Drone View of Wenatchee Neighborhood, Washington

12 Small Town Gateways In Washington Perfect For Families

In the busy, chaotic bustle of city life, vacationers can find their relaxing getaway in one of the many small towns of Washington State. These small towns offer a place for families to slow down, relax, and enjoy each other’s company amidst scenic waterways, forest preserves, and mountain cottages. Towns like Wenatchee, Seabrook, and Grand Coulee, among others, are perfect for families with young children because of fun and educational activities like parks and children's museums.

These small towns are among the best getaways in Washington not only because of their fun activities but also due to their rich history and vast natural beauty, making each a unique experience worth exploring. Travel along scenic mountain trails or go fishing on the shore. Washington’s diverse landscape can be found across all its townships, big and small. These small towns live in the memories of many vacationers and are great for families seeking quality time together.


Hilltop Coastal Homes at Seabrook Beach, Washington Coast.
Hilltop Coastal Homes at Seabrook Beach, Washington Coast.

Known as Washington’s Beach Town, Seabrook is built upon a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with miles of soft sand beaches for as far as the eye can see. Thick forests of pine and spruce envelope the town from the east, offering plenty of hiking paths along river banks and waterfalls. The Seabrook Trailhead allows families and solo hikers to explore the forest on foot, by bike, or on horseback. Elk Creek Trail journeys from the scenic Elk Creek all the way to the beach.

For families staying in Seabrook, there are many games and parks for fun activities, such as the Seabrook playground, basketball Court, Tennis Court, and Pickleball Court. There is even the Seabrook Dog Park for letting pups and small dogs run and play. After a day of exploration and family fun, vacationers should try the famous Truffle Bianca at Frontager's Pizza Company. For overnight or prolonged stays, there are over 250 vacation rentals for groups of anywhere from 2 to 20 persons. The Memory Lane Cottage is an exquisite stay with four bedrooms to comfortably house even large families or groups for only $595 a night.


Sequim, Washington Marina Filled with Boats
Sequim, Washington Marina is filled with boats.

Home of the nation's longest natural sand spit, Sequim is a unique location on the coast with a rich history and cultural background. Visit the Sequim Museum & Arts, which showcases local history and artworks. If visiting mid-June through August, vacationers can enjoy picking lavender in the main fields of purple flowers, a great experience to cherish with family.

Families visiting Sequim should visit Whimsy Park for good family fun; dogs are allowed. From the Ocean Star Inn, visitors can view the Olympic Mountains to the south with only a 2-mile trek to the beach for $72 a night. Finally, visitors must try the creative pancakes of Oak Table Cafe and experience the 50s-themed restaurant Hi-Way 101 Diner.


Winthrop, Washington: Historic Buildings in a Western Town.
Winthrop, Washington: Historic Buildings in a Western Town. Editorial credit: Gareth Janzen / Shutterstock.com

For $162 a night, visitors can stay at River’s Edge Resort in Winthrop and be right on the Chewuch River. Breakfast can be found at Oliver's Artisan Kitchen from 11 am to 4 pm. Mack Lloyd Park has an excellent playground for young kids. Families should also travel to the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery Visitor Center and tour the conservation facilities to learn about the unique local wildlife.

The Barnyard Cinema is another great attraction for local screening and independent films; adult tickets are $15, while children’s are $12. Those wishing to enjoy the great outdoors can explore Winthrop’s most scenic trails, like Meadowlark Trailhead and Methow Trails.

Grand Coulee

Grand Coulee Dam: Iconic Hydroelectric and Irrigation Dam in Washington State.
Grand Coulee Dam: Iconic Hydroelectric and Irrigation Dam in Washington State.

Grand Coulee, between Banks Lake and Crescent Bay, sits on the precipice of the Grand Coulee Dam, a unique hydroelectric facility and the largest multipurpose project undertaken by the Bureau of Reclamation. Visitors can take guided tours through the historic dam and learn about its various purposes. Views from the dam showcase the natural beauty of the Columbia River.

Grand Coulee Center Lodge makes for a comfy, dog-friendly stay on Crescent Bay. For fine dining with a casual feel, vacationers should visit PKs Culinary. The Wild Western Burger comes highly recommended. For an exciting show, travelers can watch the Grand Coulee Rodeo, which has regular events through May and July.


Scenic Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, Washington.
Scenic Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, Washington.

This riverside town is the perfect getaway in Washington for families looking to escape the chaos of city living. Here, vacationers can enjoy the unique views of the Yakima River and relax in the beautiful Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Visitors can also learn about local history at the Yakima Valley Museum, which also features regular events for educating children.

A stay at the Oxford Suites delivers instant river and park access with premium rooms for only $102 a night. Visitors can enjoy rafting, fishing, and other water activities to make lasting memories. For families with young children, the Play/Cafe is a great stop for lunch, with an indoor playground to entertain kids.


Historic Davidson Building in Ellensburg, Washington.
Historic Davidson Building in Ellensburg, Washington. By Bobak Ha'Eri - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

A valley town on the beautiful Yakima River, Ellensburg offers a quiet retreat featuring scenic parks and hiking trails like Howard’s Way Trailhead, Paul Rogers Wildlife Park, and Rotary Park—which features an off-leash dog area. Another feature of this small town is Mattoon Lake, a local fishing hole that is also great for water sports and boating.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Ellensburg offers free parking and a complimentary breakfast, and rooms start at $132 a night. Check-in at Enterprise Rent-A-Car for transport around town. In-town visitors can enjoy college football games in Tomlinson Stadium. For fine Italian cuisine, Ellensburg Pasta Company is unmatched in its dishes and friendly staff.

