The Pacific Northwest encompasses the states of Oregon and Washington. This region is home to some of the world's largest corporations, like Costco, Expedia, Amazon, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and Nike. It encompasses many of the country's most treasured natural gems, like Crater Lake National Park, which is the deepest lake in North America, and Mount Hood, peaking at 11,239 feet (3,425 meters). There is also Mount Rainier National Park and the site of the largest recorded volcanic eruption in US history at Helens National Volcanic Monument, among countless others.
The wild Oregon Coast and the Washington Coast boast immense nature and endless water vistas, with a dotting of charming towns throughout. Seek out the Pacific Northwest from a naturally scenic angle by visiting one of the countless charming towns along the coast.
The town, founded in 1891, is a destination for adventurous souls on the beautiful Fidalgo Island in Skagit County. The island is spliced with incredible trails, including the most scenic hike to Mount Erie, with the best mountain and ocean views. Stroll the modern town for sights, colorful shops, restaurants, galleries, and other attractions, like the Anacortes Wt. Preston Museum, with insights into the area and the town's past.
Visit Anacortes on this Pacific Northwest island by car or on a breezy ride trip from Seattle to start enjoying the beautiful town and other sites around the island in no time. Check out the gorgeous Deception Pass State Park for nature adventures and relaxing picnics, or visit during springtime for the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival nearby. The town is also home to a local farmer’s market.
Find this one-of-a-kind town just north of California, at the bounds of the Siskiyou Mountain Park, where the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges converge. There is also the gorgeous Crater Lake National Park nearby with a unique lake, while the town's claim to fame is hosting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Check out this Pacific Northwest hotspot in Oregon if you are a theater fan. You won’t want to miss the Shakespeare festival, and you'll want to return for a new season of high-quality theatrical plays and performances each year. You can also enjoy some incredible hiking trails, like the nearby White Rabbit Trail.
Astoria sits picturesquely on the Oregon side at the mouth of the Columbia River, not far from the town of Long Beach, which is great for a day trip. The town of the day is home to passionate residents, part of Astoria's vibrant character, which really is something to boast about. The town overlooking the Columba River shines with natural and historic beauty like no other, with many sites that combine Astoria's best features to keep all tourists intrigued, regardless of age.
Visit the awe-inspiring Fort Stevens State Park and the Bradley State Scenic View with breathtaking views. Head to the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park or go on a tour of the underground tunnels beneath the town. You must also check out the beautiful Flavel House Museum in a preserved 1886 Queen Anne home and shops around Astoria. Explore multiple hiking trails around, like the ones leading to the water for a scenic picnic.
Take a short ferry ride out of Seattle and across Puget Sound, where you’ll find Bainbridge Island. The scenic island community has a claim to fame as the star of the set for America's hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy. This magnificent part of Washington with boundless nature to explore is a must-visit for outdoorsy tourists. Enjoy scenic kayak or canoe rides around the island for a different perspective and amazing views of the waters and local nature.
The artsy town is a worthy stop for any group or taste in pursuits and is home to numerous eclectic boutiques. Enjoy easy access on a day trip from downtown Seattle in thirty minutes, or spend a whole vacation in this charming waterside town. Explore the laid-back atmosphere and green space on a bike and try all the different restaurants around.
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Nothing screams small-town charm like a covered bridge in the classic, good-feel movie Stand By Me. Cottage Grove is a small Oregon town amid vineyards and gorgeous woodlands, with a few of the remaining historic covered bridges in the west. The "Covered Bridge Capital of the West" in Lane County is close to six of these idyllic structures.
Enjoy the storybook vibe in town and the range of outdoor opportunities in the scenic surroundings, like hiking and horseback riding trails. Seek out the walking and biking Row River National Recreation Trail along the waters and recognizable railroad tracks from the movie.
Friday Harbor, Washington
Find this picturesque town on San Juan Island, the largest of the archipelago. The San Juan Islands are a magical cluster of islands in the Pacific, in between Vancouver Island and northern Washington. Friday Harbor is one of the most impressive seaside towns in Washington State, with an island community feel and attractions for all interests. Take a walk through town and stop by the incredible San Juan Islands Museum of Art. Check out the beautiful storefronts along Spring Street and delve into the fantastic dining scene of the area.
Visit charming Friday Harbor to relax in the scenically slow-paced island life, where everything is within walking distance. Head to the Salish Sea waterfront and find your scenic spot for the day along the 1.3 miles of shoreline. You will be captivated by the sea brine smell, salty mist, and sights of passing orcas. Explore the town and venture into the island’s wild treasures, like Lime Kiln Point State Park and the San Juan Islands National Historical Park.
