9 Most Scenic Small Towns in Oregon

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Oregon is full of natural landscapes of beautiful mountains, endless coastlines, and national parks. Offering real feasts for the eyes, these nine towns are the most scenic in the state.

Astoria

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

The quaint little seaside beauty of Astoria is one of the oldest settlements west of the Rockies that must be visited for a behind-the-scenes look at the 1985 classic, The Goonies, filmed there. Located on the border of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River in the far northwest of the state, Astoria combines classic Victorian era with maritime charm that resonates in the endless water views, the historic forts and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The city can cater to all interests, tastes and pursuits with numerous museums revealing the city’s rich history, an eclectic range of shopping opportunities and fresh seafood galore. There is the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Captain George Flavel House Museum, and the Oregon Film Museum. There is also the Astoria River Trolley 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 shops, while Fort Stevens State Park is known for its excellent beach access and the site of the Peter Iredale shipwreck.

baker town

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

Located near the remarkable Oregon Trail, the “Base Camp for Eastern Oregon” is known for an incredibly scenic exterior, where the Snake River carves through Hells Canyon to the east. The epic river gorge is one of the deepest in the country, presenting a prime spot for hiking, trekking, rock climbing, backpacking, and white-water rafting on the Snake River. Baker City also has several cultural attractions and traditions, such as the remarkable Glacier 45 vodka distillery, a small Chinese cemetery and a historic four-star hotel from 1889. Located downtown, the Geiser Grand Hotel rings with character as a luxurious accommodation which welcomes revered guests. There’s also the Baker Heritage Museum, the Eastern Oregon Museum, as well as the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, which offers a day trip to learn about the area’s mass human migration. One can always opt for a self-guided tour to explore the historic wagon ruts of nearby Farewell Bend State Park.

Barrel range

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

Just an hour and a half from Portland, Cannon Beach offers the most scenic seaside settings in the state. Reflecting Oregon in its truest sense, the authentic little town of less than 2,000 people is best known for the prominent Haystack Rock that towers over the beach. The long scenic stretch of sand decorated with numerous rocks along the Sapphire Sea attracts hundreds of thousands of beachgoers and photographers every year. The asset enjoys the 1.5 mile hike from Ecola Point to Indian Beach, followed by a meal at Cannon’s famous beach gear and public house. Comprising a perfect destination for families or romantic getaways, the awe-inspiring monolith in the picture-postcard environment offers natural wonder, as well as breathtaking pools to explore on the spring tide.

Florence

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

The small town of less than 10,000 people is perched on the Siuslaw River on Oregon’s central coast. A real nirvana for outdoorsy people, the small town of Florence with an impressive coastline comes with stunning natural views 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 exudes historic charm and offers shopping opportunities galore, accommodations and some of the best seafood spots on the entire coast. The city’s unparalleled beach access includes sights like Heceta Head Lighthouse within the city limits and the quintessential Sea Lions Cave nearby. The town sits right on the border with Oregon’s Dunes National Recreation Area for more scenic spots, where the changing landscapes can be explored via sand-crawling vehicles.

Hood River

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

Located in the heart of the epic Columbia River Gorge, the small town of Hood River is packed with action-packed sights. Surrounded by the beautiful natural landscapes of breathtaking mountains and awe-inspiring waterfalls, endless outdoor explorations exist to suit 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 rafting and scenic bike rides. To sip views, one must visit the Marchesi Vineyards and Bare Cellar or join the Hiyu Wine Farm tour with gourmet fare at a sumptuous sit-down dinner. Beer lovers can visit the Full Sail Brewing Company, while the historic downtown area is filled with more than 30 restaurants. Hood River is also known as the windsurfing capital of the world, with tourism and recreational sports as its two mainstays. Dynamic events include the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest in October and the annual Gorge Games.

joseph

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

Located in Eastern Oregon, a town known as America’s Little Switzerland cannot disappoint. The quaint town features lovely shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and boutiques lining the main street, as well as the famous bronze sculptures along the road. The Wallowa Mountains and nearby Wilderness Eagle Cap can satisfy even the most weather-averse outdoorsy types, while Lake Wallowa is an angler’s paradise, known for fish the size of a trophy. The many wet and dry activities include hiking, picnicking and camping on the banks. For more adventure, there’s the jaw-dropping ride on the Wallowa Lake Tram, a four-person tram ride to the summit of Mount Howard, where you can admire the mountain on a microbrew or a glass of wine. One can also visit the Wallowa County Museum and a seasonal farmer’s market, while the best Oktoberfest in the United States takes place in Joseph, as an annual Swiss-Bavarian festival.

Klamath Falls

Lakeside evenings in Klamath Falls, Oregon
Lakeside evenings in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Editorial Credit: KelsWhite / Shutterstock.com

Located in southern Oregon, the quaint town of Klamath Falls offers a purely blissful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Aside from the classic hikes along the river and twisting the river, take the quintessential Sky Lakes Trail for scenery like no other. There is also golf, skating and a canoe trail to satisfy any pursuit taste surrounded by plenty of flora and fauna for nature lovers. The streets of Klamath Falls ring with historic scenery where you have to step into the Creamery Brew Pub & Grill for dinner or refreshing drinks. The city also acts as a base with access to Crater Lake National Park and the Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California, both less than an hour away. Moore Park can satisfy outdoor cravings in the city; Located at the southern end of Upper Klamath Lake, are some fun places to visit within the city limits. Those looking for culture will find the region’s rich history on display at the Klamath County Museum and the Favell Museum.

Silverton

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

Located fifteen miles east of Salem, Silverton is the state capital which is affectionately referred to as Oregon’s Garden City. Behind its nickname, there are many perennial attractions for scenic wonders, such as the famous Oregon Garden. The site includes over 80 acres of beautifully smothered botanical wonderland as a year-round public space with child-friendly and pet-friendly gardens. The generous appeal is also accompanied by Art in the Garden events throughout the summer that please the olfactory senses and double the pleasure for the eyes with local works in a flower-filled environment. The sprawling Silver Falls State Park is known for Nationally Recognized Level streaming waters “Ten Falls Trail”, with the 177ft South Falls focused. Silver Creek flows through Silver Falls State Park for plenty of wet and dry adventures, scenic picnics and walks. Next door, the central area of ​​town comes complete with local shops and restaurants, perfect for viewing and absorbing its true vibe.

sisters

View down Main Street in downtown Sisters, Oregon
View looking down on Main Street in downtown Sisters, Oregon. Editorial credit: Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

The little town of the Sisters is a former military post-return of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, thanks to its incredible natural offerings. Named after the peaks of the Three Sisters Mountains that tower over the buildings and streets to the west, the town is the ultimate getaway for many hikes and activities in the fresh highland air. Hikes of varying difficulty include McKenzie Pass, climbing to Sahalie and Koosah Falls, and a drive through Deschutes National Forest. The city is also known for its Old West appeal, with buildings with western facades and streets full of artistic appeal. The town just called with cute cafes, like the popular sisters brewing company, while the Deschutes Brewery is America’s premier spa brewery for hot, hoppy nirvana.

These small towns call for active and adventurous outdoor enthusiasts to explore their scenic spots. By opening up their vibrant hearts and refreshing surroundings, they guarantee a picturesque respite for an unforgettable getaway.

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