About Small Town Travels

This website celebrates the small towns of the Northwest as places to spend time and explore. Usually, we pass through them on the road to someplace else.

Fossil, Oregon

As tourists, most of us are passive. We visit a place because we know what it offers: a great museum, a fabulous beach, famous restaurants, or magnificent natural surroundings. Visiting small towns as a tourist calls for a different mindset. Their attractions aren’t well known; they have to be searched out.  It’s do-it-yourself tourism.

Enjoying a small town is more than seeing the sights. Just as important is absorbing the culture of the place: having breakfast in a café, dropping in on local meetings, attending a rodeo, a parade, an ice cream social, a high-school sporting event, or a little theater production. The enjoyment is also in talking to people:  the druggist, the bartender, the librarian, the motel desk clerk, the volunteers in the historical museum and the Chamber of Commerce. Small-town people are proud of their homes and eager to share them.

Fields, Oregon

I define small towns loosely.  They range from Fields, with a population of thirteen,  to Dallas, where over fifteen thousand people reside. Usually, I avoid towns that are already well-known tourist attractions.  This means that I have excluded most coastal small towns. My most basic criterion for choosing a town to write about is that it offers overnight accommodation. This can be a motel, a hotel, a bed-and-breakfast, or even an apartment upstairs from a local restaurant. For the most part, I have found these hostelries clean, well equipped, and centrally located. Only once have I had to refrain from writing about a place because the lodging was so bad. I often recommend lodging and restaurants here but I make no effort to be definitive. For the most part, travelers must find these places themselves.

Tips to help you explore small towns.

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