Aerial view of Port Townsend, Washington.

14 Small Towns In Washington Were Ranked Among US Favorites

Washington is known for its breathtaking landscapes, charming small towns, and rich cultural heritage. Located in the Pacific Northwest, Washington allows visitors to explore nature year-round in quaint towns such as Port Townsend and Winthrop, vibrant art communities in Friday Harbor and La Conner, and enjoy delicious seafood in Coupeville. From the island town of Anacortes to the mountain town of Leavenworth, here are 14 small towns in Washington that were ranked among US favorites.


The Main Street in Leavenworth, Washington
The Main Street in Leavenworth, Washington.

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is famous for its German-Bavarian architecture, offering a taste of Europe in the Pacific Northwest. With a population of 2,941, visitors can enjoy exploring the quaint downtown area, filled with shops, restaurants, and breweries. The town also hosts exciting annual festivals throughout the year, including the annual Maifest in the spring and Oktoberfest in the fall.

Along with its charming downtown, Leavenworth is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts during all seasons. Visitors can ski and snowboard down Leavenworth Ski Hill in the winter and hike along many trails in town during the warmer months. The area also attracts water enthusiasts who enjoy rafting and kayaking in the Wenatchee River.

Port Townsend

View of Port Townsend, Washington, from Puget Sound
View of Port Townsend, Washington, from Puget Sound.

Known for its well-preserved Victorian architecture, Port Townsend boasts a vibrant arts scene with many galleries and museums. Art enthusiasts and history buffs alike enjoy exploring the Jefferson Museum of Art & History, located in the 1892 Historic City Hall. Nearby is the Pacific Traditions Gallery, showcasing original artwork by Indigenous coastal tribes.

The town’s idyllic coastal setting is also a draw for visitors. Nature lovers and history enthusiasts enjoy the many activities at Fort Worden Historical State Park. The park offers visitors the chance to explore the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, discover history at the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, and relax along the shores at the park’s beachfront.

Friday Harbor

The harbor at Friday Harbor, Washington
The harbor at Friday Harbor, Washington.

With its slower pace of life and picturesque waterfront, it is no surprise that Friday Harbor is a favorite for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Located on San Juan Island, the stunning town is only accessible by boat or a small airplane. With its whale-watching tours and scenic harbor views, the journey to Friday Harbor is certainly worth it!

Outdoor enthusiasts can kayak, boat, and fish in the Salish Sea and hike along the San Juan Islands Trail. The Juan Islands National Monument also offers hiking, wildlife viewing, and kayaking opportunities on 1,000 acres of undeveloped island terrain. Downtown, visitors enjoy exploring the exhibits and programs at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, which showcases regional works by visual artists.


Downtown Winthrop, Washington
Downtown Winthrop, Washington. Image credit: MelissaMN -

Located less than 100 miles from Canada is Winthrop, a charming town of less than 500 people. Even with its small population, Winthrop offers Old Western charm and big outdoor adventures. The town is known for its seasonal recreation activities, including the largest system of groomed ski trails in North America. Visitors can ski in the Cascade Mountains in the winter, hike along trails in the North Cascades National Park in warmer months, and fish and raft in the stunning Methow River in the summer.

In the quaint downtown area, visitors are able to step back in time and experience the frontier era. The town’s Western-style buildings and rustic storefronts are home to local art galleries, including Winthrop Gallery and Glassworks of Winthrop. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Shafer Historical Museum is open for history buffs to explore the region’s past. Nearby is a local favorite, the Old Schoolhouse Brewery. The pub offers local beers and a riverside patio with geodomes that are available in the winter.


A grange in Langley, Washington
A grange in Langley, Washington. IanDewarPhotography -

Located on the shores of Whidbey Island, Langley is a quaint seaside village known for its artsy vibe and stunning views of Puget Sound. Visitors can browse unique art galleries, such as the Rob Schouten Gallery and Sculpture Garden in downtown Langley. Nearby is the Langley Whale Center, showcasing exhibits on orcas, gray whales, and other marine mammals found in the Salish Sea. A great time to stop by the center and the town itself is from March through May, when gray whales migrate in the waters.

Langley is also a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy exploring nature reserves and hiking trails. Putney Woods County Park offers 600 acres of nature to discover, including 15 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The South Whidbey Harbor is also a great place to retreat in nature, view wildlife, and soak up the sun along the port’s six beaches.


