Moving to Oregon: Things to Know Before Your Move

Are you considering a move to Oregon? You’re not alone. In recent years, the state has become a popular destination for people from all over the country looking for a high quality of life, beautiful scenery, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. But with so many great places to call home, choosing the best spot to settle down can be challenging. Let’s explore some of the top places to consider when moving to Oregon, from the bustling city of Portland to the peaceful rural areas of Eastern Oregon.

Clackamette Park, Oregon City, OR
Clackamette Park, Oregon City, OR

The Oregon Coast

If you’re looking for a laid-back lifestyle with miles of coastline to explore, the Oregon Coast might be the perfect place to call home. The coastal towns offer plenty of small-town charm, outdoor activities, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. While the cost of living can be higher than other areas of the state, the natural beauty and quality of life make it a great place to live.

Cape Lookout, Tillamook OR
Cape Lookout, Tillamook OR

Oregon’s coastline stretches over 362 miles and boasts several charming towns that make it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. But for those who are planning to move and settle down in the area, which town is the best option? In this section, we’ll dive into the different towns along the Oregon coast and their pros and cons.

Astoria

Astoria is the northernmost town on the Oregon coast and is known for its historic sites and scenic views. Pros include its quaint downtown area and its proximity to the Columbia River waterfront. Astoria is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. The town is surrounded by natural beauty, with the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean on either side. The Astoria Column is a must-see attraction, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Astoria Column, Astoria OR
Astoria Column, Astoria OR

The Columbia River Maritime Museum is another popular spot, showcasing the history of the area’s maritime industry. For those interested in culture, the Liberty Theater offers a range of shows and performances throughout the year. While Astoria is undoubtedly a great place to visit, it is also a wonderful place to call home. The town has a strong sense of community, and its residents are friendly and welcoming. The downside is its weather, as it tends to be overcast and rainy most of the winter. It is also far away from a major city, so shopping and advanced medical treatment may be quite a distance away. But with beautiful scenery, and plenty of outdoor activities and cultural events, Astoria is an ideal location for those looking to live in a small town with big city amenities.

Seaside

Seaside, Oregon is a family-friendly beach town located north of Cannon Beach. It has a charming boardwalk, plenty of restaurants and shops, and easy access to the beach. However, it can get crowded in the summer months and traffic can be challenging during peak hours.

Seaside, Oregon is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Pacific Northwest. With its picturesque coastline, quaint downtown area, and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder that it is a top tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy a myriad of attractions including the Seaside Aquarium, historic Seaside Promenade, and beautiful beaches perfect for surfing, swimming, or just basking in the sun. It’s not just a great place to visit; it’s also a great place to live! With its low cost of living, vibrant community, and proximity to Portland, Seaside has become a sought-after location for those who crave a small-town feel while still having access to big-city amenities. In short, Seaside, Oregon is the perfect blend of small-town charm and natural beauty, making it a great place for tourists and residents alike.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is one of the most popular towns on the Oregon coast, with its picturesque Haystack Rock and expansive sandy beach. Along with its natural beauty, it also offers upscale dining and shopping options. One downside is that it can be a bit touristy and pricey.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon coast
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon coast

With over four miles of pristine shoreline, it’s no surprise that one of the main attractions is the beach itself. The iconic Haystack Rock is a must-see landmark and provides breathtaking views during sunset. Another popular attraction is the art scene in Cannon Beach. The town has over a dozen galleries, featuring local and regional artists. As for living in Cannon Beach, it’s a small, tight-knit community with a thriving tourism industry. While the coastal location is stunning, the cost of living can be higher than neighboring towns. Despite this, many residents find the small-town feel, natural beauty, and community events worth it. Ultimately, whether you’re a tourist or looking to make Cannon Beach your home, it’s a charming place worth exploring.

Depoe Bay

Depoe Bay is a small town situated on a rocky coastline that makes it a popular spot for whale watching. It’s a good option for those who prefer a more peaceful and scenic living environment. 

The town’s biggest highlight is the natural beauty of its shoreline, which provides ample opportunities for whale watching, beachcombing, and other outdoor activities. Visitors can also explore the quaint boutiques and galleries situated along the town’s main street, or take a stroll along the harbor where fresh seafood can be enjoyed at one of the many local eateries. As for living in Depoe Bay, residents enjoy a peaceful and laid-back lifestyle with a strong sense of community. However, job opportunities may be limited, and the town can be susceptible to storm surges and other weather-related hazards, so it may not be the best choice for everyone. Another con is its limited commercial options, as it doesn’t have many shops or restaurants.

Newport

Newport Bay in Oregon is a breathtaking destination that offers numerous tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which features marine creatures from around the world, including sea otters and sharks.

Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport Oregon
Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport Oregon

Another popular attraction is Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, a historic structure built in the 1800s that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The bay is also home to several renowned seafood restaurants where visitors can enjoy fresh local cuisine.

Newport, Oregon
Newport, Oregon

As for living in Newport Bay, it is an ideal place for those who love the ocean and all things beach-related. However, it is worth noting that the cost of living in Newport Bay can be quite high compared to other areas in Oregon. Its popularity can also mean more traffic and higher living expenses. Despite this, the stunning scenery and laid-back coastal lifestyle make Newport Bay a great place to call home for those who value a close connection to the ocean.

North Bend / Coos Bay

North Bend/Coos Bay is the largest town on the Oregon coast and offer a variety of attractions for tourists and locals. One of the biggest draws is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which features miles of rolling sand dunes perfect for ATV and dune buggy rides. Another popular destination is the historic McCullough Memorial Bridge, built in 1936 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For those interested in outdoor recreation, the area has plenty of hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities. As for living in North Bend or Coos Bay, it depends on personal preferences. While some may enjoy the small-town feel and proximity to the coast, others may find the lack of job opportunities or entertainment options limiting. Overall, North Bend and Coos Bay offer a unique coastal experience worth exploring.

Summary of Oregon Coast

The Oregon coast offers several charming towns, each with their unique pros and cons. Astoria and Seaside are great options for those who prefer historic sites and family-friendly activities respectively, while Cannon Beach is perfect for those who prefer a more upscale and touristy environment. Depoe Bay, on the other hand, is an ideal choice for those who want a peaceful and scenic town, while Newport offers a mix of recreational activities and commercial conveniences. Consider your priorities and choose the town that best suits your lifestyle and needs!

Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley, located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, is one of the most beautiful and fertile regions in Oregon. Home to the state’s largest city, Portland, and a number of smaller cities and towns, the area boasts a mild climate, great outdoors, and a thriving wine industry. If you’re a nature lover or a fan of pinot noir, this region may be your ideal destination.

One of my favorite wineries in the Willamette Valley, Bellingar Estates
One of my favorite wineries in the Willamette Valley, Bellingar Estates

The Willamette Valley is a 150-mile (240 km) long valley in Oregon that is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The valley is considered to be the cultural and political heart of Oregon, and is home to approximately 70 percent of its population. If you’re looking to move to the Willamette Valley, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the five largest cities in the state located here, including Portland, Eugene, Salem, Gresham, and Hillsboro. The valley’s numerous waterways, especially the Willamette River, are vital to the economy of the region, as they constantly deposit fertile alluvial soils across its flat plains, making it a highly productive agricultural area, with some of the top wineries and most productive farms.

Cities in Willamette Valley

Some of the notable cities in Willamette Valley include Eugene, Salem, Corvallis, and Albany, among others. Eugene is a vibrant college town known for its excellent restaurants, craft breweries, and stunning art galleries.

My son at a swim meet in an excellent aquatic center, the Osborne Aquatic Center in Springfield, OR, a suburb of Eugene.

Salem, on the other hand, is the capital of Oregon and home to several historical and cultural landmarks, including the Oregon State Capitol and the Willamette Heritage Center. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back, small-town atmosphere or the hustle and bustle of a big city, Willamette Valley has something for everyone.

Portland

Portland, the largest city in Oregon, is known for its vibrant culture, amazing nightlife, and thriving food scene. It’s also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, with advanced bike infrastructure making it easy to get around without owning a car. For those who don’t mind a higher cost of living, Portland can be a great place to call home.

ukulele jam at Park Blocks in Portland OR
This is me hosting a ukulele jam at the Park Blocks in downtown Portland OR.

Known for its picturesque landscapes, bustling downtown, and rich culture, Portland serves as a haven to those seeking to live in an urban environment with easy access to nature. Whether you prefer the excitement of the metropolitan area or the tranquility of the suburbs, Portland offers a wide range of housing options to cater to your needs. In this guide, we’ll explore the different neighborhoods in Portland and provide you with useful information on what to expect when moving to this great city.

Metropolitan Area

The city of Portland offers numerous neighborhoods to choose from. If you’re looking for an urban lifestyle with easy access to restaurants, bars, and shops, downtown Portland is the perfect place for you. There’s always something going on, whether it’s farmers markets, concerts, or art festivals, making it an ideal location for those who crave excitement. Portland State University is also located in downtown Portland, providing a vibrant college atmosphere.

