Autumn afternoon at the Bavarian themed village of Leavenworth, Washington. Editorial credit: Kirk Fisher /

9 Most Underrated Towns In Washington To Take A Trip To

Explore Washington State beyond its city skylines and discover nine towns, each offering a unique and underrated experience. From serene waterfronts to historic streets, these destinations provide a diverse array of attractions. Ideal for travelers seeking to delve into the state's multifaceted charm, these towns boast a blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and modern amenities. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, these towns in Washington are well worth the visit.


Old buildings in the historic western town of Winthrop, Washington. Editorial credit: Gareth Janzen /
Old buildings in the historic western town of Winthrop, Washington. Editorial credit: Gareth Janzen /

Winthrop is a delightful town that whisks visitors back in time with its Old West theme, nestled in the scenic Methow Valley. The town's wooden boardwalks and rustic storefronts create an atmosphere reminiscent of a bygone era, inviting visitors to step into a different world. Winthrop is not only a historical marvel but also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The town serves as a gateway to the vast, beautiful landscapes of the North Cascades.

The Shafer Historical Museum is a treasure trove of the town's mining and pioneer history, offering a glimpse into the life and times of early settlers. For those who love the great outdoors, the Methow Trails provide an extensive network for hiking, biking, and, in the winter, cross-country skiing. These trails meander through some of the most breathtaking scenery Washington has to offer. Winthrop's unique blend of Western heritage and access to the natural beauty of the surrounding area make it an inviting destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike. The town's array of accommodations, from quaint cabins to comfortable hotels, ensures a pleasant stay for all visitors.


The docked boats at the marine with the coastal residential area in Anacortes, Washington.
The docked boats and the coastal residential area in Anacortes, Washington.

Anacortes, known as the gateway to the San Juan Islands, sits on the edge of a majestic coastline, offering a diverse array of adventures. This coastal town is not just a launchpad to the islands; it's a destination in its own right, with a compelling mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. Anacortes is a prime spot for whale watching, where visitors might catch a glimpse of orcas dancing in the waters.

The Anacortes Community Forest Lands presents a lush, green expanse perfect for hiking, biking, and bird-watching, while Cap Sante Park offers breathtaking views of the marina and islands. The town’s maritime history can be researched at the Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center & W.T. Preston Museum. With a range of accommodation options from picturesque waterfront hotels to cozy bed-and-breakfasts, Anacortes is an ideal spot for those seeking a blend of coastal adventure and small-town charm.


 One of the picturesque Bavarian themed buildings in the town of Leavenworth, Washington, USA. Editorial credit: Kirk Fisher /
 One of the picturesque Bavarian-themed buildings in the town of Leavenworth, Washington, USA. Editorial credit: Kirk Fisher /

Leavenworth offers a captivating Bavarian escape right in the heart of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. This village is a remarkable display of European charm, complete with timber-framed buildings and lively streets that mimic the quaint towns of Bavaria. It shines during its renowned Oktoberfest, where the vibrant pulse of Bavarian culture is felt through music, dance, and an array of culinary delights.

As winter sets in, Leavenworth transforms into a spectacular festival of lights, becoming a dazzling wonderland that attracts visitors from far and wide. Adventure seekers will find their thrill on the Wenatchee River, with rafting experiences ranging from gentle to intense. For those who prefer land over water, the surrounding mountains offer a plethora of hiking trails amidst stunning scenery, such as the Enchantments Traverse. At the end of the day, visitors can relax in the village’s cozy accommodations, making Leavenworth an ideal blend of excitement and relaxation.

Gig Harbor

Beautiful Day in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Beautiful Day in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Gig Harbor, nestled along a beautiful harbor, exudes a calm and inviting maritime ambiance. This gorgeous town, with a rich history rooted in fishing and boat building, feels like a serene escape from the everyday. The Harbor History Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s past, narrating stories of its maritime heritage. Skansie Brothers Park, with its splendid waterfront views, is a perfect spot for a stroll or a picnic.

For those looking to explore more of the outdoors, the Cushman Trail presents an idyllic setting for hiking amidst Washington’s lush natural landscape. The town’s downtown area, dotted with unique shops and local eateries, invites visitors to take stock of its quaint charm, one such eatery being Tides Tavern. With a variety of accommodation options, from inviting inns to charming lodges, Gig Harbor is a wonderful destination for those seeking both tranquility and a rich cultural experience.

Walla Walla

USA, Washington State, Walla Walla County.
USA, Washington State, Walla Walla County.

Walla Walla, nestled in the southeastern part of Washington, is a town celebrated for its rich wine culture and fascinating historical background. Known for its lush vineyards and exquisite wineries, Walla Walla is a haven for wine enthusiasts who come to savor the local flavors and partake in wine tours. But there's more to this town than just its wines. The Whitman Mission National Historic Site provides a poignant look into the area's past, offering insights into the lives of early settlers and the region's Native American history.

