon Coast Trail runs through Yachats. It is a favorite local outlet to meander through the forest and a destination for tourists on a state-wide hike with amazing viewpoints. Oregon's wild coastline is just as it would appear in the mind's eye, worth lingering for. The town's streets brim with attractions and amenities such as Luna Sea for the best fish and chips on the coast, or the Bread and Roses for renowned baked goods.

These Oregon towns are wildly-underrated. They are home to locals adamant about enjoying a slower pace of life amidst scenic vibes, delectable seafood cuisine, and attractions for all tastes. The relaxing and refreshing respite is easy on the eyes and wallet to lighten the soul on a getaway from the city.

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