Cannon Beach, Oregon

9 Most Scenic Small Towns In Oregon

Oregon is bountiful with the natural scenery of beautiful mountains, endless coastlines, and National Parks. Offering real feasting for the eyes, these nine towns are the most scenic in the state.


Cityscape view of Astoria, Oregon with the Astoria Megler Bridge and Columbia River
Cityscape view of Astoria, Oregon, with the Astoria Megler Bridge and Columbia River. 

The quaint, small seaside beauty of Astoria is one of the oldest settlements west of the Rockies that one must visit for the behind-the-scenes look at the 1985 classic, The Goonies, filmed there. Set at the border of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River in the far northwest of the state, Astoria combines the classic of the Victorian era with the maritime charm that resonates in the endless water vistas, historic forts, and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The town can meet any interest, taste, and pursuit with many museums revealing the town's rich history, an eclectic array of shopping opportunities, and fresh seafood galore. There's the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Captain George Flavel House Museum, and the Oregon Film Museum. There's also the Astoria Riverfront Trolly along the waterway, as well as many festivals throughout the year, such as the Annual Goonies Day in June. The historic downtown lining the Riverfront offers antique streets lined with restaurants and boutiques, while the Fort Stevens State Park is known for excellent beach access and the site of the Peter Iredale shipwreck.

Baker City

Aerial view of Baker City, Oregon on a hazy day
Aerial view of Baker City, Oregon, on a hazy day. 

Set close to the remarkable Oregon Trail, the "base camp for Eastern Oregon" is known for incredibly scenic outdoors, where the Snake River carves through Hells Canyon to the east. The epic river gorge is one of the country's deepest, presenting a prime spot for hiking, trekking, climbing, backpacking, and white-water rafting on the Snake River. Baker City also boasts several cultural attractions and traditions, such as the notable Glacier 45 vodka distillery, a tiny Chinese cemetery, and a historic four-star hotel from 1889. Set focally in the downtown, the Geiser Grand Hotel rings with character as a luxurious accommodation that welcomes revered guests. There's also the Baker Heritage Museum, the Eastern Oregon Museum, along with the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, which offers a day trip to learn about the area's massive human migration. One can always opt out for a self-guided tour to explore the historic wagon ruts at the nearby Farewell Bend State Park.

Cannon Beach

A view of the city of Cannon Beach, Oregon
A view of the city of Cannon Beach, Oregon. 

Just an hour and a half from Portland, Cannon Beach offers the most scenic seaside locale in the state. Reflecting Oregon in its truest sense, the small authentic town with under 2,000 population count is most famous for the prominent Haystack Rock dominating the beach. The long scenic sand stretch decorated with many rocks along the sapphire sea attracts hundreds of thousands of beach-lovers and photographers each year. The active enjoy trekking the 1.5-mile hike from the Ecola Point to the Indian beach, followed by a meal at the renowned Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House. Comprising a perfect destination for families or romantic getaways, the impressive monolith in the postcard surroundings provides a natural wonder, along with the stunning pools to explore on the spring tide. 


Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence, Oregon
Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence, Oregon.

The small town of under 10,000 inhabitants is perched scenically on the Siuslaw River, on the central Oregon Coast. A true nirvana for the outdoor people, the little town of Florence with an impressive coastline comes with mind-blowing natural vistas of the ocean and sand dunes, as well as the scenic beach-bound Hobbit Trail. The Old Town district next to the Siuslaw River Bridge emanates historic charm and provides a galore of shopping opportunities, accommodations, and some of the best seafood places on the whole coast. The town's unmatched beach access includes sites like Heceta Head Lighthouse within city limits and the quintessential Sea Lions Cave nearby. The town lies right at the border with the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for more scenic sights, where one can explore the shifting landscapes via sand-crawling vehicles. 

Hood River

Mount Hood and Hood River City in Oregon
Mount Hood and Hood River City in Oregon. 

