Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast, USA.

Oregon's Best Small Towns for a Weekend Escape

Oregon's small towns are mostly coastal gems in the Pacific Northwest, laid-back and gorgeous, attracting vacationers and retreat seekers across all seasons. But they are not all about the Pacific Ocean; these towns occupy different landscapes, including foothills of mountains and shores of lakes. With incredible untainted natural scenery, authentic cultures, tranquility, history, and a friendly atmosphere, these towns are ideal for a weekend getaway. Whether visitors decide to bask on the beaches of Cannon Beach and Yachats, boat in Hood River, or admire the falls in Silverton, a weekend can always be exciting. Check out these 11 best small towns in Oregon for a weekend of pleasant indulgences.


View along Third Avenue, Mosier, Oregon, USA.

View along Third Avenue, Mosier, Oregon, USA. By Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Mosier is one of the smallest towns in Oregon, with around 430 residents, but don’t be discouraged. The town lies along the Columbia River, which offers incredible scenery and adventures. Once here, visitors can begin by biking or hiking on the Mosier Twin Tunnels, a 4.5-mile paved trail overlooking the Columbia River Highway and waterfront. Next, head to the Mosier Creek Falls through a one-mile round-trip trail from downtown. The trail leads to a scenic viewpoint that offers stunning vistas of the 100-foot falls, and visitors can swim in a swimming hole in the area on hot days. For history buffs, unwind at Totem Plaza downtown and admire the 29-foot totem pole that reflects elements of the town’s history in its design. Enjoy lunch afterward at La Vaquita Taqueria. For classic accommodation alongside dining, head to the Mosier House Bed and Breakfast or Best Western Plus Hood River Inn.


Main street view in downtown Sisters, Oregon.

Main street view in downtown Sisters, Oregon. Editorial credit: Bob Pool /

Named after the Three Sisters Mountains and Wilderness Area, this town is an adventure paradise in summer. Hikers and bikers especially will be thrilled as there are lots of trails for all skill levels. The South Sister Trail (12 miles) and Peterson Ridge Trail (25 miles) are some of the top trails in town, and each offers incredible views of the town and its surroundings. In town, visitors are welcome to relax at Sisters Inn & Suites or Best Western Ponderosa Lodge and then savor tongue-stunning meals afterward at the Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill. Art lovers can stroll along the Hood Avenue Art District and stop at Raven Makes and Hood Avenue Art for a satisfying art experience.

Cottage Grove

Arched sign across East Main Street, Cottage Grove Historic District, Cottage Grove, Oregon, USA.

Cottage Grove Historic District, Oregon, USA. Editorial credit: Ian Dewar Photography /

Cottage Grove stands out for its covered bridges, making it the Covered Bridge Capital of the West, notably Dorena, Stewart, Chambers, and Currin Covered Bridges. Additionally, under these bridges are water bodies such as Row River, Cottage Grove Lake, and Dorena Lake to explore. The Row River even has a 14-mile national recreational trail for hikers and bikers. It begins from the downtown historic district and runs along the scenic river and Dorena Lake. The town is also historic and features several museums, including Cottage Grove Museum, Bohemia Gold Mining Museum, and Oregon Aviation Historical Society & Museum. Meanwhile, sensational dining is always available at Stacy's Covered Bridge Restaurant, while great accommodations are available at Cottage Grove Inn or City Center Motel.

Klamath Falls

Evening by the lake, Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA.

Evening by the lake, Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA. Editorial credit: KelsWhite /

Klamath Falls is a desert-landscape town on the southeastern shores of Upper Klamath Lake, perfect for weekend escapes year round. A paradise for history lovers, this town is home to several historic focal points, such as the Klamath County Museum, Fort Klamath Museum, Baldwin Hotel Museum, and Favell Museum. These museums preserve and reflect the county’s rich history and heritage and are worth visiting. More historical attractions in the town include the Oregon Bank Building and the William’s Building, both featuring stunning architecture dating back to the 1920s when Klamath Falls was a booming timber town. When it comes to nature and the outdoors, the Klamath River, Link River, Klamath Lake, and Lake Ewauna are great water bodies in town for paddling, boating, canoeing, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking, and sightseeing. For a more immersive experience in nature, hike the 3.4-mile Link River Nature Trail that leads to Klamath Falls, where the town got its name. Since it's the weekend, visit the Klamath Falls Farmers Market to shop for local crafts and enjoy the local food on display. For prime accommodations, head to Best Western Plus Olympic Inn or Fair Field Inn and Suites.


Siuslaw River Bridge and river view in historic Old Town Florence, Oregon, USA.

Siuslaw River Bridge and river view in historic Old Town Florence, Oregon, USA.

Florence is a magnificent town at the mouth of the Siuslaw River on the Pacific Ocean, which is perfect for a coastal weekend getaway. Here, visitors can spend the entire weekend exploring coastal attractions like the 56-foot Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves, home to sea lions. Additionally, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is just south of the town and beckons visitors to roam its miles of powdery, adorable dunes all weekend. For history buffs, the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is an ideal destination to explore a bygone era as it hosts interesting artifacts and exhibits of pioneers. Hospitality-wise, Florence features excellent accommodations like Driftwood Shores Resort and Best Western Pier Point Inn, as well as amazing restaurants like 1285 Restobar and the Waterfront Depot Restaurant.


Building in Silverton, Oregon, USA.