Aerial View of John Wayne Marina, Sequim, Washington
Aerial view of the John Wayne Marina, Sequim, Washington.

Known as the "Lavender Capital of North America," Sequim is famous for its stunning lavender fields and abundant sunshine, boasting more than 300 days of sunshine each year. The town is a favorite place to visit in the summer when its stunning lavender fields that blanket the landscape with vibrant hues. Visitors enjoy picking lavender at Purple Haze Lavender Farm and attending the Annual Sequim Lavender Festival in July. More outdoor activities await at Sequim Bay State Park, a favorite spot for camping year-round, oceanfront views on the Olympic Peninsula, and forested hiking trails.

The town's charming downtown, filled with quaint shops and local eateries, offers small-town charm and hospitality to travelers. For more than 40 years, the Oak Table Cafe has welcomed visitors and offered delicious breakfast all day. Nearby, history buffs and art lovers can explore the Sequim Museum and Arts. Along with showcasing local and regional history, the museum features artwork and is part of the town’s First Friday Art Walk.


homes by the water in Coupeville, Washington
Homes by the water in Coupeville, Washington.

Established in 1881, Coupeville is the second oldest town in the state of Washington, boasting a rich maritime history and well-preserved historic buildings on Whidbey Island. Visitors can explore Fort Casey Historical State Park, with its military batteries and historic lighthouse, built in 1903. The park is a favorite spot for birding and hiking, providing 1.8 miles of trails and access to the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Water enthusiasts can boat and saltwater fish at the boat launch, as well as go diving at Keystone Underwater Dive Park.

The town's maritime heritage comes alive at the historic Coupeville Wharf. Built in 1905, the wharf offers delicious dining at the Cove Cafe, mammal exhibits, and kayak rentals. For a glimpse at the town’s past, explore the Island County Museum, showcasing ancient Native American artifacts, regional artwork, and pioneer history.

Walla Walla

First snow of the season on the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla, Washington
First snow of the season on the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla, Washington.

Nestled in southeastern Washington, Walla Walla is an enchanting town known for its scenic beauty, thriving wine industry, and vibrant cultural scene. One of the premier wine destinations in the Pacific Northwest, Walla Walla boasts over 130 wineries producing award-winning wines that draw visitors from around the world. Gard Vintners, Spring Valley Vineyard, and Goose Ridge Estate Winery are just a few favorites in the Downtown Walla Walla Wine District.

Beyond its vineyards, the town's historic downtown exudes charm with its tree-lined streets, museums, and art galleries. Explore fine art at the Telander Gallery and works of various mediums by more than a dozen artists at the Combine Art Collective. Nearby is the Kirkman House Museum, a Victorian home built in 1886 that features period pieces. With its historic charm, eclectic arts community, and incredible wineries, it is no wonder that Walla Walla is a favorite town in Washington.

Gig Harbor

Sunset over Gig Harbor, Washington
Sunset over Gig Harbor, Washington.

Located just 14 miles from Tacoma is Gig Harbor, a charming maritime community known for its scenic harbor views of Puget Sound and vibrant arts scene. Visitors can explore the historic downtown area, including the Gig Harbor BoatShop. Visitors can learn more about the art of wooden boat building and the area’s history at the shop. More history is on display at the Harbor History Museum, showcasing maritime artifacts and a one-room schoolhouse.

The picturesque town is also a favorite spot for outdoor adventures. Along the scenic waterfront, visitors can view sailboats and fishing vessels in the harbor, enjoy community events at Skansie Brothers Park, and view the salmon-bearing stream in Donkey Creek Park in the fall. For water enthusiasts, Eddon Boat Park offers a public kayak launch, beachfront access, and a pier.

Port Angeles

The pier in Port Angeles, Washington
The pier in Port Angeles, Washington.

Situated on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Angeles offers picturesque natural landscapes and vibrant coastal charm. A gateway to Olympic National Park and the stunning Olympic Mountains, the town is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The area offers incredible hiking trails and breathtaking vistas along Hurricane Ridge, as well as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding on the 25-mile Olympic Discovery Trail.