Set in the heart of the epic Columbia River Gorge, the small town of Hood River comes brimful with vibrant sights. Surrounded by the magnificent natural scenery of breathtaking mountains and awe-inspiring waterfalls, endless outdoor explorations exist to meet any skill level. Known for an ideal climate with less rain than any other place in the state, one can climb Mount Hood or hike the many scenic trails. The river offers excellent water-rafting and scenic cycling along. For some sipping within views, one must visit the Marchesi Vineyards and the Naked Winery or partake in the Hiyu Wine Farm's tour with gourmet fare at a lavish-seated dinner. The beer fans can tour the Full Sail Brewing Company, while the historic downtown comes brimful with over 30 restaurants. Hood River is also known as the windsurfing capital of the world, with tourism and recreation sports as its two mainstays. The vibrant events include the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest in October and the Annual Gorge Games.


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

Set in eastern Oregon, a town that is known as the Little Switzerland of America cannot disappoint. The scenic town comes with cute stores, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops lining the Main Street, along with the famous bronze sculptures along the road. The Wallowa Mountains and Eagle Cap Wilderness nearby can satisfy the cravings of even the most-weathered outdoors people, while the Wallowa Lake is a real fishermen's paradise, known for trophy-sized fish. The many wet and dry activities include hiking, picnicking, and camping on the banks. For more adventures, there's the breathtaking ride on the Wallowa Lake Tramway, a four-person tram car ride to the top of Mount Howard, where one can take in mountain views over a microbrew or a glass of wine. One can also visit the Wallowa County Museum and a seasonal farmers market, while the best Oktoberfest in the States takes place in Joseph, as the annual Swiss-Bavarian festival.

Klamath Falls

Evenings by the lake in Klamath Falls, Oregon
Evenings by the lake in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Editorial credit: KelsWhite /

Set in southern Oregon, the scenic town of Klamath Falls offers a purely blissful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Aside from the classic hikes along the river and boat-touring the river, one must take the quintessential Sky Lakes Trail for scenery like no other. There's also golf, skating, and a canoe trail to satisfy any taste of pursuit set surrounded by many flora and fauna for nature lovers. The streets of Klamath Falls ring with historical scenery where one must come into the Creamery Brew Pub & Grill for a dinner or refreshing drinks. The town also acts as a base with access to the Crater Lake National Park and Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California, both within an hour's drive. Moore Park can satisfy the cravings for the outdoors right in-town; set on the south end of Upper Klamath Lake, are fun places to visit within city limits. Those seeking culture will find the region's rich history displayed at the Klamath County Museum and The Favell Museum.


Two people taking selfie photos in front of South Falls at Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, Oregon
Two people are taking selfie photos in front of South Falls at Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, Oregon. Editorial credit: Bob Pool /

Set fifteen miles east of Salem, Silverton is the state capital that is affectionately called Oregon's Garden City. Standing behind its moniker, there are many perennial attractions for scenic wonders, such as the renowned Oregon Garden. The site comprises over 80 acres of beautifully-landscaped botanic marvels as a year-round open public space with children and pet-friendly gardens. The bountiful appeal also comes with Art in the Garden events throughout summer that please olfactory senses and double the eye candy with local works in blooming surroundings. The extensive Silver Falls State Park is known for the streaming waters of the nationally recognized "Trail of Ten Falls," with the focally-set 177-foot South Falls. The Silver Creek runs through the Silver Falls State Park for wet and dry adventure galore, scenic picnics, and strolls. Right next to it, the town's central area comes with local shops and restaurants, great for people-watching and absorbing its true vibe.


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

The tiny town of Sisters is a former military post-turned one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, thanks to its unbelievable natural offerings. Named after the Three Sisters Mountain peaks towering over the buildings and streets to the west, the town is the ultimate getaway for many hikes and activities in the fresh air of the highlands. The hikes of various difficulties include the McKenzie Pass, climbing up to Sahalie and the Koosah Falls, and a stroll through the Deschutes National Forest. The town is also known for the Wild West appeal, with buildings featuring western facades and streets brimful of artsy appeal. The in-town comes calling with cute cafes, such as the popular Sisters Brewing Company, while the Deschutes Brewery is America's first spa brewery for a hot, hoppy nirvana.

These small towns call the active and adventurous outdoor people to explore their scenically-drenched locales. By opening up their vibrant hearts and refreshing surroundings, they guarantee a scenic respite for a getaway of a lifetime. 

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