Many small towns in Washington are worth a visit. They are tucked into the Cascade Mountains and line Puget Sound. The beautiful small towns in Washington each have their own unique feel and reasons to visit, such as trendy shops, historical museums, or access to some of the best things to do in the Evergreen State. What they have in common is breathtaking scenery, friendly people, and lots of things to do all year long.
Most people who visit the state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest go straight to the most popular destinations, like the coffee-loving city of Seattle or the dramatic peaks of Mount Rainier. But it’s also a good idea to get out and explore the rest of the place.
From Bavarian-inspired mountain towns to charming coastal escapes, Washington is rife with small towns worth exploring. Discover the best places to visit in this beautiful state with our list of the best small towns in Washington.
Check out our list of the beautiful small towns in Washington for more ideas. Check out these best places to visit in Washington, D.C. and the best restaurants in Washington, D.C. if you must plan your vacation to this exciting city.
Best Small Towns in Washington State
Washington is on the border with Canada and has all the natural beauty you could want in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It has mountains, dense forests, and a rough, winding coastline.
The beautiful small towns in Washington reflect the wealth of their pasts, which were built on trapping, fishing, logging, and mining.
At the same time, this state is one of the most liberal in the country, so you can expect to find art galleries, fun festivals, and friendly, open-minded communities in its cold and charming small town Americana.
Check out our list of the best small towns to visit in Washington.
Sequim is one of the many beautiful places on the Olympic Peninsula. It is only a short drive from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. This town, which is based on the sea and has a lavender festival every July, is the only one in North America that can call itself the lavender capital.
Sequim’s successful lavender production is due to its sunny weather, which is not typical for the Pacific Northwest. Sequim only gets about 16 inches of rain a year, so “Sunny Sequim” is another name for the city. This nice weather is just one more reason why people come to the town and the area around it.
Sequim has a lot of sunny days, and it also has a lot of good coffee shops, like the Hurricane Coffee Co. There are also craft stores and lavender farms in Sequim that make shopping there a unique experience. All of the things to do in the city are set against a beautiful view of the ocean and the Olympic Mountains. One of the cutest towns in Washington.
On the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a short drive north will take you to the beautiful New Dungeness Lighthouse. On the east side, the John Wayne Marina on Sequim Bay has places to eat, see sights, and stay. The entrance to Olympic National Park is south of Sequim. Olympic National Park is home to the Hoh Rainforest and Hurricane Ridge.
In the early 1900s, Leavenworth was a small town made up of people who worked with wood. In the 1920s, when the railroad went to the nearby town of Wenatchee instead, the town almost fell apart. That is, until 1962, when Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone) turned the failed timber town into the Bavarian Village it is today.
At that time, people in charge of the city changed the storefronts to look like those in the Alps of Europe. This was done to attract tourists. With the new look came a new way of life that reflects the Bavarian spirit in things like food, outdoor activities, and celebrations. Leavenworth is one of the most well-known small towns in the whole state of Washington because of how creative it is in terms of culture.
Leavenworth, with its Bavarian architecture and location under the jagged peaks of the Cascade Mountains, is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. In the winter, when the town’s annual Christmas Lighting Festival takes place and millions and millions of Christmas lights are put up, it’s a whole different sight to see.
Leavenworth has a lively shopping and dining scene that has a unique Bavarian twist, like the München House, which serves bratwurst, or the Der Sportsman, which focuses on sports. Leavenworth is surrounded by beautiful mountains, such as the world-famous Alpine Lakes Wilderness. These mountains also offer exciting activities all year long, such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and skiing.
Coupeville is the second-oldest town in Washington. It is saved as part of the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Many of the buildings downtown and along the historic waterfront, which was first settled in the 1850s, are still from the 19th century.
These buildings now house art galleries, wine tasting rooms, stores, and seafood restaurants that serve Penn Cove mussels grown in the area. With its historic red wharf and peaceful view of Penn Cove, the waterfront is a beautiful place.
Coupeville is also a great place to stay if you want to explore Whidbey Island. There are hiking trails with views of the ocean, state parks like Fort Ebey and Fort Casey, and historic sites like the Admiralty Head Lighthouse close by.
4. Gig Harbor
Just 12 miles northwest of Tacoma, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge takes you across Puget Sound to Gig Harbor, which is on the same-named bay and may be the most beautiful town in the U.S. and one of the beautiful small towns in Washington. The historic downtown waterfront is a big part of why it has such beautiful scenery. There are a lot of shops, galleries, and places to eat along the waterfront.
Gig Harbor is also home to places like Kopachuck State Park and Skansie Brothers City Park, which are beautiful places to visit. At the Harbor History Museum, you can learn about the city’s history of hard work and see a beautiful view of Mount Rainier. Gig Harbor is a great place to visit because there are so many shops to check out and beautiful natural areas to look at. It is also a great place to just walk around and enjoy the scenery.
5. Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor is a nice place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is just a few steps from where the ferry docks on the eastern edge of San Juan Island. This beautiful seaport town has enough things to do and see in its small area to suit any kind of vacation. There are also many chances to see the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound from Friday Harbor.
Off the water, you can visit the Whale Museum or the San Juan Islands Museum of Art. Both have a lot to see and do. Spring Street, which is the main shopping street in Friday Harbor, also has a number of small shops that attract tourists.
When you combine these activities with places to eat like the Rocky Bay Cafe and places to stay like the Snug Harbor and Marina, you don’t even have to get wet to have a good time here. One of the best small towns to live in Washington state.
This is the place to go to get to the rest of the San Juan Islands. It is also a beautiful place to visit. Sea Quest Kayak Tours and the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal are both easy ways to get out and see the island. From the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway, people can also look for whales or visit nearby islands.