Silverton, Oregon, USA. Editorial credit: Laurens Hoddenbagh /

Silverton is a charming beauty along Silver Creek, and just one weekend is never enough to enjoy all its attractions. Regardless, begin by exploring the 80-acre Oregon Garden, featuring over 20 breathtaking gardens and Gordon House - the only house in Oregon designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd. Next, head to the nearby Silver Falls State Park, the largest park in the state, centered around its numerous waterfalls. While in the park, check out South Falls - the highest and most attractive falls in the area at 177 feet. More interesting attractions in town to visit include the Lunaria Gallery, which features interesting contemporary art, and the Silverton Country Historical Society Museum, where the town’s history is preserved and interpreted. For delicious treats, visit the Gallon House or Magnolia Grill, and spend the weekend at Silverton Inn & Suites or Oregon Garden Resorts.


East First Street, Joseph, Oregon.

East First Street, Joseph, Oregon. By Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Joseph is a small, quaint town formerly known as Silver Lake in Wallowa County, with a scenic and serene atmosphere that lures retreat seekers. A weekend here can be spent at the nearby Wallowa Lake State Park, where the Wallowa Lake sets the stage for boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking with views of the Wallowa Mountains. For more thrills, visitors are invited to ride the Wallowa Lake Tramway to Mount Howard for awe-inspiring views of Wallowa Valley. Afterward, delve into history at the Wallowa County Museum, which preserves the county’s settlement history. For art lovers, visit the Joseph Art Walk on the main street to see seven monumental larger-than-life-sized sculptures made of bronze. Remember to enjoy delectable meals at Embers Brewhouse and spend the nights at some of the best accommodations in town, like the Jennings Hotel and Eagle Cap Chalets.


Liberty Theatre, downtown Astoria, Oregon, USA, a city landmark.

Liberty Theatre, downtown Astoria, Oregon, USA. Editorial credit: BZ Travel /

Astoria is a gorgeous town with a laid-back charm and scenic aura from its location along the Columbia River, where it meets the world's largest and deepest ocean. As the state’s oldest town, it hosts several museums like the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Heritage Museum, and Oregon Film Museum in the old Clatsop County Jail. These museums preserve different aspects of the town’s history, with the Heritage Museum featuring galleries covering the area’s Native American tribes, the town’s founding, and more topics. Astoria also features a Riverfront Trolley, offering a ride along the town’s waterfront and stopping at several historic attractions. The Astoria Riverwalk is another incredible attraction in town, stretching along the waterfront with views of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Astoria is also home to a beautiful downtown with attractions such as Astoria Vintage Hardware (for shopping), and the Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe (for delicious culinary treats). For premium accommodation, head to Hampton Inn & Suites or Cannery Pier Hotel and Spa.


Yachats town on the rugged Oregon coast during a beautiful sunset.

Yachats town on the rugged Oregon coast during a beautiful sunset.

Yachats is a beautiful small town in Lincoln County, along the Pacific coast, with sensational natural attractions and historic charms. Just south of the town, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area beckons visitors for indulgence. This forested headland overlooking the ocean is renowned for its dazzling sights, such as Devil’s Churn, a massive crack on a rock along the coast with waves rushing into it. The area also features Thor’s Well, a sinkhole that swallows the stream of seawater around it. The Smelt Sand State Recreational Site is another incredible attraction in town known for its tidepooling, rock fishing, and whale-watching opportunities. Away from the natural wonders, the Little Log Church and Museum is a historic draw in Yachats, built in the 1930s and housing local exhibits and artworks. The town also features several art galleries like Earthworks, Wave, and Touchstone Galleries, where visitors can appreciate stunning artworks. To make the weekend escape in this town more memorable, head to Overleaf Lodge & Spa or Adobe Resorts for prime accommodations.

Hood River

Sailboats and other watercraft in Hood River Marina, Hood River, Oregon.

Hood River Marina, Oregon. Editorial credit: Bob Pool /

Hood River is a charming town at the confluence of the Hood and Columbia Rivers, with irresistible scenery and adventures to spice up a weekend retreat. Once here, get accommodation at Hampton Inn and Suites, Hood River Hotel, or any other top lodging option in town. Next, enjoy mouth-watering meals at Bette’s Place or Egg River Café and proceed to the Hood River Waterfront Park to enjoy some of the best windsurfing and kiteboarding in America. Take the adventures further by driving the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway and be spoiled with enchanting natural views such as Multnomah Falls. Stop along the highway and capture the stunning vistas of this 620-foot showering beauty, or hike up a short trail to Benson Bridge for more thrilling views. The Fruit Loop is another unique drive here, stretching 35 miles through forests, rolling hills, fruit stands, wineries, and more. For some history, Hood River is home to the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, featuring airplane antiques and over 100 vintage cars.

Cannon Beach

Sandpiper Square shopping center, downtown Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA.

Downtown Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA. Editorial credit: quiggyt4 /

Cannon Beach is a unique town that has gained fame due to its incredible natural features for exploration. This town is home to a scenic shoreline featuring dramatic rock formations like the 237-foot Haystack Rock. Retreat seekers can head to this beach to play with waves, enjoy picnics, boat, swim, catch the sunset, and explore the stunning 237-foot sea stack at low tides. The town also features Ecola State Park, offering trails to Tillamook Head Lighthouse, viewpoints, and picnic areas to relax and snack up. On the historic side, the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is a blast from the past with exhibits, memorabilia, and oral history reflecting the town’s early days. Cannon Beach is also one of America’s best art towns, with galleries such as DragonFire, Bronze Coast, and House of Orange available for exploration. Spend nights of the weekend at Ocean Lodge or Inn at Cannon Beach.

Discover the Hidden Gems of Oregon

Oregon is one of the most underrated states in America, even with all the amazing things it has to offer. This state is nature’s playground, with so many unique natural attractions and miles of coastline bordering most of its towns. Set aside a weekend and escape to the towns in this state, and you’ll be walking into a world of pure happiness full of endless adventures and unique scenery. In these towns, there’s something for everyone from history buffs to outdoor enthusiasts. Come along solo, with friends or family, any time of the year, and discover new paths to happiness in these incredible towns in Oregon.

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