They are seen from beautiful lavender fields and are surrounded by lovely downtown districts. These little towns highlight Washington’s best features by showcasing vast, stunning landscapes free of crowds.
Whether you’re looking for upscale boutiques, historical museums, or access to the greatest activities in the Evergreen State, little towns in Washington each have their own distinct character and reasons to visit. They are comparable in that they both provide breathtaking landscapes, warm communities, and a wealth of year-round activities.
Our list of the Top 10 Small Towns in Washington will help you find the greatest spots to visit in this stunning state.
1. Towns In Washington: Sequim
Sequim (pronounced “skwim”) is one of the Olympic Peninsula’s numerous picturesque areas. This seaside village is only a short drive from Port Townsend and Port Angeles, and it celebrates a well-known Lavender Festival every July. This celebration, together with the abundant blooming fields, gives Sequim its favored moniker: The Lavender Capital of North America.
The bright weather, in contrast to the typical Pacific Northwest forecast, is the driving element behind Sequim’s successful lavender yield. Sequim resides in the Olympic Rain Shadow and only receives an average of 16 inches of rain each year, adding “Sunny Sequim” to its plethora of nicknames. This pleasant weather is another another reason why visitors come to the town and surrounding area.
Leavenworth began as a small forestry village in the early 1900s. The hamlet nearly came apart when the railroad was redirected to neighboring Wenatchee in the 1920s. Until 1962, when Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone) transformed the bankrupt timber hamlet into the Bavarian Village it is today.
To boost tourism, community authorities at the time rebuilt the city’s stores to look like those seen in Europe’s Alps. With the new design comes a new way of life, one that embraces the Bavarian spirit in outdoor activities, food, and festivals. Because of its ethnic diversity, Leavenworth has become one of the most popular little towns in the entire state of Washington.
Leavenworth and its Bavarian architecture are postcard-worthy at any time of year, crafted beneath rugged Cascade Mountain peaks. And its lively local shopping and dining culture, such as the bratwurst-serving München House or the athletically motivated Der Sportsman, has a distinct Bavarian flavor.
It’s a very different picture in the winter, when the town is laced with millions upon millions of Christmas lights for their annual Christmas Lighting Festival.
3. Towns In Washington: Gig Harbor
Gig Harbor, located on the same harbor as Tacoma and connected by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge across Puget Sound, is possibly the most attractive town in the United States. The historic downtown waterfront is responsible for most of the breathtaking landscape. Visitors to the riverfront will discover a plethora of stores, galleries, and restaurants.
Gig Harbor also has a number of beautiful parks to visit, including Kopachuck State Park and Skansie Brothers City Park. The Harbor History Museum showcases the city’s hardworking roots, as well as a breathtaking perspective of Mount Rainier.
Winthrop, a small mountain hamlet in Washington, is a popular stop on the North Cascades Scenic Loop Byway. It has a distinct Western flavor, akin to the Bavarian streets of Leavenworth, and a welcoming community.
Throughout the year, Winthrop serves as a basecamp for leisure activities. The nearby Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest surrounds additional outstanding recreational destinations such as Pearrygin Lake State Park and North Cascades National Park.
Backcountry skiing, mountain biking, equestrian riding, and camping have all become popular recreational activities in the town. The Methow Trails, with over 120 miles of groomed cross-country skiing tracks, are also located in Winthrop. All of these Winthrop activities and attractions provide excellent sightseeing possibilities in the Cascade Mountains.
5. Small Towns In Washington: Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor is a major city on the San Juan Islands in far northwest Washington. It’s on San Juan Island, the archipelago’s second-largest island. Within their tiny geographical area, this attractive coastal town and neighboring island have enough attractions to accommodate any style of holiday. Friday Harbor also offers numerous chances for ferrying to other surrounding islands.
Off the ocean, Friday Harbor has lots to offer, including the Whale Museum and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art. Boutique storefronts on Spring Street in Friday Harbor’s shopping section are very popular with visitors. Combine these experiences with local food options like the Rocky Bay Cafe and overnight lodgings like the Snug Harbor and Marina, and you’ve got a winning combination.
6. Port Townsend
Port Townsend is located near the northeast extremity of the Olympic Peninsula, approximately 40 miles from Seattle across Puget Sound. This lovely coastal village has a stellar reputation for art, history, and natural beauty. When you combine the picturesque stores with the waterfront views, the aesthetics are incentive enough to visit Port Townsend.
Port Townsend contains two National Landmark Historic Districts, and many of the city’s buildings still retain their original Victorian craftsmanship from the late 1800s. In these ancient streets and port, the city conducts a variety of cultural events.
The Shipwrights’ Regatta in February, the Port Townsend Film Festival in September, and the weekly Farmers Market held every Saturday from April through December are all noteworthy events.
7. Small Towns In Washington: La Conner
La Conner, a coastal community in far northwest Washington’s Skagit Valley, is a popular tourist attraction. The town combines Pacific Northwest beauty, community, and easy access to outdoor recreation. It also has a number of growing attractions.
Each spring, visitors from all over the world go to the La Conner Daffodil Festival and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. These vibrant festivities attract a large number of painters and artists who try to capture the various shades of La Conner that bloom around the region.
Other interesting things to do in La Conner include taking in the sea-salt landscape of Skagit Bay or Swinomish Channel, or taking a break from your day to sketch the town’s most prominent architectural monument, the La Conner Lighthouse.
With excellent seafood selections, 18 miles of beautiful beaches, and more than one picturesque lighthouse by the shore, Westport embodies Washington’s ideal ocean town. The city is located on the peninsula’s tip, 70 miles west of Olympia, and serves as the southern gateway to Grays Harbor and the remainder of the Pacific Ocean.
Because of its proximity to the Pacific, the neighborhood has plenty of interesting things to do both on and off the sea. Any trip to Westport has a maritime flavor, whether it’s chartered fishing trips, all-day beach picnics, or experiencing some of the state’s greatest surfing.
Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Westport’s main attraction, is the tallest lighthouse in Washington, standing at 107 feet. The lighthouse complex houses an information center for tourists.
9. Towns In Washington State: Poulsbo
Poulsbo is a tiny town in northwest Washington on the Kitsap Peninsula. Because of its many Scandivan inspirations and customs, the city is lovingly known as “Little Norway” and located on the shore of Liberty Bay. Today, thousands of tourists pass by the “Velkommen til Poulsbo” sign on their way to spend the weekend in the city.
Exploring the old Norwegian area is a popular activity for visitors from Seattle and elsewhere. This pedestrian-friendly district along the lake is lined with bookstores, restaurants, and boutiques, all with a Scandinavian flair dating back to the late 1800s, when Norwegians came on the shore.
10. Port Angeles
Port Angeles, on the north side of the Olympic Peninsula, overlooking the Salish Sea, combines plenty of conveniences with a small-town ambiance. It is a relaxed community of about 20,000 people. The city is well-known for its proximity to Olympic National Park, but it also has a growing collection of in-town attractions and activities.
Port Angeles definitely has an outdoor vibe, and many of its prominent attractions blend in with the breathtaking scenery. The 60-mile paved Olympic Discovery Trail and crossing Ediz Hook, the crescent-shaped sand spit protruding from the shoreline, are two of the top things to do in Port Angeles. Both of these popular activities provide breathtaking vistas of the Cascade Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
You can also check: