Oregon’s Top 5 Winter Towns

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Whether you’re looking for a skiing adventure or a counterculture getaway, these towns are our top five picks for winter destinations in Oregon.

Sunriver: Skiing and Entertainment

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Sunriver Resort

Originally constructed as a resort destination in 1969, Sunriver has grown into a community with a year-round population of 1,400. Nestled among the trees at the base of Mt. Bachelor, the snow that usually stays throughout the winter months provides an idyllic winter atmosphere. In the village, families can test out their skating skills at the outdoor ice rink, then warm up with a warm cider or hot chocolate at Goody’s or one of the nearby cafes and bakeries. The village also has many local shops to explore, including places to rent snow equipment if you didn’t bring your own. Adventure lovers have close access to Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo ski areas, while those who are more interested in the just playing in the snow can choose one of the many snow parks on the mountain.

Where to eat

Sunriver Brewing Co. | 57100 Beaver Dr. | sunriverbrewingcompany.com

Village Bar & Grill | 57100 Beaver Dr. | sunrivervbag.com

Where to stay

Sunriver Resort | sunriver-resort.com

 

Ashland: Counterintuitive

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While Ashland is known for hosting the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the city offers plenty to experience in the winter. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Ashland hosts the annual Festival of Light, with a parade and live music performances throughout the season as well as an outdoor skating rink. If you are looking for alpine adventures, local ski destination Mt. Ashland offers twilight skiing on weekend nights, though snow has been tougher to come by in recent years. When you’re done playing in the snow, there are three craft breweries and seven local wineries and vineyards in the city. If you’re there in February, you can also catch a play, since OSF’s season begins that month.

Where to eat

Deux Chats Bakery | 222 A St. | deuxchats.com

Swing Tree Brewery | 300 E Hersey St. #7 | swingtreebrewing.com

Where to stay

Green Springs Inn & Cabins | 11470 OR-66 | greenspringsinn.com

 

Baker City: My Own Private Oregon

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Baker County Tourism-basecampbaker.com

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort is farther afield (for most people) than other Oregon ski resorts such as Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor, but that just means you won’t have to battle the crowds to enjoy the slopes. The one-chairlift resort has the highest base elevation of the state at 7,100 feet, and it’s less than an hour away from Baker City, another favorite winter destination. The charming Eastern Oregon town of around 10,000 people is on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the best ways to view the whole town is to catch a sleigh ride that takes you through the historic district.

Where to eat

Lone Pine Café | 1825 Main St. | facebook.com/The-Lone-Pine-Cafe

Paizano’s | 2940 10th St. | paizanospizza.com

Where to stay

Best Western Sunridge Inn | One Sunridge Lane | book.bestwestern.com

 

Depoe Bay: Coastal Cozy

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photo by Ron Miller | ronmiller.com

Oregonians don’t skip out on the beach just because it’s winter. One of our favorite coastal getaways is Depoe Bay, known as the capitol of whale watching on the coast. It’s also known as the world’s smallest navigable harbor. In late December and early January, you’ll have the best chance of spotting whales as they migrate south along the coast. At the height of seafood season, winter is the perfect time to try the fresh catch at local restaurants. When you want to warm up, Depoe Bay also has art galleries to explore.

Where to eat

Tidal Raves Seafood Grill | 279 NW US-101 | tidalraves.com

Side Door Café | 6675 Gleneden Beach Loop, Gleneden Beach | sidedoorcafe.com

Where to stay

Whale Cove Inn | 2345 US-101 | whalecoveinn.com

 

Joseph: Outback Extreme

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josephoregon.com

Joseph is most often visited in the summer, but the small Eastern Oregon town is just as wonderful as a winter destination. Eagle Cap is Oregon’s largest wilderness area, with 556 square miles to explore by Nordic skiing. One of the best times to visit is at the end of January, when the community hosts the Eagle Cap Extreme, a dog-sledding competition that is also a qualifying race for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest. Enterprise is a ten-minute drive from Joseph and is home to a community ice rink. Skating is free, and local businesses rent out ice skates if you didn’t bring your own. If your family is new to skiing, the Ferguson Ski Area is a fun place to learn and close to the town. Spend the morning in the snow, and then head back into town for a warm lunch.

Where to eat

Old Towne Café | 8 S Main St. | facebook.com/oldtownecafejoseph

Where to stay

Wallowa Lake Lodge | 60060 Wallowa Lake Hwy | wallowalakelodge.com


Corrections:

A previous version of this article stated: “Eagle Cap is Oregon’s largest wilderness area, with 556 square miles to explore by Nordic skiing or snowmobiling.” Snowmobiling is prohibited in designated wilderness areas. We apologize for the error.

A previous version of this article listed Vali’s Alpine Restaurant and Delicatessen in Joseph in the “Where to eat” guide. The restaurant is closed during the winter months. We apologize for the error.

8 Comments

  • Best place for breakfast and lunch is where all the locals eat which is the Cheyenne Cafe. You will get your money's worth and if you leave hungry it's your own fault.

  • Two points about Joseph:

    1. No snowmobiling in wilderness areas.
    2. Quit telling people about Joseph in the winter. We like keeping it to ourselves 🙂

  • Since you mentioned Enterprise anyway, the best food places are here. Thai Enterprise, Happy Garden serve Asian foods that are great. Lears and the Red Rooster are high end breakfast places also. It is gorgeous here year round. Shhhh

  • I have to disagree with Richard, I feel the more business we can bring to our small town in the winter, the better.
    Old Town Cafe, and Cheyenne Cafe, are both wonderful places for breakfast and lunch. Ember's Brewhouse is an excellent place to warm up after you've been out skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling all day.

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