Overlooking Ashland, Oregon.

7 Coziest Small Towns in The Pacific Northwest

With the autumn season upon us, winter is just around the corner. The days are getting shorter, and the air is getting crisper. This is the time of year to enjoy the sparkle of the first snowfall and snuggle up in a cozy cabin. One of the best places to enjoy the season is in the Pacific Northwest.  While some towns in the region, such as Island Park in Idaho, are better known for their summer scenery, the towns are equally stunning in winter. There's something about the crisp air and snow that makes the atmosphere a little more charming. Surrounded by scenery of mountains and thickets of pine, the Pacific Northwest is a winter wonderland landscape, the perfect place to get cozy in a cabin. Here, we explore the seven coziest towns in the Pacific Northwest. 

Ashland, Oregon

Street view in Ashland, Oregon
Street view in Ashland, Oregon, via Nature's Charm / Shutterstock.com

First up on the list is a natural paradise in Jackson County, Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is a small town turned winter wonderland once the snow hits the ground. The town has majestic mountain ranges covered in snow in the colder months. A popular nearby mountain to explore is Mount Ashland, a towering peak in the Siskiyou Mountains. Just under an hour's drive from Ashland, Mount Ashland offers outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking. Dense forests and beautiful creeks are abundant in the town. Lithia Park is a great spot to see the town's outdoor beauty firsthand. The 100-acre park features Ashland's creek, a stunning Japanese garden, historical landmarks, and miles of hiking trails. Whether you want to ski the slopes of Mount Ashland or enjoy a stroll through Lithia Park, there are many activities to enjoy in the chilly season at Ashland.

Island Park, Idaho

Cabins by the river at Island Park, Idaho.
Cabins by the river at Island Park, Idaho.

Another town that comes to life in winter is Island Park, Idaho. The small town rests in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and gets around 200 inches of snow every year, making it the perfect place for outdoor recreation lovers.  Once you have had your fill of winter activities, you may want to rent a cozy cabin. Island Park has unique Mongolian-style yurts for rent. The yurts can accommodate five to six people each. Even if there is a snowstorm, you can stay warm, snuggled up inside. 

Astoria, Oregon

Cars on the street in downtown Astoria, Oregon
Cars on the street in downtown Astoria, via Enrico Powell / Shutterstock.com

Astoria is a charming port town town on the coast of the Columbia River. The town is popular to visit in the summer, but in the cooler months, there are fewer crowds. The winter chill brings out the town's quaint natural beauty. There are many cozy cottages available to rent, offering spectacular waterfront views surrounded by forest. Astoria also has a unique attraction in the cooler months, a Fisher Poet's Gathering. Every winter dozens of fisher poets and musicians go to Astoria to practice their craft. Local venues, such as Astoria's Wet Dog Café and the Voodoo Room host performances and workshops for musicians and writers. What better way to enjoy small-town charm then cozying up in a local shop with some coffee, listening to tales from the locals. 

Langley, Washington

Main street in Langley, Washington.
Main street in Langley, Washington

Langley, Washington, is another waterfront town. It overlooks the Saratoga Passage, between Whidbey Island and Camano Island. Langley's waterfront location, surrounded by dense forest makes for picturesque winter photos during the snowfall. In summertime tourists flock to the town for stunning waterfront views. In winter, the quieter streets make for peaceful, romantic strolls while watching the snow. The town has several charming bed and breakfasts where you can cozy up and enjoy the winter views.

Driggs, Idaho

Light traffic along the street in Driggs, Idaho
Light traffic along the street in Driggs, Idaho, via RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Those looking for a combination of adventure and relaxation in a small town should seek out Driggs in Idaho. The town is near the Teton, Big Hole, and Snake River mountain ranges. Considering its location, it's no wonder Driggs is famous for its breathtaking backcountry vistas.  The annual snowfall of Driggs is between 100 to 500 inches. The combination of stunning countryside scenery and high snowfall make Driggs the perfect spot for adventure seekers looking to go skiing or snowshoeing. To enjoy the quieter, cozy side of Driggs, go on a sleigh ride at Linn Canyon Ranch. Enjoy the views of the Teton Mountains while riding through snow-covered fields. Afterward, head back to the ranch and warm your hands by a fire with some hot cocoa.  

Hood River, Oregon

Columbia Gorge Hotel and Spa, historic landmark on the river in Hood River, Oregon
Columbia Gorge Hotel and Spa, historic landmark on the river in Hood River, Oregon

Those looking for a winter adventure in a cozy town should head to Hood River, Oregon. The town is an hour from Portland. Getting to the town takes travelers on a beautiful drive along the Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, a spectacular river canyon 80 miles long. The town is beautiful any time of the year, but particularly in winter. Hood River is a hub of winter activities. Meadows Nordic Center in town offers miles of groomed track through breathtaking wooded meadows and trails, perfect for snowshoeing. After trekking through the trails, relax indoors and enjoy the s scenery.

Snoqualmie, Washington

Historic Snoqualmie Railway Museum.
Historic Snoqualmie Railway Museum. Image credit ColleenMichaels via stock.adobe.com

Just a 45- minute drive from Seattle will bring you to Snoqualmie, Washington. The town has spectacular scenery with opportunities for hiking and biking year round. A must see site in town is the Snoqualmie Falls. Surrounded by thickets of pine, the Snoqualmie Falls are 270-feet tall. They appear more beautiful in the winter, with fog and mist rising from the water. Go to the Salish Lodge and Spa to enjoy the view of the falls snuggled up indoors. 

In Conclusion

The small towns of the Pacific Northwest are a winter wonderland of stunning vistas. From views of the Teton mountain range in Driggs Idaho, to waterfront views of the Columbia river in Astoria, these towns have a beautiful winter view for everyone to enjoy. While some people enjoy the views skiing or snowboarding, there are opportunities to enjoy the views while snuggled up inside. While each of the towns has unique attractions for visitors to enjoy, they all have one thing in common, they are a cozy winter retreat. So grab your warmest sweater, some hot cocoa and book your cabin stay in one of these towns to make the most of the chilly season. 

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