Places to Visit in Oregon in January

Despite the chill, you’ll find a variety of places to visit in Oregon in January. Oregon’s got a ton of awesome places to check out during the winter months. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or a history buff, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for Oregon vacation ideas, January is a great time to escape the crowds. Oregon is the place to be if you enjoy the great outdoors: beaches, National Parks, State Parks, hiking trails, and more!

Places to Visit in Oregon in January

In January you can enjoy snow adventures at Mt. Hood, explore the charming towns of the Central Oregon high desert, or road trip along the Oregon Coast.

The weather in Oregon in January will vary from the coast, inland desert, and mountains. It’s important to know the weather forecast and road conditions for the places you’ll visit in the winter so you’re prepared with the right clothing, gear, and supplies!

Some mountain passes will require chains due to snow conditions. We’ve experienced a scary drive through a blizzard trying to head to the Oregon Coast from the east driving over a few mountain passes!

We’ve compiled this comprehensive list of must-do activities that belong on every Oregon Bucket List: things to see, do and taste all around the state! Grab the free download by clicking the graphic below!

Oregon Bucket List Packet optin
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map of places to visit in Oregon in January

Map of Oregon Vacation Spots in January

Here is a map of January vacation spots in Oregon to help you plan your travel itinerary! Remember that road conditions and travel through the state from location to location could be impacted by weather!

We recommend the Oregon GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the-scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location as you drive through the state!

Places to Visit in Oregon in January

We’ve asked our travel friends to share their favorite destinations in Oregon for the month of January. When visiting Oregon in winter you can enjoy winter snow sports like skiing or snowshoeing, or hiking to see waterfalls in the rainforest, or walks along the beaches on the coast!

thrift shopping in Astoria
Thrift shopping in Astoria

Astoria in January

One of the coolest places to visit in Oregon in January is the quirky coastal town of Astoria! Located in the very northwest part of the state, Astoria borders the Pacific Ocean, Washington State (across the Columbia River) and the Oregon Coastal Range to the east.

Because of its marine climate, it rarely snows here, but you can still expect cold and rainy weather! Come with your favorite pair of rain boots and rain jacket.

During the winter, there is a lot to do in town. From brewery hopping, coffee shops, and local seafood, you can spend an entire weekend in Astoria trying out the local cuisine. Astoria is also known for its antique shops and thrift stores.

Come ready to pick through the piles to find some hidden gems! If you are a movie lover, you can also check out the Oregon Film Museum – there is a ton of memorabilia from iconic movies like The Goonies, Free Willy, and Kindergarten Cop! (Recommended by Emily, The Mandagies)

Places to Stay in Astoria, Oregon

Whiskey Beach
Whiskey Beach, Oregon

Bandon in January

January is a terrific time to explore the Bandon area along the Oregon coast. It’s a fun location to visit in Oregon with kids with lots of ideas to keep your whole family entertained. 

The Oregon State Parks in Bandon are so scenic featuring rocks and sea stacks with cool names like Face Rock and Wizards Hat. A must-do activity are the horse rides along the beach offered by Bandon Beach Riding Stables!

Of course you can’t miss seeing the Coquille River Lighthouse accessed in Bullards Beach State Park. It’s also a fun place to watch surfers near the jetty!

If you have a 4WD vehicle and are experienced driving in sand, we recommend exploring Whiskey Run Beach! Make sure you’re confident with your vehicle’s ability, and your driving ability, before driving on the beach. Towing companies charge $2,000 or more for beach towing! (Recommended by Dave & Jamie, Photo Jeepers)

Places to Stay in Bandon, Oregon

Bend Oregon in the winter
Bend, Oregon in the winter

Bend in January

One of the best places to visit in Oregon in January is Bend, a mid-sized town in Central Oregon. The best way to get to Bend in the winter is flying into their airport in Redmond, Oregon. You can drive from Portland, but the roads can be snowy so I recommend 4 wheel drive.

The town is located on the super scenic Deschutes River and nearby the popular ski area of Mount Bachelor. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, one of the best things to do in Bend in Oregon in the winter is hitting the slopes.

Be sure to check out the amazing Bend breweries and food trucks in town! You can also walk the Deschutes river trail or join a snowshoeing tour. (Recommended By Lauren, The Traveling Moore)

Places to Stay in Bend, Oregon

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach in January

Cannon Beach, along the dramatic Oregon coastline, is an excellent spot for a winter getaway. While January is chilly, it’s also one of the best months to visit, given that almost 20,000 gray whales migrate past its shores for the first half of the month. 

