Sure, you’ve been to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, but there are many not-so-popular places in the Northwest that are just as amazing. Here are just a few of our favorites if you’re in the mood to be a little more adventurous and wander off the beaten path.
Check out the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Flavel House Museum, a historic Victorian home. And for something utterly charming, there’s the Museum of Whimsy, which—true to its name—is dedicated to the unique, strange, and just plain quirky. There’s also the Hanthorn Cannery Museum, which is housed in the old Bumble Bee Tuna canning plant. To get around Astoria, hop on the volunteer-operated Riverfront Trolley. A guide will regale you with fun tidbits and cool historic facts about the area. You can also just take a stroll or ride your bike along the Astoria Riverwalk, a paved stretch that’s lined with cool shops.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Bellingham is your spot. There’s an abundance of parks. Explore Whatcom Falls Park, Nooksack Falls, and Larrabee State Park. But, it’s not all about nature. The Fairhaven Historic District is a quaint, picturesque community with boutiques, art galleries, and fine dining. Plus, the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention draws science buffs of all ages. Go for a spin on Chuckanut Drive, a beautiful scenic byway. Or, pick up some fresh fruits and veggies at the Bellingham Farmers Market, held weekly on Saturdays.
San Juan Islands, WA
This archipelago off the coast of Washington state feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. But, it’s only 45 minutes from Seattle via plane or a few hours via car and ferry. Kayaking, whale watching, and hiking are among the most popular activities in this family-friendly paradise, which includes San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island. There are also artist studios and museums in historic and charming Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.