Along with its beautiful landscapes, visitors can explore the charming downtown area and its unique history. The Port Angeles Underground Heritage Stories share the town's history in the early 1900s, when residents were concerned about flooding. Many of the streets were raised, and a network of underground tunnels was built that history buffs can discover on the tours. The town also provides a glimpse into its marine heritage at the Feiro Marine Life Center, showcasing exhibits on local natural history.


Main Street in Snohomish, Washington
Main Street in Snohomish, Washington. Image credit: ColleenMichaels -

Known for its historic downtown district and cultural heritage, Snohomish is a favorite for its small-town charm. Visitors enjoy strolling along the scenic Snohomish River Front Trail, with views of the tranquil water and wildlife in the heart of downtown. Throughout the year, the town hosts various Wine Walks in the Historic Downtown Snohomish district. The area also boasts many antique stores, shops, and local art galleries, such as Bruning Pottery. For those looking to explore the history of Snohomish, tour the Blackman Museum, built in 1878 by early settlers of the area.

The town of Snohomish is also a favorite for outdoor lovers. Nearby is Flowing Lake Regional Park, with a fishing dock, boat launch, beachfront, and several campsites. The town also boasts the Bob Heirman Wildlife Park at Thomas' Eddy, a natural retreat. The park offers an easy three-mile hiking trail along marshy meadows, scenic riverfront views, and swimming along three miles of shoreline in the park.


Davidson Building in downtown Ellensburg, Washington
Davidson Building in downtown Ellensburg, Washington. Editorial credit: Ian Dewar Photography /

Located in central Washington, Ellensburg is renowned for its vibrant arts community and rich Western history. The town’s Western heritage comes to life over Labor Day weekend when the town hosts the annual Ellensburg Rodeo. A local tradition since 1923, the rodeo is the oldest in the state and features more than 600 contestants. Throughout the year, history buffs can explore the town's history at the Kittitas County Historical Museum or take a self-guided walking tour of the historic downtown.

Nestled in the heart of Kittitas Valley, Ellensburg is also renowned for its outdoor adventures. The Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park provides117 acres for outdoor enthusiasts to explore, including swimming, boating, and hiking trails along the Yakima River. For a unique adventure, hike, fish, and tour Olmstead Place Historical State Park, which features homesteader family life and farming equipment from the late 1800s.

La Conner

The busy harbor in La Conner, Washington
The busy harbor in La Conner, Washington. Editorial credit: Andriy Blokhin /

With a population of only 963 people, La Conner offers small town charm along with a picturesque waterfront town known for its tulip fields, art community, and local restaurants. Visitors can explore the art museums in the town’s historic district, such as the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum, and the Museum of Northwest Art. The area also boasts several delicious seafood restaurants along the waterfront, including La Conner Seafood and Prime Rib, a local favorite.

For nature enthusiasts, spring is the best time to experience the vibrant beauty of La Conner. The annual La Conner Daffodil Festival happens in March, followed by the breathtaking Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April. Explore enchanting tulip gardens that surround La Conner, including RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town, and Tulip Valley Farms, all showcasing nature’s beauty.


View of Anacortes, Washington
View of Anacortes, Washington.

Anacortes is a favorite due to its unique blend of natural beauty, rich maritime heritage, and annual events. Situated on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes is located between Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, Canada. The area offers scenic outdoor adventures, such as boating and camping at Washington Park, hiking and viewing wildlife at Cap Sante Park, and kayaking around Deception Pass. In the spring, Anacortes is a favorite town to visit to view the annual whale migration.

Beyond its scenic splendor, Anacortes boasts a thriving arts scene and history to explore. Enjoy the annual Anacortes Arts Festival in August, featuring booth artisans, live music, and a wine garden. Throughout the year, history buffs can learn more about the town’s past at Anacortes Museum, uncover the town’s maritime legacy at Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center, and view the W.T. Preston, one of only two snagboats in the country.

America’s Favorite Towns In Washington

With their captivating landscapes, rich histories, and vibrant festivals, it is no surprise that these 14 small towns are ranked among America’s favorite places in the state of Washington. From the maritime legacy of Anacortes to Sequim, the “Lavender Capital of the World, each town offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether exploring the Western charm of Ellensburg or savoring local wines in Walla Walla, these Washington towns are some of the best places to discover the beauty and charm of the Pacific Northwest.

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