Ramble On playing at Doug Fir in downtown Portland OR
My husband’s band Ramble On playing at Doug Fir in downtown Portland OR

Suburban Areas

If you prefer a quieter setting, there are plenty of suburbs to choose from near Portland. Lake Oswego, for example, offers an upscale community with beautiful homes and excellent schools. West Linn is another great option, with a charming downtown area and a small-town feel. Other notable suburban neighborhoods include Tualatin, Tigard, Hillsboro, Gresham, Gladstone, and Oregon City, all with unique characteristics to suit different lifestyles.

Clackamette Park, Oregon City, OR
Clackamette Park, Oregon City, OR

Beautiful Scenery

One of the greatest perks of living in Portland, Oregon, is having easy access to breathtaking scenery. From the lush forests to the majestic mountains, the Pacific Northwest offers an array of natural beauty. Portland is also surrounded by water, with the Columbia and Willamette rivers running through the city. A short drive from Portland will bring you to numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and beaches, providing endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Housing Market

If you are moving to Oregon, you’ll find that Portland’s housing market is competitive, with housing prices increasing each year. The average home price in Portland is currently around $560,000 (July 2023), making it difficult for first-time homebuyers. However, there are still great opportunities for those who are willing to do some research, as new housing developments are being built every year. It’s important to be aware that Portland’s housing market is one of the fastest-growing in the country, making it important to plan out your move well in advance.

Charming historic home in downtown West Linn, OR, a suburb of Portland
Charming historic home in downtown West Linn, OR, a suburb of Portland

Moving to Portland, Oregon, is an exciting adventure. With a vast array of neighborhoods to choose from, advanced bike infrastructure, and breathtaking scenery, you’re sure to find your perfect place in Portland. Keep in mind that the housing market is competitive, so it’s important to plan accordingly when looking for the perfect home. Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area or the peace and quiet of the suburbs, Portland has something for everyone. It’s no wonder why many people flock to Portland, drawn in by the city of roses and an abundance of local coffee shops.

Crater Lake

If you’re looking for an escape into nature, Crater Lake might be the perfect spot for you. The lake, the deepest in the United States, is a natural wonder that draws visitors from all over the world. The surrounding area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, making it a great place to live if you’re looking for a quieter lifestyle away from the larger cities.

Crater Lake OR
Spending a gorgeous day at Crater Lake with my friend

Eastern Oregon

For those looking for a quieter, more rural lifestyle, Eastern Oregon may be just what you’re looking for. The area is home to a number of small towns, and the scenery is stunning. Winters can be harsh, but the summers are mild and offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Plus, the cost of living in this part of the state is typically lower than in the larger cities.

Some of the cities dotted across this sprawling landscape include Ontario, La Grande, Baker City, and Pendleton. Ontario is a bustling town located in Malheur County, known for its diverse population, charming downtown area, and attractions like the Four Rivers Cultural Center. La Grande, on the other hand, is a historic city nestled in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, known for its picturesque vistas, rich Native American heritage, and vibrant arts scene. Baker City is another gem in Eastern Oregon, known for its idyllic setting, outdoor adventures, and fascinating pioneer history. Finally, Pendleton is a thriving city steeped in cowboy culture, famous for its annual Pendleton Round-Up and its world-renowned Pendleton Woolen Mills. All these cities offer visitors a unique experience and provide some insight into the rich and diverse landscape of Eastern Oregon.

Wallowa Lake is a gorgeous lake to visit near Pendelton, OR
Wallowa Lake is a gorgeous lake to visit near Pendelton, OR

Central Oregon

Nestled in the heart of the state, central Oregon is home to a number of charming cities that have been drawing visitors from across the country for years. From Bend, famous for its outdoor recreation and vibrant arts scene, to Sisters, a small town with a big personality that’s known for its beautiful western architecture, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this picturesque region. Other must-visit destinations include Redmond, where visitors can explore miles of scenic trails by bike or on foot, and Prineville, which is rich in history and boasts a number of fascinating museums and cultural attractions. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, central Oregon is the perfect destination for your next vacation.

Conclusion

Moving to a new state can be a daunting task, but Oregon has plenty of opportunities to offer those who are willing to take the leap. From the cities to the countryside, there are plenty of great places to call home in the Beaver State. Whether you’re looking for a bustling metropolitan area or a quiet rural town, Oregon has something to offer. By considering the factors that are most important to you, such as cost of living, outdoor activities, and quality of life, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your next move. With the help of a trusted moving company like Allied Van Lines or American Van Lines, you can confidently plan your next chapter in this beautiful state. Also remember to get your Oregon driver’s license and car registration when moving to Oregon. Welcome to the Beaver State!

Willamette Garage food cart pod in West Linn, OR
One of my favorite places to go, the Willamette Garage food cart pod in West Linn, OR