The Pacific Coast is the Western United States meeting point and the Pacific Ocean. It is rugged and beautiful, and the coastline is adorned with beautiful cities that have become popular tourist spots. These cities extend from Washington in the North straight down to California in the South. There is a wide selection of towns and cities for visitors to explore during a spell on the Pacific coast, but the best way to experience the best this region has to offer, start by exploring the small, intimate coastal towns. While the coastline is vast, the following 14 of the most beautiful small towns on the Pacific coast are a great reference point!
Welcome to Astoria, a small town along the Pacific Coast. The town is the oldest city in the state of Oregon. Styled in an old-fashioned setting, Astoria has several Victorian houses, some sitting on the edge of a cliff, providing visitors with a nice view of the gorgeous Columbia River.
During your stay in town, plan a visit to the Astoria Column. The Astoria Column is a tall tower that allows visitors and locals of the town to have an incredible vantage point of the small town. Known as the "Hollywood North," Astoria is a popular location for movie shoots. Film buffs can visit the Movie Museum at Astoria and see the road maps of the shooting locations of some famous movies. Then grab lunch at the Fort George Brewery and Public House, built on a pier with a glass floor above a Sea Lion Hangout.
Ferndale is a small Victorian town found between the Redwood forests of California and Humboldt County. This small fairytale town is beautiful in all seasons, but watch the true beauty of the city come up in the bright Christmas light in December.
The streets of Ferndale come alive at night when the Christmas lights of the stores come on. If you find yourself in Ferndale during the festive period, line up the trip to be part of the annual lighting of the tallest Christmas Tree in America! Go on a long scenic drive to the lost coast of California, which is barely 27 miles away from Ferndale. The town celebrates its history through several festivities. Make sure to spend the night at the historic Ferndale Gingerbread Inn.
Port Townsend, Washington
Set on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula is a quaint small town, home to one of the three Victorian seaports on the National Register of Historic Places called Port Townsend. The particular town on this list makes for a perfect destination for a romantic getaway with a significant other. From the beautiful scenery to elegant hotel accommodations, the town is often called the "Paris of the North West."
The town is always alive, hosting a series of events, such as the Port Townsend Orca Festival. Enjoy the sumptuous meals available at Silverwater Cafe or The Oystercatcher. They are known for having the best meals on the menu. Port Townsend is a small seaport town with endless opportunities for lovers, lone travelers, art lovers, and retirees.
Sausalito is a small town in Marin County. The town was founded by Williams Richardson in 1838. The town might be small, but it is known for its luxurious Hotel Sausalito and Gables Inn accommodations, the talented chefs at Salito’s Crab House, and numerous galleries such as Adele Gilani and Spirits in Stone Gallery. Outdoor activities are also part of the offerings of this small town, from hiking up the popular Coastal and Miwok trails to kayaking along Baker Beach. Art lovers will be delighted to know that Sausalito is home to world-class artists like Etel Adnan and Enid Foster. This town is perfect for weekend getaways and retreats.
Welcome to Santa's wonderland! The streets of Leavenworth come alive with lights from Thanksgiving in November to February. This little mountain town, beautifully styled in the German-Bavarian style, was first settled in 1903. Leavenworth is always bursting with activities throughout the year, from Christmas and Sea Film festivities to hiking in the hard trails of Colchuck Lake in summer and skiing in Leavenworth Ski Hill in Winter. All who visit here will surely enjoy some of the finest wine and dining options on the Pacific coast. A tour around the Reindeer Farm is the vacation highlight of most tourists.
Beautifully placed on the northern tip of Fidalgo Island is the small ferry town of Anacortes. The town was named after the maiden of the first settler's wife in 1877. Anacortes is a popular stop for travelers looking to hop on a boat ride to the San Juan Islands.
For those interested in a little 19th-century feel, you will enjoy strolling downtown Anacortes. Walking Downtown Anacortes is like taking a step back in time, with well-preserved 19th-century houses and significant historical pieces that tell the story of the town's legends. Hike up the rocks of Cap Sante and enjoy the breathtaking view of Anacortes and the San Juan Islands.
This town might look small outside, but it's a beehive of lively activities. From hiking up Mount Erie to Kayaking down the Burrow Bays, there is never a dull moment in this small town on the Pacific coast.
Friday Harbor, Washington
After getting off at the San Juan Islands ferry docks, a beautiful town stands as a gateway to the Islands. Friday Harbor is a tiny town on the San Juan Islands named after Joseph Poalie Friday, a native Hawaiian. The town is so small, that tourists here can explore all of its nooks and crannies on foot.
