The town of La Conner, Washington.

9 Gorgeous Pacific Northwest Towns To Visit In 2023

The western United States, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, called the Pacific NorthWest or PNW, includes the states of Washington, Oregon, northern California, Idaho, parts of Canada, and sometimes Montana and southeastern Alaska. With prominent cities and small towns between the coast, mountains, and rainforests, the PNW is so varied that it caters to every taste. With its up-and-coming culinary scene of chic restaurants and farm-to-table menus, the PNW is a popular destination, especially during the summertime, for hiking and coastal beaches. These magical towns with warm locals and old charm amid modern-day attractions are at the doorstep of some of the best nature in the US, between the rugged shoreline and wilderness. Visit in the shoulder months for the lowest crowds in May and October, and return next year between January and April for a real winter wonderland escapes with snow sports and frosty fun for the whole family.

Cottage Grove, Oregon

Peaceful nature in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

A gorgeous town with an idyllic, storybook feel, Cottage Grove lives up to its "All America City" claim to fame through natural beauty and charm like no other. With a bounty of waterfalls just five miles apart, enjoy the easy chase to see and relax in bliss by some of the area's most stunning cascades, like Wildwood Falls. For another hunt, take a fun bike ride with your family or friends to discover six historic covered bridges in and around town.

The small town with a big character shows its charm through over twenty outdoor murals strewn about the decorated streets, depicting the scenic history through art. Cottage Grove will keep you on your toes with more chasing for its stardom sites from Buster Keaton's film, The General, and your family favorites like Stand By Me and Animal House. Enjoy discovering all the charms in between sips of wine at the gorgeous Saginaw Vineyard after a stroll. Grab a beer at Coast Fork Brewing before you depart with something from Territorial Seed Company to grow your own gorgeous piece of Cottage Grove at home.

Crescent City, California

Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, California
Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, a real NorCal charmer with a beautiful waterfront after the devastating tsunami in 1964, is a real breath of fresh air from the overcrowded big cities, with attractions that will rival any. The historic coastal town that came into existence in the mid-19th century is full of nature hikes and classic California pursuits to experience the fun state like back in the day. Discover family-inclusive Crescent City Cinemas with free refills, a game room, and more, like Tsunami Lanes, a vintage bowling alley unlike any other. Enjoy some cosmic bowling and a video arcade with games from your childhood. Snack all day long on nachos and the best fries in town, while the elevated spicy Italian sausage sandwich with some beer and wine may inspire you for the next day's hiking trails at Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.

The mystic coastal redwoods are a must-experience through the ancient atmosphere on a hand-in-hand stroll or a bike cruise, which you can rent from Redwood Rides at South Beach. Take the Crescent City Harbor Trail stretch of the infamous California Coastal Trail for paddling in the sea breeze with a salty mix in your hair and mist in your face. It offers one incredible view after another, from South Beach to Pebble Beach, while the Ocean World aquarium will make your gang smile at pool creatures like the performing sea lions. Enjoy daily beachgoing to the crystal waters of South Beach and Crescent Beach, with standup paddleboarding in just the right amount of surf to bite. The oceanfront Sleep Under Stars RV Park offers serenity right in the town's heart, on the sand at the sea's edge. Fall asleep to the sounds of lapping and wake up to the serene beaches with a gorgeous panoramic view from the Battery Point Lighthouse at low tide in 2023.

Friday Harbor, Washington

Aerial view of Friday Harbor, Washington.
Aerial view of Friday Harbor, Washington.

This beautiful small town is the commercial center for the San Juan Islands, on the largest island's eastern shore. Its epic wildlife and peaceful vibe lend a family-friendly environment for relaxing and adventurous getaways in the state. Immerse yourself in the elated, charming island life where everything is a stone's throw away, like the unreplicable 1.3-mile shoreline of the Salish Sea. Bike around the cultural and historical sights with museum stops, galleries, and local restaurants before taking a rest at Lime Kiln Point while whale watching over a picnic.

