Best Small Towns In Oregon – Oregon isn’t known for its huge, bustling cities, but instead has miles of coastline, vast forests, towering mountains, beautiful deserts, and charming small towns.
The activities, great food and local wine are endless, all with a perfect backdrop no matter where visitors land. The best way to explore this beautiful natural area is to visit the best small towns in Oregon.
Best Small Towns In Oregon
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This fishing village is the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and has since grown into one of Oregon’s most picturesque coastal towns.
The Victorian-style homes overlook the Columbia River and are beautiful to look at while you explore the local breweries. The many forts and museums are also well worth a visit and there is great seafood when it’s time to sit down for a break.
Brownsville is the perfect spot for history buffs and movie buffs, as this truly small Oregon town has retained most of its original buildings, or at least the original style.
Movie fanatics may know this place from the movie Stand by Me as it was filmed here. The surrounding countryside completes this amazing and beautiful getaway.
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Almost constant winds through the Columbia Gorge create the perfect location for wind sports. Windsurfing in particular, as Hood River has become known as the world capital of windsurfing.
Along with other outdoor activities in the area including hiking and skiing, this is the perfect place to visit due to its close proximity to Mount Hood and the Columbia River.
Sitting on one of Oregon’s most photographed landscapes, this small town is home to a handful of shops and a stunning beachfront setting. In fact, seven miles of sandy beach!
There’s little more than a grocery store, bookstores, and a few restaurants, but it’s still worth checking out as Manzanita is quiet and peaceful.
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Six covered bridges dot this small town, making it the covered bridge capital of the west. These beautiful bridges are rarely seen west of the Mississippi.
Hiking, cycling and horse riding are also possible in the area. In the city center there are many historic buildings and fantastic shopping opportunities such as galleries, cafes and shops.
This beautiful town at the entrance to the Columbia Gorge is perfect for strolling around and exploring all the little shops and restaurants. The buildings are beautifully historic as the city captures its history in the many murals covering the downtown buildings.
Because it’s on the east side of Mount Hood, the sun is almost always shining, creating a beautiful and relaxing experience.
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Founded in 1899, this once rough logging town has blossomed into a perfect and beautiful small town in Oregon.
There are also a variety of cheese makers and chocolatiers to sample local treats and take some home. There is a surprising number of tasting rooms to choose from within just a few blocks.
This slightly larger town sits right on one of Oregon’s most famous stretches of beach of the same name.
Visitors come from all over to walk, hike, bike, and take photos, and Cannon Beach is an essential stop on a road trip along the Oregon Coast.
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The tide pools are particularly interesting as there is always a volunteer there protecting the natural monument and providing interesting information.
Be aware that coastal weather can be unpredictable with foggy, cool weather one day and sunny, warm weather the next.
Nestled between the Oregon sand dunes and on the coast, this town is so small it has no traffic lights.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to enjoy here; Antique shops, restaurants and an art gallery make up the small shop windows. The food here is classic Northwestern and well done.
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The dunes surrounding the city offer the opportunity for some exciting sports, including four wheel driving. The nearby beach is the perfect place to build a sandcastle or soak up the sun.
Most will know this name as a dairy brand for milk, cheese and ice cream. It is also the name of one of the prettiest small towns in Oregon, home to the company’s headquarters and factory.
The town is cute with great food and shopping, but the biggest draw is the factory. Great cheese and ice cream are available from the shop and come from the cows you see in the nearby fields.
This place is for Pinot Noir lovers as this small town is right in the heart of the Willamette Valley and wine and beer tasting rooms abound.
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For something more out there, the city also has a space museum, recognizable by the Boeing 747 resting on top. Bring a bathing suit as there is a water slide in the large building. The annual UFO Festival is also a must-see.
While most come here for hiking, skiing, fishing, or camping, what most don’t realize is that you can end the day with some shopping and a soak at a beer spa.
This historic small town has retained its old gold rush architecture and created a beautiful atmosphere for the many tasting rooms and shops that make up one of Oregon’s premier small towns.
The most popular attraction, however, is the annual outdoor summer concerts held here called the Britt Fest, which has attracted some big-name artists in the past.
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Known for its 10 waterfalls that are easily accessible from the city limits, there is also a large botanical garden and a historic Oregon White Oak tree that the city was originally built around.
The town itself captures its history through many beautiful murals, see how many you can spot while exploring the shops. Silver Falls State Park is also nearby for outdoor adventurers.
The beautiful Oregon city of Enterprise is the perfect stopover when exploring nearby Hells Canyon, one of the deepest canyons on earth.
The city itself hosts many bronze works of art and is becoming a center for bronze art. A historic lodge on Wallowa Lake is the perfect place for a peaceful overnight or extended stay.
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Pendleton is known for its textiles, so be sure to pick up some local shirts or blankets when you’re in town.
This is also the perfect place to experience a bit of the Wild West, as traditional rodeo events are often held.
The biggest attraction are the annual events like the Pendleton Round-up, parades and the Pow Wow Dance Competition.
Devils Turn is to the north, a cove carved by years of waves crashing into soft rock. To the south is Thor’s Well, a huge hole that sucks seawater into the deep abyss.
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Life-size bronze statues line the sidewalks as you explore the galleries, shops, and restaurants of Joseph, one of Oregon’s most beautiful cities.
A cute little Oregon town, Florence is often a stop on the way to play in the nearby sand dunes of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
It’s also close to the coast, so the sea lion caves, the beach and a lighthouse are nearby for a day of fun activities. Lots of great shops and restaurants line the streets for a more relaxed option.
The terminus for many travelers on the Oregon Trail is now a destination for history buffs.
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Museums house artifacts and replica wagons, the type of wagons that formed the authentic ruts outside the museum.
Grants Pass is a popular spot as it is known as the state’s whitewater rafting capital due to the Rogue River running right through town.
After an exciting day on the water, historic downtown offers a range of activities, including a soda fountain and live theater.
Newport is a bit bigger than some of the cute little Oregon towns that have clustered here, but worth a stop for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which has underwater walkways and a seabird aviary.
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Other great stops include the Yaquina Bay Bridge and Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The city also has wonderful seafood and shops along downtown.
This quaint town near California is best known for its annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which has been held for over 80 years.
The city also lies at the foot of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges and offers many outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and horseback riding.
A perfect place for a quiet getaway as this sleepy town is relaxing without skimping on activities.
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There is a golf course, boat tours and an ice skating rink. Beautiful hiking and cycling opportunities are also available in the area for more peace and quiet.
Surprisingly walkable and bike-friendly, this small town is tucked away in the basalt cliffs along the Columbia Gorge.
The area offers unique walking and cycling routes with rewarding views of the cliffs and the surrounding area.
The town itself has some great dining options and tastings, both wine and cider, and the variety and number of things to do make it one of the top small towns in Oregon!
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