The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. Encompassing the areas surrounding Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada, the Pacific Northwest boats towering mountain peaks and wild, rocky shores. It is also home to charming towns with quirky character.
We have searched the West for the best small towns that inspire dreams (and maybe moving plans) for foodies, beach goers, and adventure lovers. Below we have compile our six favorite small towns in the Pacific Northwest:
Crescent City, California
Only 20 miles south of Oregon, sea-faring Crescent City is home to the northernmost of California’s lighthouse stations. From beaches and giant redwoods to historic lighthouses, museums, surfing and whale watching tours, Crescent City offers so many exciting things to do and something for every visitor to enjoy. After getting your fill of lighthouses, wander the Crescent City waterfront and marvel at how this city was entirely rebuilt after a devastating tsunami in 1964.
Florence is a coastal city in Lane County, in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located at the mouth of the Siuslaw, visitors to Florence can enjoy camping, fishing, dune buggy rides, sand boarding, shopping, hiking and more. Along Highway 101, there are many new stores in this growing area of the Oregon coast. Be sure to bring your camera to this town, too, as you could have the chance to spot migrating whales just off the shoreline. Don’t forget to see the beautiful lighthouse when you visit.
A twenty-minute ferry ride to Whidbey Island, Langley is located just one hour north of Seattle. Despite the island’s easy access, Langley has maintained its small-town calm and local character. With a population of just over 1,000, Langley’s quiet streets are lined with historic buildings, book stores, antique shops, clothing boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Don’t forget your camera! The town overlooks the waters of Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Mountains.
Recently named one of Washington’s best small towns, Sequim is a coastal gem that has the blue sky and outdoorsy vibe you’d expect, but lots of surprises too. If you’ve heard of Sequim (pronounced skwim), you may know that it’s the driest spot in Washington and a perfect place to grow lavender. Visit during July to get a chance to experience the 3-day Lavender Festival, where you can learn about the farmers and how lavender grows, all while picking up your favorite lavender products. During your visit, take your family to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to more than 250 species of endangered birds, fish, and mammals. For a great dinner, stop by the Alder Wood Bistro for veggies grown in the restaurant’s backyard garden.
Dubbed California’s oldest seaside resort town, Capitola began in the 1860s as a place for people from “over the hill” in San Jose to escape the heat. Though world-renowned surfboard and wetsuit manufacturer O’Neill is headquartered here, the town also maintains its historic charm and Mediterranean feel. While you’re there, be sure to take a hillside “cable car” to dinner overlooking Soquel Creek, next to scenic gardens and waterfalls, at the iconic Shadowbrook Restaurant.
Have you had the opportunity to venture to the Pacific Northwest? Would you like to add any Washington and Oregon hotspots to our list? Comment below and tell us about your favorite places to visit!