Friday Harbor is the most popular town on the magical sprinkling of islands in the corner of the Pacific Northwest, between Vancouver Island and northern Washington. The islands' treasures are endless, from shoreside strolls to lounging along the sands with glimpses of passing orcas to the epic San Juan Islands National Historical Park. Sightsee the former American and British military camps and visit the spectacular San Juan Vineyard for strolls and tastings in a wholesome atmosphere that feels like home, especially when you have a glass of wine from the island-grown grapes in hand.

Joseph, Oregon

The charming town of Joseph, Oregon.
The charming town of Joseph, Oregon.

This northeast Oregon gem with enormous charm is nestled amid some of the state's most spectacular landscapes. Immerse yourself in its one-of-a-kind atmosphere, referred to as the "Little Switzerland of America," over your favorite pursuits. From rich history to vibrant art offerings, you can enjoy everything with views of the breathtaking Wallowa Mountain Range. Find recreation and entertainment for all groups and ages, whether you are into the outdoors, a food connoisseur, or a creative type seeking inspiration in the small-town vibe. Joseph's reputation for its Main Street stretch studded with art galleries, cafes, breweries, gift shops, and boutiques makes it a must-visit in 2023.

Peruse the sprinkling of specialty shops and galleries with everything from world-class fine art to unique outfit pieces, chocolates, pastries, wines, and coffee, and visit the local market with fresh produce from the agriculturally rich land around. Away from creature comforts, Joseph's Mother-nature attractions offer endless adventures. Relax in nature, the family-friendly town atmosphere, and fancy stays where you will find great dining around each corner. Its lakeside outdoors beckon cyclists as much as photographers and solace seekers to explore on a fresh-air stroll, a bike ride, on horseback, or while lounging with a fishing rod.

La Conner, Washington

Rainbow Bridge in the Town of La Conner, Washington.
Rainbow Bridge in the Town of La Conner, Washington. 

Find La Conner, with a tiny population of around 1,000 just 70 miles outside of Seattle, for an engaging family vacation or a getaway with your friends in 2023. This gorgeous Washington town may be small, but its boundless natural beauty is hard to come by in such a scenic concentration anywhere else in the state. From fields of tulips to riverside pursuits and meandering trails through the pines, it doesn't get more picturesque, with thousands of outdoor enthusiasts descending upon the town each year. Visit La Conner for the spectacular display when the Tulip Festival takes over the town or any season for shopping, great art galleries, and a fantastic culinary scene.

The postcard-like town is not just about the natural wonders but also a place for culture freaks and creatives to enjoy an immersive experience with low crowds, where walking from one site to another against the glorious backdrop never gets boring. Swing by The Museum of Northwest Art to learn about how the artistic movement of the Northwest School of Artists started, evolved, and glorified the region today. Take a tour around the fantastic Skagit Historical Museum with its most impressive scenery, while the Quilt Museum is an architectural marvel in the town's oldest house, the Gaches Mansion.

Sequim, Washington

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

This town, pronounced "skwim," is gorgeous like no other in the state, making it a worldwide destination for flower lovers and appreciators of beautiful things. Make this an essential step to see lavender fields in the scented air and stock up on deliciously smelling products. The Lavender Festival in July, behind the town's moniker of "The Lavender Capital of North America, is a must-experience under the sunshine and almost no chance of rain. "Sunny Sequim" offers more beautiful weather than any other town in the state to fill up your days with outdoor pursuits in the glorious nature around.

The beautiful Olympic Coast town, at the door of the lush Pacific Northwest forests, is just an hour from the US's largest, the temperate Olympic rainforest. Start your perfect morning with a downtown stroll and a coffee in a cafe to soak in the small-town charms before making the drive to Olympic National Park with hiking trails and the Hoh Rainforest. Come for a weekend retreat or a vacation in 2023 with tons of local shops, food places, and lodging options like Juan de Fuca's cottages, a cozy retreat overlooking the gorgeous Sequim Bay, making it the best one yet.

