Mount Baker and lighthouse in Port Townsend, Washington.

7 Picturesque Small Towns in Washington for a Weekend Retreat

Washington is well-positioned to provide fantastic weekend getaways within both its dramatic natural scenery and its character-filled small towns. Whether travelers are looking for quaint seaside retreats along the Pacific Ocean in towns like Friday Harbor or Ocean Shores or seeking some of the Pacific Northwest's best outdoor sports in Leavenworth or around Olympic National Park, these seven picturesque towns are sure to surpass the expectations of any spontaneous travelers. 

Friday Harbor

Downtown Friday Harbor is the main town in the San Juan Islands archipelago
Downtown Friday Harbor is the main town in the San Juan Islands. Image credit EQRoy via Shutterstock.

Friday Harbor is a beautiful small harbor getaway amidst the San Juan Islands. Travelers will usually spend time admiring the artwork and interactive exhibits at the Whale Museum, enjoying the diverse selection of the Salty Fox Cafe, or enjoying a show at the unique San Juan Community Theatre. Aside from central beaches accessible through Jackson Beach Park, outdoor enthusiasts will drive to Lime Kiln Point State Park, where beautiful trails begin at the Limn Kiln Lighthouse and end at the panoramic views of the Westside Preserve. Visitors looking to enjoy the diverse downtown amenities should stay at the Juniper Lane Guest House, but those needing more outdoor seclusion might prefer to choose the Inn to the Woods. 

La Push

Sunset at Second Beach in La Push, Washington.
Sunset at Second Beach in La Push, Washington.

La Push is a small village with impressive oceanside landscapes on the Pacific Ocean. The town is quiet and modest, including the Quilete Marina and the popular River's Edge Restaurant. The surrounding beaches, however, are breathtaking. The headline attractions are the panoramic views and expansive sand of Rialto Beach and First Beach, accented by scattered sea stacks. Explorers can wade through the shallow seas or take the nearby Third Beach Trailhead, which passes through beautiful wooded trails toward the secluded Third Beach. Visitors looking to take a break from seaside relaxation or surfing here can commute inland to the majestic neighboring Olympic National Park. For more ambitious explorers, it is popular to stay overnight at the Quilete Oceanside Resort in La Push or at the Mora Campground. 

Port Angeles

The pier at Port Angeles, Washington.
The pier at Port Angeles, Washington.

Port Angeles provides the tranquility of a seaside town, the adventure of a mountain town, and the quintessential character of the Pacific Northwest. The long walkway of the Port Angeles City Pier and the bustling activity between the aquariums of the Feiro Marine Life Center and the sands of Hollywood Beach capitalize the downtown area. The harbor is unique for nature lovers because of the attached Ediz Hook, a narrow strip of rocky coastline reaching into the Salish Sea that holds Harborview Park. More ambitious explorers can stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to learn about the renowned park neighboring the town or choose more leisurely relaxation in Lincoln Park. Stay at Collette's Bed and Breakfast for a luxurious recluse in the surrounding nature. 


View taken in Sequim on the Coast of the Olympic Peninsula Washington state,
View taken in Sequim on the Coast of the Olympic Peninsula Washington state.

Sequim is a hidden treasure of northern Washington. One of the unique attractions in this picturesque Pacific Northwestern town is the Purple Haze Lavender Farm, home to flower picking and fantastic colors and scenery for picnicking. There are also great opportunities for wildlife observation here, like the feeding and petting opportunities at the Happy Valley Alpaca Farm or at the nearby Olympic Game Farm, where travelers have the opportunity to drive through groups of large mammals like bears, wolves, and big cats. Other popular adventure opportunities include easy hiking through the Railroad Bridge Park or leisurely walking through Carrie Blake Park. The Lost Mountain Lodge is the best place to stay in Sequim, especially for visitors seeking an idyllic refuge in this region's pristine wilderness. 


Wide view of people and dogs enjoying sunny weather in the downtown
View of people and dogs enjoying sunny weather downtown. Image credit Colleen Michaels via Shutterstock.

Central Washington's Leavenworth has its own distinct character. The surrounding Cascade Mountain Range offers fantastic winter sporting opportunities, most often through the Leavenworth Ski Hill and renowned off-season hiking through the popular Icicle Ridge Trailhead or the Old Pipeline Bed Trailhead. More distinctly, the allure of this town is its Bavarian-style architecture on Front Street, perfect for enjoying German foods at the München Haus or learning the town's history at the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. There are many beautiful mountain resorts in Leavenworth for prospective travelers. Abendblume is the closest to the Leavenworth Ski Hill, but the nearby Haus Rohrbach Pension and the Cashmere Mountain Bed and Breakfast are also top-quality accommodation options. 

Port Townsend

Mount Baker and lighthouse in Port Townsend, Washington
Mount Baker and lighthouse in Port Townsend, Washington.

Port Townsend is one of Washington's best secrets, buried beneath the complex of the San Juan Islands. Downtown Water Street has various attractions: Vista Point is the most popular sunset walkway in town, Ichikawa and Pourhouse are essential dining options for any visitor, and the Port Townsend Boat Haven is an intricate maze of dories and schooners. The most beautiful nature walk accessible within the town's core is the landscaped path through Chetzemoka Park, which includes tall trees and coastal views of Puget Sound. However, the most popularly recognized attraction in Port Townsend is the Fort Worden Historical State Park, complete with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and the scenic North Beach County Park. Stay at the Old Consulate Inn for an extravagant and unique stay with glowing oceanside sunrises and sunsets. 

Ocean Shores

View from the Rock Jetty on a Clear Sunny Day at Ocean Shores Washington
View from the Rock Jetty on a Clear Sunny Day at Ocean Shores Washington.

Ocean Shores provides travelers with the most expansive beach experience in Washington. Defined by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and North Bay on both sides, various popular beaches like Pacific Beach, Ocean Shores Beach, and North Jetty service the narrow land strip. But there is more than oceanside relaxation in Ocean Shores: the Pacific Paradise amusement center can provide a night of fun to any family, and the Ocean Shores Golf Course is renowned for its easy seaside breeze. Outdoor explorers can also adventure through accessible loops like the Damon Point Trail or forested trails like the Weatherwax Trail. Vacation International is the perfect accommodation in Ocean Shores because of its position along the Pacific's majestic sunsets!

The small towns of Washington uniquely offer the best in oceanside relaxation and majestic outdoor exploration. Hiking, swimming, and popular daytime activities are all abundant in towns like Port Townsend and its significant Fort Historical Worden State Park, or in the uniqueness of Sequim's Purple Haze Lavender Farm and Olympic Game Farm. The possibilities are endless when visiting any of these most picturesque small towns in Washington.

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