Land lovers who want a tough hike can go further away to Mount Young. People also like to hike and see lighthouses at Lime Kiln Point State Park. Visitors can learn about the island’s natural and cultural history at San Juan Island National Historical Park.
6. Port Townsend
Port Townsend is at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, about 40 miles from Seattle. It is across Puget Sound. This charming seaport town is known for its art, history, and natural beauty. When you add up the pretty storefronts and the views of the water, Port Townsend is a beautiful place to visit any time of year.
There are two National Landmark Historic Districts in Port Townsend, and many of the buildings in the city still have their original Victorian architecture from the late 1800s. Every year, Port Townsend’s historic streets and harbor host a wide range of cultural events.
The Shipwrights’ Regatta in February, the Port Townsend Film Festival in September, and the Farmers Market, which is held every Saturday from April to December, are all events that are worth seeing.
In addition to the cultural events that happen almost every week, the area has a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation. People like to bike along the ocean paths, go boating and fishing in the Port Townsend Bay, and camp in the nearby Ft. Worden State Park. Port Townsend is also a great place to stay when you want to visit the nearby Olympic National Park. One of the best small towns to live in Washington state.
7. Port Angeles
Port Angeles is on the northern side of the Olympic Peninsula. It has a small-town feel while still having a lot to offer. The Port Angeles Downtown District is full of great places to stay, like the luxurious Olympic Lodge, and new places to eat, like the New Day Eatery. It would be easy to spend all your time there. But the wide variety of outdoor activities is what really brings in tourists and new residents.
Using a guide service to look for humpback whales in the harbor is one of the most popular things to do in Port Angeles. You can also go on guided tours to learn about the Historic Downtown Underground in Port Angeles.
The 60-mile paved Olympic Discovery Trail goes through Port Angeles and gives hikers and bikers amazing views of the Cascade Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One of the best towns to visit in Washington State.
Also, Port Angeles is one of the best places to get to Olympic National Park. Olympic is home to famous places like the Hoh Rainforest and Ruby Beach, which make it a great place for backpacking and camping. In Port Angeles, near the road to Hurricane Ridge, is the Olympic National Park Visitor Center.
Westport is the quintessential beach town in Washington because it has fresh seafood, 18 miles of clean beaches, and more than one beautiful lighthouse by the water. Westport is at the end of the peninsula, about 70 miles west of Olympia.
It is the southern entrance to Grays Harbor, which is popular with tourists, and the rest of the Pacific Ocean. Because the town is close to the Pacific, there are lots of fun things to do in and out of the water. One of the best towns to visit in Washington State.
Westport has enough outdoor things to do, like chartered fishing trips, all-day beach trips, and some of the best surfing in the state, to keep you busy all weekend. The Grays Harbor Lighthouse, which is the tallest lighthouse in Washington at 107 feet, is the main thing to see there. Tourists can use the lighthouse’s information center, go on guided tours, and find a great place to look out over the Pacific Ocean.
Anacortes is the biggest city on Fidalgo Island and is one of the most accessible coastal towns in the San Juan archipelago. It is also full of fun things to do and see. Anacortes has a lot of beautiful places to stay, like the Majestic Inn and Spa, and a lot of unique shops and boutiques that sell everything from antiques to accessories.
When you add in great places to eat like the GERE-a-DELI or A’Town Bistro, it’s easy to lose track of your weekend. One of the best towns to visit in Washington State.
With ferries leaving every day, Anacortes is the best place to start a trip to Orcas Island, Friday Harbor, or any other stop on your itinerary in the San Juan Islands. Deception Pass is the most popular State Park in Washington. It is on Whidbey Island, about 10 miles south of Anacortes. Mt. Erie is in the middle of Fidalgo Island, and climbers and hikers come from all over the country to climb and hike it.
The Anacortes Art Festival in July and August is usually a good way to learn about island culture. In Anacortes, there is a Waterfront Festival in June and a Vintage Market every other year. In the summer, there are concerts every week at Seafarer’s Memorial Park in Anacortes.
The town of Chelan has a lot of good places to eat, like the Apple Cup Cafe, which is a local favorite. However, it’s the easy access to outdoor activities that really puts it on the map. Out of town, there are miles of hiking and biking trails that lead to beautiful places to camp. One of the best small towns to live in Washington state.
The most beautiful thing about Chelan is the nearby Lake Chelan, which is the largest natural lake in the United States and stretches 55 miles into the Cascade Mountains. There are many water activities you can do on Lake Chelan, such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and renting boats.
But the Lady of the Lake ferry is the best way to have an adventure. It takes people across the whole lake and into the small, tourist-friendly town of Stehekin. Stehekin is the start of North Cascades National Park. It has a great bakery but not many other modern conveniences.
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FAQs About Most Beautiful Small Towns in Washington
What is the best small town in Washington State?
The 10 Most Beautiful Small Towns In Washington For Weekend Getaways
4. Gig Harbor
5. Friday Harbor
6. Port Townsend
7. Port Angeles
What part of Washington is the prettiest?
Mount Rainier area. There is no doubt that Mount Rainier has some of the most beautiful places in Washington. You will see beautiful mountains, wildflowers, and waterfalls.
Is Washington state a good retirement state?
There are places in Washington that are great for retiring. Washington is a popular place to retire because there is no state income tax, property taxes are low, the weather is nice, there are lots of things to do outside, and the coffee is great.
Is there a summer island in Washington state?
The San Juan Islands are a group of islands in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. They are between the state of Washington and Vancouver Island, which is in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The San Juan Islands are in Washington state, and they are the most important part of San Juan County.
Are there beaches in Washington?
All along the coast of Washington, you can find some of the best beaches. From the long, sandy beaches of the Long Beach Peninsula to the rocky shores of Olympic National Park, these places have water. Some beaches have traditional sand activities like building castles and flying kites.
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