Snoqualmie, Washington

Aerial view of Snoqualmie, Washington.
Aerial view of Snoqualmie, Washington.

Snoqualmie, home to the state's second-most visited natural landmark after Mount Rainier, is used to seeing curious faces and blowing minds. Visit the iconic Snoqualmie Waterfall on the National Register of Historic Places, dropping from 270 feet, twice the height of Niagara Falls. This incredible cascade sits amid the nature, history, and culture of Snoqualmie Falls Park, with two observation decks, narratives, gift and snack shops, and easy access over the sky bridge. Stroll through the historic downtown in splendid scenery studded with recreation pursuits and thriving cultural sights among historic vestiges from its early native beginnings and pioneering days.

Just 25 miles east of Seattle, Snoqualmie is both modern and innovative, wrapped in small-town charm and a quick hop to the mountains. Its unique atmosphere, together with adventure-spirited locals, offers a family-friendly environment to visit in any season, like skiing and hiking through the Cascade Mountains. Stroll through the park and marvel at the falls with your gang before finding something engaging for everyone, like the renowned luxurious spa by the falls or the Northwest Railway Museum with the area's industry history on display.

Stehekin, Washington

Boat landing at Stehekin, a secluded community at the north end of Lake Chelan - Washington
Boat landing at Stehekin, a secluded community at the north end of Lake Chelan in Washington.

The bucolic charm of this small town is unreplicable for a real getaway from it all in the North Cascades' Stehekin Valley, at the head of Lake Chelan's rolling hills. Come by boat, seaplane, or foot into a natural wonderland where the sights and the fresh air are intoxicating to the senses. Wander in by foot via extensively scenic century-old trail systems to the town of under 100 residents, where you will really unplug with no cell phone reception. The remote feel immerses you in a brand new world of feelings and natural history here in "Washington's most isolated town."

The unreal quietness, with only the humble hum of nature, is heavenly along the many walking trails and camping sites around or while splicing the tranquil waters in a kayak. Relax by the lake in solace with a fishing rod, on a family picnic, or in a close gathering of friends. Take a quick bike ride to the historic Buckner Homestead for strolls through its large apple orchard and historical insights.

Yachats, Oregon

Beautiful sea at Yachats, Oregon.
Beautiful sea at Yachats, Oregon.

Yachats' atmosphere between the temperate rainforest of the Oregon Coastal Range and the raging Pacific is something you must experience at least once in your life. Make 2023 the best year after stepping foot into this idyllic town, beat down by the surging waves of the mighty ocean. The Gem of The Oregon Coast boasts natural wonders like Thor's Well, a huge coastal sinkhole on the coast, and gorgeous hiking trails through the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, the highest point of the Oregon Coast.

Yachats is full of contrasts, where you will find the sought-after quiet escape, a sanctuary for shoppers and foodies like Ona Restaurant and Lounge, and the unmatched outdoor adventures that will be the most dramatic sights you will experience this year. The peaceful village combines the best of nature and culture with art galleries, a variety of reclaimed green space, and a rich native history, like its name, meaning "where the trail leaves the beach." Although it is a destination for thousands each year, its quintessentially charming nature makes it a wonderland for solace seekers, a quaint romantic getaway, or a family bonding trip.

These gorgeous PNW towns boast cute family pursuits like cafes and gallery strolls, as well as endless adventures on land and water. From biking to kayaking and whale watching in Puget Sound, you can also visit in time for the colorful annual Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley. Go camping in the summertime rainforest with waterfall chasing, or hike to the scenic hot springs in the Cascade Mountains. The PNW is a truly stunning region to explore in the solace of a close group anytime in 2023 on a memorable getaway or the best vacation of your life. With much less rain than you imagine, you will discover history, art, and culture in each small town with a unique character. Explore this popular region, a real hotbed for active pursuits and relaxation in nature in a small, gorgeous town atmosphere with a concentration of everything but crowds.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 9 Gorgeous Pacific Northwest Towns To Visit In 2023

More in Places