Moses Lake

Blue Heron Park in Moses Lake, Washington on a Summer Day.
Blue Heron Park in Moses Lake, Washington, on a summer day.

Located just north of Potholes Reservoir, it is a small town with a unique landscape of mudflats and dunes. From the Cascade Marina, vacationers can take guided boating expeditions out on the water to visit or airboat across the mudflats. Blue Heron Park is a beautiful green 24-acre lakefront park with fishing and swimming areas. Travelers should also enjoy the rich regional history showcased in Moses Lake Museum and Art Center.

At the pet-friendly Lakeshore Inn Water-Front Moses Lake, visitors will be 100 feet from the water for only $72 a night. Families will love the Surf 'n Slide Water Park, where kids under 3 go free. Visitors should try Crumbl Cookies, a renowned sweets and dessert shop in town for sweet treats.


An air view of Wenatchee, Washington, shows the town with majestic mountains in the background.
An air view of Wenatchee, Washington, shows the town with majestic mountains in the background.

Wenatchee’s vibrant and scenic wilderness is the pinnacle of small-town living. Travelers will be hard-pressed to explore every trail and park this small town has to offer. Jacobson Preserve Trailhead is one trail that any hiker in Wenatchee should know for its unique history and legacy.

Residence Inn by Marriott Wenatchee has the best views of the Columbia River in town, only 650 feet from the water. Near this inn is the Riverfront Rock Gym for rock climbing enthusiasts and Walla Walla Park, with a playground and softball field. Sage Hills Bakery on Wenatchee Ave is the sweetest bakery in town, open from Wednesday to Saturday, 8 am to 12 pm.


The Rosebush House in Millwood, Washington.
The Rosebush House in Millwood, Washington. By Will Maupin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Straight from Spokane International Airport, the beauty of this town is evident with the winding Spokane River and surrounding parklands. Mayor Jeanne Batson Arboretum is a lovely retreat from the town with beautiful orchards. Millwood Park is another excellent retreat to urban life where visitors can enjoy a picnic, play games, and even swim in an outdoor pool.

Travelers should also visit the Rosebush House, a historic landmark of the region, and learn about what makes this town unique. For family fun, there is Altitude Trampoline Park and Fitness, only a 4-minute drive south of Millwood, offering fun games and attractions for all ages.

Birch Bay

Two bicycles parked near a Birch Bay State Park sign by the coastline.
Two bicycles parked near a Birch Bay State Park sign by the coastline.

Birch Bay is a thriving bayside town on the Canadian border. The crystal waters with far-off islands make for excellent rural views in this small town. Visitors can relax on Cottonwood Beach and watch the sunset over the water. WorldMark Blaine is a 4-star resort on the water's edge overlooking the bay; rooms cost $76 a night.

Fans of golf will be delighted by the award-winning Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club, which is open year-round to members only. However, public lessons and events are available. There’s no better place for dining by bayside than CJ's Beach House, a fresh seafood restaurant with a family-friendly atmosphere.

Mount Vernon

Vibrant Tulip Fields in Full Bloom, Skagit Valley, Mount Vernon, WA.
Vibrant Tulip Fields in Full Bloom, Skagit Valley, Mount Vernon, WA.

The scenic Mount Vernon is famed for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, where a rainbow of tulips grows along the Skagit River. This is a truly unique sight, which makes April the best time to visit Mount Vernon to see these fantastic flower gardens. For year-round family fun, the Skagit County Fair is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm, offering thrilling rides and fun games. Nature lovers will love the Skagit River Walk Park along the river, which is most beautiful during the tulip season in April.

Best Western Plus Skagit Valley Inn And Convention Center makes for the best stay with an outdoor pool and views of the tulip gardens. In April, prices start at $76 a night. For family-style Chinese-American meals, dine in at the Royal Star Buffet.


View of Finley in the foreground with the Columbia River in the distance, looking northeast.
View of Finley in the foreground with the Columbia River in the distance, looking northeast. By Williamborg - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

On the Columbia River, the town of Finley is a small scenic town with flourishing flower gardens and riverside hiking trails. The Bella Fiori Gardens is a famous garden wedding venue featuring over 500 annuals and emerald green Arborvitae Trees. For even more gardens, Tulip Springs Eventing on the south side of town is another excellent location for weddings, birthdays, or other gatherings.

The Clover Island Inn just outside Finley is the top stay for Vacationers in this small town—rooms start at $99 a night. While in town, travelers should explore Two Rivers Park on the Columbia River to experience riverside activities like boating, fishing, and swimming in calm waters.

Unforgettable Getaways in Washington's Small Towns

Small towns make great retreats from big city living, making incredibly relaxing getaways in Washington State. One thing is clear from these towns: each is uniquely beautiful and scenic, with flourishing gardens, nature reserves, parks, and deep blue waters of oceans, lakes, and rivers. When considering a family vacation in Washington, small towns are perfect for making lasting memories away from the chaotic and busy life of the city.

There are activities for everyone, even in the smallest town, if travelers are willing to search them out. Besides natural beauty, these towns also have extremely rich histories and cultures. From local art and beautiful gardens to dining and comforting sweets, these towns offer the best of Washington.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 12 Small Town Gateways In Washington Perfect For Families

More in Places