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    20 Exceedingly Charming Small Towns In Washington State That Are Worth Visiting

    The best mountain adventures, waterfront weekends, cozy town squares, and more.

    Let's talk about Washington state. While some people may associate it mostly with the Twilight franchise, there's a lot more to the state than that. Before you go hunting for vampires, there are some cozy, incredible spots you'll want to check off your Washington bucket list.

    1. Port Townsend

    The beautiful lighthouse and sunset in Port Townsend
    Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images

    Best for: Dramatic rocky strolls or feeling like you're in a YA novel.  

    With a population under 10,000, this charming lil' town is the number one place on this list because, well, I've been there and can attest to its greatness. Filled with vintage shops and moody, wispy mist, you're gonna want to grab a bite to eat and explore the quaint, Victorian-inspired buildings. Don't forget to visit the historic 1879 Point Wilson Lighthouse that overlooks the beautiful Puget Sound. PS: You can even rent and stay in the home attached to the lighthouse! I could go on and on about PT, but on to the next town we go....

    2. Bainbridge Island

    A park and lake on Bainbridge Island
    July7th / Getty Images

    Best for: Grey's Anatomy fans.

    Known for its Grey's Anatomy ties, Bainbridge Island is also great because it's just a short ferry ride from Seattle. Whether you're there to visit the iconic TV location or off to breakfast at the Streamliner Diner before a scenic bike ride or walk around the Bloedel Reserve, odds are you'll enjoy your time in this quaint small town. 

    3. Coupeville

    The wharf in Coupeville
    Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket via Getty Images

    Best for: Wharf enthusiasts or history buffs.

    Named after Thomas Coupe, this tiny town, located on Whidbey Island in Island County, is known to all as the second-oldest town in Washington State. Made up of historical buildings and a charming waterside wharfCoupeville has a bevy of charming bed-and-breakfasts to stay in and fantastic 19th-century oak buildings to gaze at. Take a stroll around town, and don't forget to stop by the local Kingfisher Bookstore

    4. Port Angeles

    Mountains by Port Angeles
    Davelogan / Getty Images

    Best for: Adventures.

    Whether you choose to bike out to Ediz Hook, hike along Madison Creek Falls, or canoe through Lake Crescent, there's no shortage of breathtaking views here. For a jam-packed day of adventure, Port Angeles is filled to the brim with activities for everyone. As a great entrance point to the Olympic National Park, Port Angeles makes a lasting impression on all visitors with glorious scenic points — you've got seaside views and mountaintops here.

    5. Winthrop

    Snowcapped mountains
    Zeb Andrews / Getty Images

    Best for: Anyone who loves Western movies.

    If you're looking to do a road trip through the North Cascades Scenic Loop Byway, definitely make sure you stop by Winthrop. The distinctly Western-themed town is a great place to explore, with plenty of kitschy shops and great restaurants galore. For skiing enthusiasts, there are 120 miles of groomed cross-country skiing at your fingertips over at the Methow Trails

    6. Leavenworth

    The buildings and impressive architecture in Leavenworth
    Eyewolf / Getty Images

    Best for: Feeling like you're in a cozy Swiss town.

    To promote tourism, Leavenworth was redesigned in 1962 to resemble a town in the Alps. Now the quaint Bavarian-designed town attracts many, thanks to its placid, postcard-worthy atmosphere and proximity to the Cascade Mountains. Make sure you head over to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for a spot of mountain biking, hiking, or skiing before you leave.

    7. Sequim

    A lavender field in Sequim
    Olivija Stoilova / Getty Images / EyeEm

    Best for: The iconic Lavender Festival.

    Not only is Sequim dubbed the Lavender Capital of North America, but it is also home to the closest thing to a prehistoric forested landscape, the Hoh Rainforest. The blooming lavender fields, sweet town center, and unique wet climate make Sequim a once-in-a-lifetime place to visit. Plan ahead to attend the yearly Lavender Festival, and prepare to be amazed. 

    8. Lake Quinault

    View of Lake Quinault with mountains in background
    Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images

    Best for: Hiking!

    Located in the Olympic Peninsula in west Washington State, Lake Quinault is home to the best hiking trails ever, according to my family friends. While that sounds vague, be sure to stop by the Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station in the summer or an information center for more info on a hike that works for you (and be on the lookout for gorgeous big-leaf maples). If you're looking to stay overnight, there are plenty of options, from vacation homes to lodges and resorts.

    9. Friday Harbor

    A lavender field in Friday Harbor
    Timothy Malone / Getty Images / EyeEm

    Best for: Sailing enthusiasts, bird-watching, and whale watching tours.

    Located on San Juan Island, Friday Harbor attracts visitors and Washington state residents alike with its scenic views, water sport options, and locally sourced products and ingredients. Experience the stunning Puget Sound from this small seaside town, or hike up Mount Young or through Lime Kiln Point State Park for a daytime activity. Known for its California Poppies and lavender, this weekend-named harbor is bound to entertain the entire family. 