There are plenty of things to do in Cannon Beach, even when it’s not exactly bikini weather out. For example, you can squeeze in a hike during your visit. Oswald West and Ecola State Parks provide a variety of trails that wind through coastal forests and traverse rugged beaches. The parking lot for Ecola is actually considered one of the best places to whale watch in the area, given its high vantage point over the Pacific—so don’t forget to bring along your binoculars!

Of course, no trip would be complete without a visit to the town’s namesake beach. Time your visit during low tide, so that you can walk out to start up at the iconic Haystack Rock, a basalt sea stack that juts 235 feet out of the sandy floor below. Bring along some firewood to have a campfire directly on the sand as the sun sinks into the Pacific for the day—there’s nothing better than cozying up to a campfire on a chilly night! (Recommended by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler)

Places to Stay in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Latourell Falls
Latourell Falls

Columbia River Gorge in January

The waterfall corridor in Oregon is definitely a destination worth visiting in January. The waterfall corridor is the Columbia River Highway between Portland and Hood River and has over 90 waterfalls! It is a great winter destination due to the majority of these waterfalls being drive up destinations, or very short hikes. 

Some of the most scenic waterfalls along this drive are Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls (the most iconic Oregon photography location), Bridal Veil Falls, and Wahclella Falls. Many of these are very popular and busy in the summer months and require a permit to access parking.

Traveling off season you will get the views without the hassle of a permit and crowds, and maybe even get some unique views with partial freezing of the waterfalls! You’ll want to bring microspikes or some form of traction device for your shoes in case of ice and warm, waterproof layers to be prepared. If there is heavy snowfall, rent snowshoes from Doug’s in Hood River.

You can base yourself in Hood River, Oregon at the Historic Hood River Hotel, and explore the charming town of Hood River. Check out the wine tasting rooms, art galleries, the History Museum of Hood River County, and many restaurants. (Recommended by Melissa, Miss Rover)

Places to Stay Near Columbia River Gorge

Florence Oregon in January
Florence, Oregon

Florence in January

Oregon is a beautiful place to visit in January. Florence is one of the best towns along the coast to visit this time of year. With varied and striking landscapes, there are many things to do in Florence.

The beaches of Oregon are beautiful and should not be missed. If you bundle up, families can still have fun on the beach, flying kites and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. 

Crabbing is another fun and entertaining pastime in the area. Whether you rent a boat or use a trap off the crabbing docks, you’re likely to come away happy with loads of crab in January.

Thrillseekers will love Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. It’s the perfect backdrop for epic adventures in the sand, whether climbing them on foot or in a RZR! Even in the heart of winter, it’s a fun-filled place to spend the day.

It’s important to pack strategically for a trip in January. Wet and cool weather calls for lots of insulated and waterproof layers. Sturdy waterproof shoes to provide traction and warmth are essential when spending time outdoors in Florence in January. (Recommended by Candice, CS Ginger)

Places to Stay in Florence, Oregon

Newport, Oregon
Newport, Oregon

Newport in January

Newport, Oregon is an excellent wintertime destination. From visiting lighthouses to hiking and spending time on the beach, there are some amazing things to do in Newport in January.

Lighthouses may be common structures along coastlines, but to many, they are unique and fascinating structures. Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport is a fun and unique place to visit. The structure itself is a sight to behold, but the views of the ocean and surrounding wildlife are breathtaking.

For those looking to break a sweat while taking in the Pacific Northwest landscape, consider taking a hike on the Ocean to Bay Trail. This route highlights the lush vegetation the Oregon Coast is famous for.

Nye Beach and Ona Beach are a couple of wonderful places to visit for travelers who are looking to spend some time at the beach while visiting Newport. Newport beaches are great places to fly kites, and some of them even have tidepools brimming with marine life to discover! 

Remember to pack for cool and wet weather when visiting Newport in January. Insulated and waterproof clothing and shoes are essential. (Recommended by Candice, CS Ginger)

Places to Stay in Newport, Oregon

Pacific City Oregon
Pacific City, Oregon

Pacific City in January

The Oregon Coast is known for its dramatic winter storms, which can produce waves up to 30+ feet high and winds that commonly exceed 75 miles per hour. Pacific City is a particularly good place to watch storms because of its elevated location and its proximity to Cape Kiwanda.

The best place to storm watch is at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda and Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa. These are two great hotel options that are located on the beach with great ocean views, so you can catch a storm in a warm and cozy hotel room.