Putting aside the size of this town, it is bursting with activities in every corner. One recommended activity is the Whale and Wildlife tour. On the tour, customers get to watch the Whales, Sea lions, and Harbor Seals play around in their natural habitat without fear. While in town, there is also an opportunity to Adopt an Orca, a campaign to support the 80+ Southern residents' Orca Whales.
Poulsbo is a small Norwegian-styled town in Kitsap County, Washington. Present-day Poulsbo was founded by Jorgen Eliason, a Norwegian immigrant, in the 1880s. Over a hundred years later, the town has continued to hold on to its Norwegian heritage, now popularly known as the "Little Norway. This small town is the perfect location for hikers, bikers, food lovers, and adventurers. You are in for a treat when you stroll down Front Street in Poulsbo. Front Street is a vibrant hub comprised of restaurants, wineries, art galleries, and antique stores. Do not miss out on the famous Poulsbo bread baked by Sluy's bakery, and after a hot day discovering Poulsbo's treasures, cool your body temperature with some ice cream from Mora Iced Creamery.
Amid flanked mountains just 85 miles away from Los Angeles is the beautiful Valley town of Ojai. Ojai is derived from the Chumash language and means "Moon." It is popularly known as a "Haven for Creatives," drawing in a long lineup of creatives, from painters to sculptors, in the city. For lovers of outdoor activities, Ojai is the perfect vacation destination. Visitors can go horseback riding, hike down famous trails, and fish at the Los Padres National Forest. Additionally, make sure not to leave before indulging in a lovely wine tasting at the Ojai Valley Brewery and Winery!
Near the base of the Olympic Mountains is a small town along the Dungeness River named Sequim. This town was nicknamed "Sunny Sequim" because it sees less than 16 inches of rain yearly. This small purple town is famous for cultivating Lavender, giving it the title of the "Lavender Capital of North America." Needless to say, those with an affinity for the beautiful purple plant of lavender should definitely add Sequim to their travel list. Explore the farms, taking in every inch of the breathtaking view, or pack a picnic bag put on some comfortable footwear, and take a hike in the excellent time at the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Other crowd-pleasing attractions in Sequim include Geocaching along the Olympic Peninsula, Berry picking at the Berry Farm, shopping at the Farmers Market, and plenty more.
Along Bear Creek is a small modern town called Ashland located at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains.
This mountainous town has loads of activities for visitors all year round, particularly outdoor enthusiasts! Outdoor activities include, the snow-capped hills and Mountains around Ashland are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and even cycling. Wine connoisseur? This town might not look like it, but it is one of the top 5 wine regions in the world! Enjoy tasting some of the premium wines Ashland wineries have to offer. Do not end your vacation without a full body massage from Ashland's SPA to help you rejuvenate and revitalize after the long hike.
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Bainbridge is an island town on the Kitsap Peninsula, a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. The town is the second largest city in Kitsap County. Being a few minutes away from Seattle, it’s an excellent getaway location from the noise of the big city. There are a lot of activities in this small town to keep you entertained throughout your stay. Watch sea creatures such as the sea lion, harbor seals, and otters in their natural habitats on your way kayaking down the Kitsap Peninsula water trails. Take a giant leap of faith, and Scuba dive deep into the cold waters of Puget Sound!
Deep in the heart of the Wallowa Mountain range is a small, beautiful town named Joseph, tagged as the 13th most beautiful town in the United States. This town was formerly named the Silver Lake and the Lake City.
This small, breathtaking Oregon town is a delight to locals and visitors alike, offering everyone an equal amount of fun and joy.
In this small town is the famous Wallowa Lake, a popular site for many outdoor activities, from fishing to paddleboarding. This location is perfect for some family time. A hike up the Wallowa Mountain range gives you a breathtaking view of Joseph.
Seated in Santa Ynez Valley is the small Danish town of Solvang. The town is located in Santa Barbara County, California. It is popularly known as the “Danish Capital of America.” Scattered around the town are Danish icons, each telling a unique story. When strolling around the town, you are sure to find some Danish icons, including the Little Mermaid Fountains, the Giant Red Clog, and several others. Learn more about the Danish history of Solvang at local museums, such as the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum and the Solvang Amber Museum. For some impressive cuisine, enjoy some fine Danish dining and winning options at First and Oak or Sear Steakhouse.
From the ever-vibrant city of San Francisco to the beautiful city of California, The Pacific Coast is filled with a long list of large and captivating cities. On a vacation along the Pacific coast, it is easy to get lost exploring or feel overwhelmed by the metropolises. This is why it is often ideal to check out some of the lesser-known, small towns hidden between these regions! Allow this list to serve as a guy to planning a most beautiful and laid-back vacation on the Pacific Coast.