Gig Harbor, Washington
The charming seaside town along the shores of Puget Sound sits steeped in history and refined culture on the bay by the same name. Stroll Gig Harbor's downtown with nature peeking through impeccable architecture and the surrounding landscape. Enjoy strolls and activities against the naturally scenic backdrop of the evergreens and the magnificent Mt. Rainier across the glistening waters.
Gig Harbor is the gateway to the treasure chest of the Olympic Peninsula, with all its gems. Enjoy the small town vibe with 9,000 residents and a galore of water-related activities like boating and gondola tours. Embrace nature during the day and spend the evening at Tides Tavern over drinks or at Green House for fine dining.
Leavenworth is a beautiful Bavarian-style village steeped in German heritage with splashes of modern culture. Visit this Hallmark Christmas movie town in Washington with immersive sights and culture for a holiday weekend or anytime shopping spree along the vibrant downtown fare. Leavenworth mimics the scenic enclaves in the Alps with its proximity to the Cascade mountain range.
You will find plenty of year-round outdoor engagements for all tastes and ages, including hiking, skiing, and zip lining. Relish in the memorable German flair from back in time or a picture book on a stroll along the walking streets lined with trees and countless local Bavarian-themed shops.
Long Beach, Washington
The appropriately named town of Long Beach is a famed destination for sea, sand, and sun in the state of Washington. Find the town on the Long Beach Peninsula, just north of Cape Disappointment State Park, with the most enchanting views of the Pacific Ocean and nature's bounty at its feet.
The town at the mouth of the Columbia River affords views of Oregon right across and many attractions within, like the Marsh’ Free Museum with insights into the area around. Explore the scenic Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, which features regional fauna and flora, and take a hike along the Discovery Trail, which follows in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark's route when they traversed this coastal section back in the day.
Port Townsend, Washington
Port Townsend cannot be more charming, with its rich history and salty breeze from the sea. Find this only incorporated city in Jefferson County, in-between the Salish Sea and the Olympic National Park. Explore Fort Worden State Park with kayaking, bicycling, and hiking just 1.5 miles from downtown. Take delight in the fact that you are in one of three Victorian seaports on the National Register of Historic Places.
Check out downtown Port Townsend for countless engagements. Seek insights at the marvelous Jefferson Museum of Art and History, followed by a drink at the Siren’s Pub. Explore the city's attractions and use it as a launch pad for the nearby islands adventures and other gems around the Olympic Peninsula.
This charming little town is an illusive star along the Oregon coast, whose scenery cannot be overlooked. It is an under-the-radar hotspot that paparazzi continue to unveil in travel magazines and makes constant appearances on Instagram. Visit the small town just to see how much of a big deal it is.
There is a good choice of bars and restaurants for scenery- and plain-hungry tourists, as well as lots of local shops. Enjoy the local modernity at the Bridge Tender bar, and pick up a piece of Seaside to decorate your home or bring back as a souvenir for someone special from this special place. Enjoy easy access to the nearby iconic Cannon Beach, where you will find more restaurants with delicious food for all styles of dining.
Located near the Olympic coast, Sequim has more sunshine and fewer rainy days than most towns in the Pacific Northwest. Realize your sweetest dreams amid the area’s famed purple fields in this northwest "lavender capital of North America." Visit the town on the third weekend in July, when the streets explode in color and residents go bonkers celebrating the Sequim Lavender Festival Weekend.
Seek a shady respite on a hike or recreation in nature amid the surrounding lush Pacific Northwest forests. Drive an hour to the Olympic Rainforest on a day trip or a camping weekend getaway, which is the largest temperate rainforest in the United States. Sequim’s beauty beckons back into a downtown galore of adorable local shops and lodging options. Check out the Juan de Fuca cottages, and you will land a perfectly cozy retreat overlooking the gorgeous Sequim Bay.
Yachats spreads peacefully along the wilder Oregon coast, where you will enjoy tranquility, one-on-one time with nature, and small-town charm all in one place. Envelope the one-of-a-kind atmosphere in the surroundings of the beautiful temperate rainforest. Enjoy soft sands and the lapping waves of the Pacific at your feet, and visit some unique natural attractions near the town.
Hike to the huge sinkhole on the coast, appropriately named Thor’s Well. Breeze the salty air reaching the downtown area on a stroll along its many attractions. Peruse numerous art galleries and find a cafe to sit down and give into tranquility. You will love the choices amid the restaurant scene for lunch or fine dining, like the popular local Ona Restaurant and Lounge.
The wild Washington and Oregon coastlines are interspersed with quaint towns along 100 km of undeveloped coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States. Visit one of these charming towns on a day trip from Seattle or a nearby big city, or make a road trip along the coast to check off a few.
You can bypass the largest expanse of ancient coastal sand dunes in North America, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, or choose one of the island communities for a remote feel amid the San Juan Islands, in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Enjoy the tranquility along the quiet beaches and the sights of orca whales in the waters and eagles overhead.