    10. La Conner

    The Rainbow Bridge with the town of La Conner in the background
    Edmund Lowe Photography / Getty Images

    Best for: Flower festival lovers.

    Located in the Skagit Valley, La Conner is home to the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Sure to delight everyone from novice travelers to state residents alike, the charming town also hosts the La Conner Daffodil Festival and a local arts show, Arts Alive, in early November. Be sure to stop by the iconic Rainbow Bridge. Shop around town, and stay at one of the sweet local inns or bed-and-breakfasts

    11. Langley

    Retail store in Langley
    Brycia James / Getty Images

    Best for: Whale-themed festivals.

    Known as the Village by the Sea, Langley boasts beautiful, New England–inspired architecture and hosts fun festivals galore. You'll want to take a ferry over from Mukilteo and spend a day in this tiny, jam-packed city located on Whidbey Island. If you're into whale watching, be sure to schedule your trip around the Welcome to the Whales Festival

    12. Lake Chelan

    Lake Chelan with a cabin in the background
    Education Images / Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    Best for: Adventurous outdoor activites.

    Chelan is home to the scenic Lake Chelan and the quaint Apple Cup Cafe. There are tons of outdoor activities available — from mountain biking to waterskiing to a bevy of winter sports. Stay at a cozy bed-and-breakfast or go rustic with a bit of camping.

    13. Gig Harbor

    A boat dock in Gig Harbor
    Kevin Shayer / Getty Images / EyeEm

    Best for: Scenic strolling.

    Set against a backdrop of majestic mountains, Gig Harbor is a sight to behold. Start your day off right at the Kimball Coffee House, then make your way over to the old boatyard for a bit of history. Enjoy a long, relaxing lunch on the scenic waterfront at Tides Tavern

    14. Westport

    Sunset over a body of water
    Hassan Malik / Getty Images / 500px

    Best for: Beach lovers.

    With the epic Grays Harbor Lighthouse, plenty of fantastic seafood options, and 18 miles of lovely, dog-friendly beaches, Westport is really just a charming, quintessential seaside town. Start your morning at Green Monster Coffee before embarking on a beachside adventure, then head to the Mermaid Deli and Pub for lunch, and end your day at the Lighthouse Bistro.

    15. Dayton

    A donkey
    Marc Harris / Getty Images / EyeEm

    Best for: Donkey enthusiasts and history lovers.

    Dayton has a rich history packed into its quaint streets. With the oldest train depot in Washington and an oft-used courthouse founded in 1887, the town features many charming restaurants, plenty of local shopping, and an annual donkey festival, aptly called Mule Mania.

    16. Anacortes

    A ship in the distance in front of a mountain
    Alan Majchrowicz / Getty Images

    Best for: A romantic vacay.

    Located on Fidalgo Island and known mainly for its proximity to Mount Erie, Anacortes is a thriving, small seaside town with plenty of charm. Book a whale watching tour and prepare to be amazed as educators take you around via boat to see these magnificent creatures. Or take a tour of the beautiful Cap Sante Marina, which is open to the public daily. Whether you choose to hike the trails, wine and dine at the local restaurants, or pamper yourself at the Majestic Inn & Spa, Anacortes is sure to please.

    17. Poulsbo

    A sea animal emerging from the water
    Erich Schultz / Getty Images / EyeEm

    Best for: Boardwalk strolling and dog-friendly beaches.

    Known for its famous Poulsbo Bread, which you can only get in town, this quaint area has been aptly nicknamed Little Norway. Go for a stroll along the charming Liberty Bay Waterfront Park or one of the many scenic boardwalks. Take in the historical buildings that line the streets. Bring the whole family (dog included) and explore any of the parks in the area, or sign up for a fun farm tour. With plenty of antique shops to see, there's something here for the whole family.

    18. Snohomish

    A pumpkin patch
    Natalia Ganelin / Getty Images

    Best for: Amazing waterfall hikes and pumpkin patch fun.

    From quaint English cottages to Dutch homes, Snohomish is an eclectic mix of styles and influences. If you're not one for hiking or waterfall views, there's still plenty to see and do here, including gorgeous pumpkin farms, scenic parks, museums, antique shops, and even a circus to occupy your time. 

    19. Ellensburg

    Photo of a yellow leaf tree
    Photoviewplus / Getty Images

    Best for: Scenic road trips. 

    With lots of art, history, and plenty of historical buildings, Ellensburg is a great place for the entire crew. Head out on a scenic drive for a glimpse of the canyons, or take the kids on one of the many hiking trails to connect with nature. 

    20. Walla Walla

    A lake in Walla Walla
    Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket via Getty Images

    Best for: Wine lovers, a family trip, or your honeymoon.

    Filled with fun activities, this bustling town rivals that of a big city, or so visitors say. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, farms, and vineyards, Walla Walla is known to all as the wine country of Washington state but is great for the whole family. 

    Disclaimer: This article was written to provide travel recommendations or suggestions; however, it’s important to keep in mind your own health, community health, and exposure risk.

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