The Bavarian themed village of Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: Kirk Fisher /

7 Of The Most Walkable Towns In Washington

As the 18th-largest and arguably the second-most verdant state, Washington does not scream walkability. Sure, you must take a plane or a car or a ferry to visit Washington's faraway towns, but once you are there you can ditch your vehicle and enjoy the state by foot. Picturesque shops, toothsome eateries, breathtaking beaches, legendary landmarks, and peaceful parks can all be found within walking distance of each other. Tie on your comfiest pair of sneakers for these seven wheelless Washington wonders.

Port Townsend

Port Townsend Historic District lined with well-preserved late 19th-century buildings
Port Townsend Historic District lined with well-preserved late 19th-century buildings. Editorial credit: 365 Focus Photography /

Generally speaking, you can judge a town's walkability by its number of walking tours. Port Townsend has public tours, private tours, self-guided tours, and even history hikes. Legends and Lore of Port Townsend takes groups and individuals through the historic waterfront district on a quest to separate fact from fiction. Vanishing Murals of Port Townsend is a downtown scavenger hunt for 19th- and early-20th-century advertising murals. If those are too structured for your liking, grab a self-guided brochure and tour elegant downtown haunts like the Hastings Building and Rose Theatre or amble around the park and marina of Point Hudson. Nature lovers can choose history hikes, which include a 2.5-mile beachwalk at Port Williams/Marlyn Nelson County Park and an ecological exploration of the Dungeness River Levee Trail.


Downtown Roslyn, Washington
Downtown Roslyn, Washington. Editorial credit: Jaminnbenji /

Another good sign of a town's walkability is if it has been a stand-in for a TV town. Roslyn has been a stand-in for two TV towns: Cicely in Northern Exposure and Cañon City in The Man in the High Castle. A tourist can grab a beer at the Brick Saloon, which played The Brick in Northern Exposure, before walking a block to the Roslyn Café, whose iconic camel mural was blocked by a moose for Northern Exposure and covered with propaganda posters for The Man in the High Castle. In continuing to imitate the wayward moose, they can mosey over to the Roslyn Historical Cemeteries, a collection of 27 extremely walkable graveyards organized by ethnicity, nationality, veteran status, and fraternal organization.


Leavenworth, Washington, decorated for the winter holidays.
Leavenworth, Washington, decorated for the winter holidays. Editorial credit: Mark A Lee /

Leave your car and get your money's worth in Leavenworth, a community designed specifically for convenience and commerce. Inspired by the Danish-style oasis of Solvang, California, Leavenworth resembles a Bavarian mountain village, complete with walkable snow-swept roads lined with storybookesque architecture. Some of the gebäudes to reach on foot are the Rhein Haus Leavenworth, München Haus Bavarian Grill and Beer Garden, and Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. There is even a reindeer farm.

The fake Danish town of Solvang inspired the fake German town of Leavenworth, which in turn inspired the fake Old West town of Winthrop. After playing a bergsteiger in Leavenworth, you can play a cowboy in nearby Winthrop.

Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor, Washington
Customers waiting to order at the Friday Harbor Ice Cream Company in Friday Harbor, Washington. Editorial credit: The Image Party /

It takes only a Friday to see almost everything in quaint Friday Harbor, but you will likely want to stay a lot longer. This San Juan Island town has such wonderful waterfront haunts as Downriggers, Cease & Desist - A Friday Harbor Beerhouse, Memorial Park, and Fairweather Park, plus incredible inland attractions like the San Juan Islands Museum Of Art, San Juan Island Brewing Company, and The Whale Museum. Many of those sites are historic and are part of the Historic Friday Harbor On Foot tour. For example, Memorial Park contains 100-plus-year-old Dutch Elm trees and a granite monument dedicated to nine local men who died in WWI, while The Whale Museum is housed in the 19th-century Odd Fellows Hall.

La Conner

A windmill and a bush sculpture or topiary at the Skagit Valley, La Conner
A windmill and a bush sculpture or topiary at the Skagit Valley, La Conner, Washington.

Few Washington communities have the walkability diversity of La Conner. Located on the Swinomish Channel that connects to Skagit Bay, this tiny town offers walks along the water via Conner Waterfront Park and over the water via Rainbow Bridge. The Walking Tour of La Conner’s Historic Landmarks guides visitors to and from breathtaking historic buildings-turned-modern-businesses, such as the 1890 Colman Queen’s Saloon - Palace Meat Market (now the Skagit River Boutique and Two Moons), 1891 Gaches Mansion (now the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum), and 1891 Brunswick Hotel and Fair Store (now Nasty Jack's Antiques). Lastly, the La Conner Daffodil Festival and Skagit Valley Tulip Festival let visitors walk among millions of colorful and fragrant flowers each March and April.


Liberty Bay at Poulsbo, Washington
Liberty Bay at Poulsbo, Washington.

Poulsbo is a community of about 12,000 people on Liberty Bay. In 2022, it hosted Footprints Across Poulsbo, a 2.2-mile, 1.5-hour scavenger hunt for landmarks that now serves as a self-guided walking tour. It begins at waterfront Poulsbo with its ancient dock and takes tourists to the Jensen and Front intersection with the city's oldest business building and to 10 other sites before ending at the Nilsen-Sonju House, which was built in 1908 and is now the Poulsbo Historical Society Heritage Museum. If all that walking and sightseeing makes you hungry, stop for donuts at Sluys Poulsbo Bakery or schnitzel at Tizley's EuroPub right next door. Quench your thirst across the street at Valholl Brewing.


Front street in downtown Coupeville at night.
Front Street in downtown Coupeville, Washington, at night. Editorial credit: Ben Wehrman /

Yet another WAlkable WAterfront town, Coupeville, sits on Whidbey Island and claims quaint seaside businesses like the Vail Wine Shop & Tasting Room, Front Street Grill, Kingfisher Bookstore, and Toby's Tavern. Moreover, the town has dozens of historic sites that can be found via the Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Coupeville. Some of the oldest haunts on the tour are the John Robertson House, which was built circa 1864 and now hosts The Seaside Spa and Salon, and the site of the Blockhouse Inn, which opened in 1870, burned to the ground in 1968, and was replaced with the Island County Historical Museum in 1989. Coupeville even offers scenic strolls among ancient trees and modern art via the Price Sculpture Forest, a 16-acre nature preserve bedecked with giant sculptures. But beyond walkable shops and preserves, remember what we said about TV show production equating walkability? The same goes for movie production. Practical Magic was filmed in Coupeville. If you are due for a rewatch, look for a business called The Catch and Fry. It is actually Toby’s Tavern.

Washington, though vast and verdant, contains extremely walkable towns. One can search for advertising murals in Port Townsend, tour filming locations in Roslyn, play a Bavarian mountaineer in Leavenworth, admire the waterfront in Friday Harbor, see and smell thousands of flowers in La Conner, scavenge historic sites in Poulsbo, and explore a sculpture forest in Coupeville without ever stepping into a vehicle. Of course, you will likely need a vehicle to travel between the towns, but once you get to your destinations you can save on money, gas, and stress.

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