One of the most popular things to do in Pacific City is to visit Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. This park is home to Haystack Rock, a towering basalt monolith that is a popular destination for hikers and photographers. You can also explore the tide pools at Cape Kiwanda, which are home to a variety of marine life.

Another popular activity is to hike the Pacific Avenue Trailhead. Or you can hike The Great Dune that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Haystack Rock.

For those interested in wildlife, the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a must-see. This refuge is home to a variety of birds, including bald eagles, osprey, and waterfowl. Visitors can hike the trails in the refuge, take a boat tour, or simply sit back and enjoy the wildlife.

Finally, no visit to Pacific City would be complete without a stop at Pelican Brewing Company. This brewery is located right on the beach and offers a variety of award-winning beers. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery, sample the beers, and enjoy a meal at the brewery’s restaurant. (Recommended by Alexa, 52 Perfect Days)

Places to Stay in Pacific City, Oregon

Secret Beach Oregon
Secret Beach Oregon

Samuel H. Boardman State Park in January

If you are looking for beautiful places to visit in Oregon in January, head to the southern Oregon coast. With highs in the mid-50s and lows in the mid-40s, winter is not as cold at the beach as it is in other parts of Oregon.

The days are shorter and rain is more likely in the winter, but the coastal views along Samuel H. Boardman State Park are stunning even in moody weather. Plus, less people visit the coast in January compared to the more popular summer months.

You can drive along the coast highway and just pull over in any of the many pullouts to take in the views. Don’t trust your GPS for timing here – the views will have you spending more time than you may expect!

Natural Bridges is one of the many viewpoints and worth a stop, but don’t skip the short Secret Beach hike nearby. Arch Rock and Cape Ferrelo are also easy spots to stop and enjoy the view, but there are other options along the way if you want to hike down to the beach as well. (Recommended by Christine, Live Love Run Travel)

Places to Stay in Brookings, Oregon

Willamette Valley in the winter
Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley in January

Willamette Valley is a massive valley in central Oregon that is home to over 700 wineries! Willamette Valley is known for their Pinot Noir, and is actually one of the top producers of Pinot Noir in the world.

Whether you are an Oregonian that visits often, or a tourist from out of town looking for a perfect vacation spot, WIllamette Valley is sure to suit your needs especially during January! While many people visit Willamette Valley during spring or summer, visiting during January is perfect for anyone looking for a cozy activity with less crowds.

Most wineries will have indoor tasting rooms to use during the winter time to allow guests to be comfortable while enjoying their wine. With over 700 wineries to choose from, planning a trip can be intimidating for first-time visitors of Willamette Valley. White Rose Estate and Stoller Family Estate are some of the best wineries in Willamette Valley to visit any time, but especially are beautiful during January. You should wear layers when visiting in January so you can feel comfortable both inside and outside the wineries! (Recommended by Jess, Travel + Tannins)

Places to Stay in Corvallis, Oregon (Willamette Valley)

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Visiting Oregon in January

When it comes to planning a January trip to Oregon, it’s important to know the weather to expect for the location you plan to visit. Here are three main climate regions in Oregon to give you an idea of temperatures to expect:

Oregon Coast January Weather – Temperatures during the day average in the high 40s with lows below freezing. Expect rainy weather in the winter, with occasional snow that usually melts quickly.

Inland Oregon January Weather – Willamette Valley and Portland will be colder than the coast with highs in the mid 40s and lows below freezing. It doesn’t rain as much as the coast, but snow and ice are more common.

Central Oregon January Weather – Average highs are near 40 with lows near 20. The winter months are the rainiest, but that’s only about two inches per month so most locations are relatively dry.

Eastern Oregon January Weather – It will be cold, and it’s not uncommon to have winter temperatures dip below 0! The Columbia River Gorge is windy all year. Ice storms can occur during the winter, and could close I-84 along the river.

Southern Oregon January Weather – The Medford area average winter temperatures range from highs in the 40s to lows in the 30s. Snowfall accumulations are a few inches that can limit outdoor activities.

Oregon Cascades in January – This area receives a large amount of snow in the winter. Crater Lake snow totals are about 40 feet each year! Expect cold winter temperatures with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s.

Road trips in January require a bit more planning for “what if” situations. You never know if you’ll be sitting in traffic or on the side of the road with car troubles. Here are a few basic winter road trip supplies to pack:

We also make sure that our warm winter clothing is in easy reach “just in case”:

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More January Travel Ideas

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