The town's vibrant downtown area is a bustling hub of activity, where visitors can wander through a variety of shops and art galleries as well as indulge in gourmet dining experiences, such as The Marc Restaurant. The blend of Walla Walla’s historical depth and contemporary leisure activities makes it a standout destination for those seeking a sophisticated escape. The town's array of upscale inns and hotels, such as The Finch, provide comfortable and luxurious accommodations, enhancing the overall visitor experience in this charming Washington town.


View along 1st Avenue in downtown Snohomish Washington. Editorial credit: Ian Dewar Photography /
View along 1st Avenue in downtown Snohomish, Washington. Editorial credit: Ian Dewar Photography /

Snohomish, affectionately known as the "Antique Capital of the Northwest," offers a delightful journey into a past era with its historic charm and setting. The town's historic downtown, lined with antique shops and vintage buildings, provides a perfect backdrop for a gentle day of exploration and treasure hunting. The Centennial Trail is a haven for cyclists and walkers, offering scenic views of the Washington countryside.

Nestled along the Snohomish River, the town also presents opportunities for kayaking and fishing, appealing to those who enjoy water activities. Accommodations in Snohomish include charming bed-and-breakfasts and riverside lodges, such as the Snohomish Inn, which offers visitors a beautiful and comfortable place to wind down. The town’s blend of historical ambiance, unique shopping experiences, and natural beauty makes it an attractive destination for a relaxed and enriching visit.


Downtown Langley on Whidbey Island on a fine summer morning. Editorial credit: Ian Dewar Photography /
Downtown Langley on Whidbey Island on a fine summer morning. Editorial credit: Ian Dewar Photography /

Langley, situated on the picturesque Whidbey Island, is a tranquil town that boasts stunning views of the Puget Sound and a vibrant arts scene. This artistic community is known for its galleries, studios, and the local theater, offering a rich cultural experience to its visitors. The Langley Whale Center, dedicated to marine life education, adds an educational aspect to the town’s coastal charm.

The town’s streets, lined with boutique shops, cozy cafes, and gourmet restaurants, create an inviting atmosphere for relaxed exploration. Langley hosts various cultural events and festivals, reflecting the town’s creative spirit and strong community bond. The serene ambiance and beautiful seaside setting of Langley, combined with its unique blend of art and nature, make it a peaceful escape, ideal for relaxation and artistic inspiration.


Winter road in Chelan, Washington. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /
Winter road in Chelan, Washington. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

Chelan, perched on the shores of the magnificent Lake Chelan, is a lively town that perfectly balances outdoor adventure with serene lakeside relaxation. Known for its crystal-clear waters and sunny climate, Lake Chelan is a hub for water sports, from leisurely boat tours to exhilarating water skiing. The town is not just a paradise for water enthusiasts; it also has a vibrant wine culture as well. Visitors can indulge in tastings and tours at the local wineries, enjoying the region’s renowned wines.

Downtown Chelan, with its charming shops, enticing restaurants, and lively event spaces, pulsates with activity, especially in the summer months. The town offers a variety of accommodations, including lakeside resorts and quaint bed-and-breakfasts, catering to a wide range of preferences. Chelan’s unique combination of natural beauty, recreational activities, and bustling town life make it a sought-after destination for those seeking both adventure and tranquility in a picturesque lakeside setting.

Port Townsend

View of downtown Water Street in Port Townsend Historic District lined. Editorial credit: 365 Focus Photography /
View of downtown Water Street in Port Townsend Historic District lined. Editorial credit: 365 Focus Photography /

Port Townsend, perched on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, is a historic seaport town that radiates Victorian charm and maritime heritage. Its beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture and panoramic waterfront views create a picturesque setting that feels like a step back in time. The town’s storied past comes alive at landmarks such as the Rothschild House Museum and Fort Worden State Park, where history buffs can also enjoy sweeping views of Puget Sound.

Outdoor enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to kayak along the rugged coastline or stroll through Chetzemoka Park, an oasis of tranquility overlooking the water. The town’s vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and artisan shops, adds a contemporary touch to its historic streets. Port Townsend's eclectic mix of cozy cafes, fine dining, and unique boutiques make its downtown area a delightful place to experience.

For visitors seeking a stay steeped in history and charm, the town offers a variety of accommodations, including historic bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels. Port Townsend’s combination of Victorian elegance, cultural richness, and stunning natural surroundings makes it a captivating destination for travelers seeking both historical insight and coastal beauty.

These towns in Washington State each offer their unique slice of the state's diverse character, from the Bavarian charm of Leavenworth to the maritime spirit of Anacortes. Ideal for travelers looking to delve into the lesser-known yet equally captivating aspects of Washington, these destinations provide a rich blend of history, culture, and natural splendor. Whether it's for a weekend getaway or an extended stay, these towns promise memorable experiences and warm hospitality.


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