There are many small towns in Washington that are perfect for your next family vacation. Everyone has heard of Seattle but there are many other lovely small towns with a ton of outdoor activities like hiking, camping and swimming. Located conveniently next to the Canadian border, a trip to Vancouver or Vancouver Island is only a short drive away if you want to explore British Columbia. Check out these small towns in Washington that are worth consideration for your next trip.
Located in Skagit County between Seattle and the Canadian Border, La Conner is home to the famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Every April, hundreds of thousands of people come to view the magnificent tulip fields where hundreds of acres of tulips grow in every color of the rainbow.
La Conner is a charming small town with lots of restaurants and antique shops. There are many options for lodging such as hotels or bed and breakfasts and the Swinomish Casino and Lodge is only a 10 minute drive away.
Bellingham is a small city located about 40 minutes south of the Canadian border. This lovely small town has lots of great shopping and restaurants as well as beautiful parks and outdoor recreation. Take a stroll through the downtown area and the Fairhaven neighborhoods. Bring your kids over to Boulevard Park and walk along the seawall and stop to play at the playground. Whatcom Falls Park is a popular spot with locals and has a gorgeous scenic waterfall and nice, easy hiking trails.
Bellingham has a great arts scene and lots of tasty and affordable restaurants. Lake Padden is a family friendly beach to go for a swim or kayak on a hot summer day. Kids will also love to visit the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention or the Marine Life Center for some inexpensive, educational fun.
Fans of the TV show Twin Peaks will be familiar with Snoqualmie Falls. With more that 1.5 million annual visitors it’s one of the state’s most popular attractions. The opening credits of Twin Peaks feature the iconic falls that look remote are actually easily accessible.
At the falls you will find a two-acre park, gift shop, observation deck, the Salish Lodge and the famous 270 foot waterfall. Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Seattle, Snoqualmie, Washington is a Twin Peaks wonderland with plenty of opportunities to visit the filming locations of the show. Make sure you get there early so you can beat the crowds and get that iconic shot of the falls with The Great Northern Hotel in the background.
Parking and admission are free. There are two observation platforms. The top area is an easy walk from the parking lot, but the lower area requires a hike. The mist off the waterfall is incredibly powerful so be sure to bring a rain jacket and assume that you will get wet.
Leavenworth began life as a logging town, boasting the second largest sawmill in Washington by 1903. This Bavarian-style town curled up in the Cascade Mountains about a 2 hour drive from Seattle
Designed as a Bavarian-style tourist destination there is gorgeous natural scenery and architecture from southern Germany. There are plenty of Bavarian themed shops and restaurants and a Nutcracker Museum with over 6,000 different nutcrackers.
Leavenworth is great year round but Christmastime is the best time to go, as the town is routinely snow filled and covered in colorful lights. They also hold an annual Oktoberfest which is a great time to visit if you can’t make a trip during the holiday season.
Sequim is the lavender capital of North America and is one of the driest places in Washington State which makes it an ideal place to grow this fragrant herb. The sunny dry climate in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley is similar to the south of France.
Sequim is home to many festivals and events during the summertime including their famous “Lavender Weekend” which takes place on the third weekend in July.
Sequim has plenty of outdoor recreation available such as biking, golf, boating or you can even take a ride in a hot air balloon!
FAQ about small towns in Washington:
The smallest municipality by population is Krupp with 48 residents
Steilacoom is the oldest incorporated town in Washington, with a founding date of January 1851. A Maine sea captain named Lafayette Balch called the town Port Steilacoom after the Native American tribe in the area.
Mount Rainier National Park is located in west-central Washington state. Several major cities in Washington- Seattle, Tacoma, and Yakima- and Portland, Oregon, are within 200 miles of the park.
Snoqualmie is rated the safest city in Washington followed by Enumclaw, West Richland and Sunnyside.
Redmond ranks #1 followed by Sammamish and Issaquah.
What is your favorite small town in Washington State? Let me know in the comments!
Kevin W. says
Lol, having grown up within an hour of Bellingham, it is a laughable stretch to call it a “small” town. Maybe compared to big cities it is, but to people who actually grew up in small towns, Bellingham is definitely not a quaint little town. It is a sizable college town that dwarfs, say, places like La Conner.