Two brothers at the end of a public beach access path at Cannon Beach, Oregon, with the stunning coastline and Haystack Rock.

8 Most Charming Towns In Oregon

Oregon sits in the western coast of the US, bordering Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California. This 33rd US state is abundant in sweeping views of the Pacific coast, dramatic mountain landscapes, and diverse wildlife, making it an attractive travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Plenty of travelers are well aware of the state's bustling cities like Portland and Salem, but there is also a collection of charming beachside towns and cozy villages that highlights the beauty of The Beaver State.


Hotel Oregon in McMinnville and people walking
Hotel in downtown McMinnville, Oregon.

Discover the warmheartedness of McMinnville, close to Portland and Salem. Sitting in Yamhill County, McMinnville is a foodie's paradise. This community has access to over 220 wineries in Oregon's wine country and a vast collection of eateries serving artisanal and farm-to-table fare. McMinnville is also family-friendly, with fun attractions like the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and the Wings & Waves Waterpark.

Klamath Falls

Evenings by the lake in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
Evenings by the lake in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Image credit KelsWhite via

It's easy reconnecting with nature at Klamath Falls; after all, there's a reason this community was named "Oregon's City of Sunshine." In Southern Oregon, Klamath Falls is known for its proximity to the Crater Lake National Park. Visitors can also bask in the beauty of Klamath Falls while getting some fresh air, and enjoying activities like hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. Or try your hand at riding Oregon's longest zipline here.

Cannon Beach

Overlooking homes at Cannon Beach, and Haystack Rock.
Cannon Beach, and Haystack Rock.

Art and nature live here at Cannon Beach, which sits 90 minutes west of Portland and four hours away from Seattle. This Northwest Oregon community is one of the state's most popular destinations among travelers and vacation seekers. Tourists often visit this quaint town to admire the towering Haystack Rock or the cascading waterfalls at Hug Point. Visitors of Cannon Beach can choose from several experiences to appreciate Cannon Beach, from whale-watching (during the off-season) to perusing through the community's dozens of art galleries.

Hood River

Red Barn in Pear Orchard in Hood River Oregon at Sunset
Red barn in pear orchard in Hood River, Oregon.

Nature enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs can all connect in Hood River, Oregon. Sitting comfortably on the Columbia River, the views in this Oregon town are nothing short of breathtaking. Lucky visitors can enjoy the picturesque scape of Hood River, which features the Hood River Valley and Mt. Hood as its backdrop. Regarded as "the windsurfing capital of the world," this Oregon town is an ideal destination for avid kiteboarders and windsurfers. Simultaneously, it's also close to a collection of fine wineries and is a viable agrotourism destination. Hood River is also full of history, with attractions nearby like the historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, and the Vista House.


The Little Log Church by the Sea, Yachats, Oregon, Built in 1930.
The Little Log Church by the Sea, Yachats, Oregon. Image credit Denise Lett via Shutterstock

Yachats is a state gem, set in the lush temperate rainforests of the Oregon Coastal Range against the rushing waters of the Pacific Ocean. With a name that means "dark water at the foot of the mountain," Yachats landscape includes a coastline with jagged black basalt rocks, towering mountains, and stirring waves. Sandy shores may not line the coast of this quaint and charming town, but its landscape is still grandeur and breathtaking, especially at Cape Perpetua. In town, be sure to check out its local art galleries, boutiques, breweries, and restaurants.


Winter view of Wallowa Mountains and traditional red barn on a cattle ranch near Joseph, Oregon.
Wallowa Mountains and traditional red barn on a cattle ranch near Joseph, Oregon. 

Tucked away in the northeastern tip of Oregon, Joseph is 330 miles from Portland and is comfortably set among the Wallowa Mountains. Whether travelers are artists seeking inspiration or vacation-seekers wanting to venture away from city life, Joseph's cozy, small-town charm makes for a perfect destination. Visitors will be spoiled with views of the Wallowa Mountains, set in a region affectionately named the "Little Switzerland of America." Art and creativity know no bounds at Joseph, which can be appreciated along its Main Street and at local art galleries and shops. Curious travelers can also learn more about local history during their visit, especially about elder Chief Joseph, the leader of the Nez Perce Tribe (and the person the town was named after).


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

Manzanita is Oregon's oceanside village, spoiled with views of the Neahkahnie Mountain and the Nehalem Bay. Travelers looking for a beach vacation in Oregon will easily find it in Manzanita, blessed with a landscape that makes it one of the most photographed destinations in all of Oregon. Outdoor enthusiasts can take their pick and enjoy nature-filled activities like surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, or biking, especially at Oswald West State Park or Nehalem Bay State Park. Travelers can peruse the streets and check out local boutiques, eateries, or seasonal farmers' markets in town.

Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach has seven miles of a sandy shoreline and is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Oregon
Rockaway Beach has seven miles of sandy shoreline and is one of Oregon's most popular vacation destinations.

In Oregon, the beachfront community of Rockaway Beach is an escape from the busy city life, lying between the Coast Mountain Range and 85 miles west of Portland. Travel along Highway 101 to experience small-town charm at Rockaway Beach, a community where the sky, mountains, and sea all meet. Walk along the town's sandy beaches (which continuously stretch for seven miles) or admire the Twin Rocks towering over the area. At Rockaway Beach's several restaurants, travelers can also treat themselves to fresh seafood, specialty delights, and other local fare.

Many travelers flock to Oregon's cities like Portland and Salem to appreciate the state's beauty, but you can also appreciate its ruggedness by visiting its charming small towns and villages!

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