The Pacific Northwest (PNW) has become quite the tourist destination over the past few years due to Oregon and Washington’s stunning forests and mountains. While the hikes of the PNW are to die for and the mountains will blow you away, it has a lot more to offer than just scenery.
What everyone keeps forgetting is the cute cities scattered throughout these green states that you simply must visit on your trip. Whether you’re on a road trip hitting as many towns as you can, or you can just make it to one or two, these endearing places won’t let you down.
Cannon Beach, OR
Starting off the list is one of our favorites, Cannon Beach. It has become a popular destination over the years for both tourists and locals because of its delightful downtown and scenic beach. Cannon Beach has its fair share of ice cream and candy shops, and quite possibly the most dogs you’ll ever see in your life. See, it’s truly paradise.
While the Oregon coast doesn’t have the warmest beaches, there aren’t many other places where you can see huge trees or forests lining the ocean. You may also recognize this beach and Indian beach from famous movies like “The Goonies,” where Haystack rock was featured. Indian beach, a hidden beach right next to Cannon, is also where “Twilight” and “Point Break” were filmed.
The charming town of Manzanita may remind you of Cannon Beach but smaller, and far less crowded. With a population of fewer than 600 people, the city is most definitely a hidden gem.
While the coastal town may not have as much of a downtown to explore, it does have some great stores for you to peek in. It also has plenty of hiking opportunities that will give you unforgettable views. If you’re looking for a place to stay on the Oregon Coast, Manzanita is a great option and more bang for your buck.
This snowy town is quite possibly the opposite of Cannon Beach. This Bavarian-style village is located in central Washington, right in the middle of the Cascade Mountains. It’s best known for its alpine-style architecture, making it most popular in the winter, when all of the buildings are covered in snow.
Leavenworth is also home to the popular Nutcracker Museum, which holds nutcrackers that are centuries old. The town is perfect for the adventurous type, surrounded by ski areas, wineries and hikes galore.
Now, you are sure to love this scenic little town. Poulsbo, also known as Viking City, is located in Washington, just a little bit northwest of Seattle. The enchanting marina is a definite must, like its Nordic architecture giving it one of the cutest downtowns on this list.
The city sits right along the bay, which offers boating and kayak rentals. There are also some great places to eat, with plenty of bakeries and quaint coffee shops to settle your cravings.
Port Angeles, WA
This coastal city gives you the perfect opportunity to explore the upper left side of Washington state, home to the Olympic National Park. Port Angeles sits right on the water, making Canada just a boat ride away and holds a wide variety of activities for any tourist.
Like many of the other cities on the list, there are a lot of easily accessible hikes close to the city. Oh, and there’s whale watching, of course! The area has become one of the most popular destinations for humpback whale viewing in the country and is also a great place to catch sight of an Orca. The area is also rich with Native American history and culture, so be sure to visit one of the many museums while you’re there. Oh, and just a warning, it’s real rainy here, so don’t forget your raincoats!
There you have it, some of our top spots. These, of course, are only just a few of our favorites, and there are many more out there for you to explore, too. The Pacific Northwest has SO much to offer and the small towns are just the beginning. What are your waiting for?!