9 Charming Small Towns in Oregon

The coastal state of Oregon is a beautiful place to visit during any time of year, coming inclusive with mountain vistas, endless sea views, national parks, and forests to explore. Any type of scenic escape, including seeing many of nature's wonders, can be attained by visiting these charming highlights in Oregon.

Astoria

Astoria oregon
Cityscape view of Astoria, Oregon.

Set near the Columbia River, the pretty town of Astoria was built over two centuries ago as Fort Astoria by a wealthy New York investor, John Jacob Astoria. It is known for its postcard-like surroundings and stately Victorian homes. The quaint town can suit any interest with its picturesque trails and forest walks, to the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Heritage Museum. The town also borders the Pacific Ocean, with many great restaurants by the pier to choose from that serve delectable seafood. The Fort Stevens State Park with beach access and the Peter Iredale shipwreck on display makes for a fun time spent with family. Described as atmospheric, community-bound, and possessing a unique character, it is no wonder that the town was the setting for the 1985 classic American movie, The Goonies.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach oregon
Cannon Beach, Oregon.

The stunning scenery of the jagged coastline with secluded coves, tidal pools, and lighthouses is charming during the morning mist when the sun lays its first rays of warmth upon the town that is one of the most photographed in the Pacific Northwest region. Laid-back with a beach town vibe, Cannon Beach comes with an array of art galleries, boutiques, and distilleries, as well as the famous natural landmark, the Haystack Rock. The massive monolith, set offshore, is a nature's nuisance that teases the eye and provides stunning tide pools to explore. Set on the northern Oregon coast, Cannon Beach receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year for its expansive shorelines and to be inspired among the atmospheric seaside landscape.

Florence

Florence, oregon
Beautiful view of Siuslaw River Bridge and the river in historic old town Florence, Oregon, USA.

A short drive south from Yachats along the Oregon Coast where it meets the Siuslaw River, the "Oregon's Coastal Playground" offers appealing access to the ocean and an impressive coastline with unforgettable ocean and natural vistas, such as the miles of sand dunes. There are also the Sea Lion Caves to explore the shifting landscapes, a postcard-worthy Heceta Head Lighthouse to Instagram, and a Hobbit Trail to hike, while the famous Oregon Dunes National Recreation area is best traversed by sand-crawling vehicles. Best shopping and seafood feats can be scavenged at The Old Town district and the Siuslaw River Bridge, and the local Waterfront Depot Restaurant is one of the most popular eateries.

Hood River

Hood River, Oregon
View of Hood River in Oregon.

A nature lover's paradise, the small town of Hood River is set so optimally from a geographic standpoint that it receives lower amounts of rain than any other town around. The mild climate makes any day perfect for exploring the wondrous outdoors through trekking, biking, water sports, and even skiing during winter. Some of the most impressive natural sites include the Cascade Range and the Columbia River Gorge, perfect for outdoor adventurers, with the latter containing the best waterfalls in Oregon. The Hiyu Wine Farm is known for its highly-demanded gourmet fare and tours, including luxury dinners. Over 30 restaurants in town, and ample wineries and orchards in the vicinity, will please any palate and budget.

Joseph

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

With the Wallowa Mountains as its backdrop, the little town of Joseph is often referred to as "Oregon's Little Switzerland," also hosting the Swiss-Bavarian carnival. Oktoberfest's doppelganger, the carnival includes endless beer, alpenhorn, and yodeling. Set in eastern Oregon on the Wallowa Lake, known for its trophy-sized fish, one can choose from the variety of activities at the Eagle Cap Wilderness hikes to discover the marvelous natural vistas through outdoor pursuits. In town, there is a gear outfitters store to prepare for wet or dry active time-spent, the Wallowa County Museum for more in-depth information about the region, and a seasonal farmers market. The Wallowa Lake Tramway offers scenic rides in four-person tram cars to the top of Mount Howard. From there, breathtaking views can be absorbed along with a glass of wine or a full meal at a terraced restaurant.

Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Oregon
Sunset by the lake in Klamath Falls. Editorial credit: KelsWhite / Shutterstock.com

The favorable location of the gorgeous and sunny Klamath Falls town is proximate to the famous Crater Lake and Mt. Shasta. Known as Linkville in its early logging town days, Klamath Falls is perfect for getting away from the steel into nature. It offers 300 days of sunshine for hiking along the river, bird watching in Wood River Wetland, and exploring one of the many trails, such as the Lakes Trail. Despite its name, the waterfall of the town, called the Link River Falls, composes 115-foot falls with sightseeing all around. One can rent a boat for a scenically different perspective, partake in a historical walk, or in a quaint Trolley ride to reminisce about the bygone era along the Oregon Trail. The Moore Park is a popular city park filled with activities for the whole family, while the picturesque Crater Lake, made from a collapsed volcano's crater thousands of years ago, is known as the most beautiful and unique natural spot in the state. 

Silverton

Silverton, oregon
Cityscape at the Silver creek at the city of Silverton.

Silverton, set on Hwy. 213 close to Salem, is known for its gardens reputation and being the historical gateway to Silver Falls State Park. The Trail of Ten Falls gives way to a 177-foot waterfall accessible from behind. The tree-lined neighborhoods with quaint homes lead to the heart of the town, full of various art galleries to suit any taste, artistic murals, fragrant gardens, and popular pubs. The Oregon Garden of over 80 acres contains all kinds of beautiful botanic landscapes open year-round to the public, along with its Children's Garden and a Pet-Friendly Garden. Local artists' works complement the natural blooming attractions during the summertime's Art in the Garden days.

Sisters

Sisters, Oregon
A view looking down the main street in downtown Sisters. Editorial credit: Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

With the Deschutes National Forest as a backdoor to the town and the nearby mountains as its backdrop, it is hard to imagine a more idyllic mountain environment. Set on the Cascade Mountains' eastern flanks in central Oregon, the geographic location at the border of the state's high-desert region offers sunny weather throughout the year, perfect for adventures. The country-spanning Pacific Crest Trail runs through the wilderness, while the Three Sisters volcanic peaks standing erect at the center of the forest are the first thing to notice. Aside from hiking, the Smith Rock State Park in the high desert area offers a year-round opportunity to climb 2,000 bolted routes suited to any level. The cute town itself sports an early 19th-century facade, with amusements, restaurants, boutique shops, and art galleries.

Yachats

Yachats, oregon
Yachats, Oregon.

Pronounced "Yah-hots," the name that comes from the Chinook word meaning "dark water at the foot of the mountain," describes the town to a "t" being a coastal enclave wedged between the famed Devil's Churn and Thor's Well. Set on the central Oregon coast, Yachats is a splendid combination of intense natural beauty and a modern center. Filled with galleries of Native American artworks, gift shops, and seafood restaurants, the Green Salmon Coffee Company is a powerful fuel-house for those wishing to continue with more activities, serving fair-trade coffee and vegan goodies. With the rugged coast to one side and the sprawling Siuslaw National Forest to the other, the hiking and biking opportunities are endless while also being proximate to the popular hiking destination, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. 

The state's coastal location is complemented by its lovely small towns brimming with fascinating discoveries and many attractions to suit any taste. Upon visiting one of these adorable small towns, one would be left with profound historical and natural knowledge, have done a ton of exploration, and left with a long-time sense of tranquility upon basking on one of the beaches.

Share