There’s no doubt that the West Coast has a plethora of popular and well-known vacation destinations. However, for those wishing for a location a little off the beaten path, there’s still plenty of charming towns in California, Oregon, and Washington to choose from.
From beach towns to mountains; isolated hamlets to islands, these towns have it all, including small-town charm that will win over any traveler.
11 Sequim, Washington
Washington state is home to some of the most memorable small towns around, and Sequim, known as the lavender capital of North America, is no exception. Though situated on the Olympic Peninsula, it’s not quite as rainy as many of its Washington counterparts--so visitors can hike, bike, fish, or simply relax in sunny Sequim.
- Where To Go: Olympic Discovery Trail, Sequim Lavender Festival Weekend, Sequim Farmer’s Market, explore the charming downtown
10 Ashland, Oregon
Ashland can be found in the foothills of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges, so visitors can expect some beautiful scenery on their trip. Even though this small town is less than 20 miles north of California, it’s a great stop for those looking for a cozy hamlet away from it all.
- Where To Go: The annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Crater Lake (an hour’s drive from Ashland), Lithia Park
9 St. Helena, California
Wine lovers will rejoice when visiting this small Napa Valley town known for its historic sights and fresh, farm-to-table restaurants. And, of course, its stellar wineries!
- Where To Go: Bothe Napa Valley State Park, Napa Valley Wine Train, Lake Hennessey
8 Bainbridge Island, Washington
Just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Bainbridge Island is known for its incredible scenery, including forests and beaches. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to explore, whether on foot or by kayak.
- Where To Go: Bainbridge Art Museum, Waterfront Trail around Eagle Harbor, Bloedel Reserve
7 Cannon Beach, Oregon
Looking for that beach vibe? Then head to Oregon’s Cannon Beach, located on the coast and home to Haystack Rock--one of the state’s most famous landmarks. The views alone are worth the visit, but travelers will also love the charming village full of great restaurants and an eclectic art scene.
- Where To Go: Cannon Beach History Center, Coaster Theatre, Ecola State Park
6 Solvang, California
Travelers who are seeking a Scandinavian vibe will love the Danish-style architecture of this quaint, lovely town. There’s even a windmill and replica of the Little Mermaid statue found in Copenhagen. But that’s not all—wine lovers will find plenty of vineyards to explore, and the whole family will enjoy the peaceful downtown filled with old-world charm.
- Where To Go: Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, Solvang Motorcycle Museum, ride the Solvang Trolley
5 La Conner, Washington
People who want a real small-town experience will love La Conner. With less than a thousand residents, this Skagit Valley town is the epitome of charm—the people are friendly, and the scenery is lovely in this small community.
- Where To Go: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, the Kukutali Preserve, Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, the Rainbow Bridge
4 Cottage Grove, Oregon
Cottage Grove is the “Covered Bridge Capital of the West,” and with good reason—there are no less than six of them in the surrounding area. Bordering the Oregon foothills and nearby Oregon Wine Country, visitors will get their fill of fun outdoor recreation.
- Where To Go: Saginaw Vineyards, Wildwood Falls (or any of the many other waterfalls in the area), Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Tour Route
3 Inverness, California
Located in Marin County, this small town has plenty of beaches for those seeking spectacular water views and a fun place to relax. Kayaking, boating, and camping are all popular activities here.
- Where To Go: Tomales Bay State Park, S.S. Point Reyes Shipwreck, Point Ryes National Seashore, the Cyprus Tree Tunnel
2 Astoria, Oregon
This lovely port town is super close to the Pacific, so visitors can expect some outstanding views of the ocean. But that’s not all; Astoria is also known for its Victorian flair, local history, and eclectic downtown vibes.
- Where To Go: Oregon Film Museum, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Liberty Theater
1 Leavenworth, Washington
Straight out of Bavaria, the architecture in this cozy hamlet will transport travelers to an idyllic alpine village straight out of Germany. Not only is the village picturesque, but it has plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities and a lovely downtown with plenty of shops and restaurants.
- Where To Go: the Peshastin Pinnacles, the Greater Leavenworth Museum, Lake Caroline, Oktoberfest
Visitors looking for laidback escapes that still boast plenty to see and do; gorgeous landscapes, and jaw-dropping scenery; and vibrant, distinctive tourist attractions, will appreciate many of the small western towns in California, Washington, and Oregon that are overflowing with small-town charm and hospitality that will wow every type of vacationer.