They dot the map and sit well off the interstate, and most of us pass them by on our merry way to somewhere else. But what if that small town was your destination?
The Northwest is full of historic townships, country villages and mountain communities that make for unique, low-key getaways. On our recent #NWTripChat on twitter, dozens of local travelers shared details of their favorite Northwest small town getaways. Here’s what they said.
Q: What are some of your favorite Northwest small town travel memories?
“Biking in Sisters Oregon and spending weekends in Redmond and Bend!” @pitstopsforkids
“Earlier this year spent a week on Orcas Island. Love Eastsound with all its character and charm.” @wildtalesof
‘”Digging for fossils behind the high school with my kids in aptly named Fossil, Oregon.” @WahkeenaPhotos
“Small towns on the Long Beach Peninsula – charming towns, old-style cottages, connected by long sandy beach. Summer memories!” @seattlekim
“Jacksonville Oregon – Victorian Christmas Parade.” @mrsbrownkiwi
“Orcas Island over 4th of July weekend & fun times in Eastsound at Historical Day Parade & the farmer’s market.” @WLTravelerJen
“Wine tasting by horseback and staying in a teepee at Cherry Wood B&B near Zillah.” @tourismpro
Q: What are your best tips for exploring small towns like a local?
“Dip into local cafe or pub for a bite, sit at the counter, strike up a conversation with the bartender or a local patron.” @seattlekim
“Ask a local! When you roll into town, take a stroll downtown and ask a passerby where the best breakfast joint is.” @nwtripfinder
“Don’t be afraid to ask the locals. They know ALL the off the beaten path spots.” @WahkeenaPhotos
“Ask questions of waitresses at diners and breakfast joints. Ditto for gas station attendants.” @pitstopsforkids
“Do some research before you head out…oh, and leave the fanny pack at home.” @MPGearCo
“Letting the locals know you are interested in their town. They are usually happy to tell you where to go.” @plumdeluxe
“When traveling with kids, I like to go into a locally owned toy store and ask for rec’s.” @CascadiaKids
“I love this tip: Visit a local bar on karaoke night!” @nwtripfinder
Q: Which Northwest small towns have unexpected or offbeat attractions for local travelers?
”I love the little towns of Bow and Edison. Awesome food and nice people. Plus Skagit Valley is beautiful!” @gritcitygirl
“LONG BEACH! Home of Marsh’s Free Museum’s Jake the Alligator Man and home of the historic Razor Clam Festival!” @Funbeachcom
“I think beautiful murals in NW small towns are incredible – Chemainus, Toppenish and Cottage Grove.” @nwtripfinder
“I love the bronze sculpture art in Joseph, OR. Gorgeous art with a view!” @seattlekim
Q: What are some “must-eat-at” restaurants in small towns in the Northwest?
“The Kitchen in Eastsound on Orcas Island. I think we ate there 3 times during our visit. Yum.” @wildtalesof
“For great pizza & beers on the way back from Mt Baker: North Fork Pizza & Brewery (and wedding chapel) in Deming.” @seattlekim
“The Depot Restaurant (Food to die for!) in Seaview, The Pickled Fish in Long Beach (live music+AMAZING view!)” @Funbeachcom
“Best pizza for me is Woodstocks in Corvallis.” @tourismpro
“The Painted Lady in Newberg, Oregon. Amazing fine dining restaurant in the Willamette Valley wine country!” @WLTravelerJen
”A personal favorite for me is Black Goose Inn at Beach Acre Resort in Parksville.” @VisitParksville
“Must-eat-at: Los Hernandez tamales in Union Gap. Bar none the best tamales around.” @tourismpro
“Taqueria Juquilita in Chehalis. Best Mex in state!” @gastrognome
“Ajax Cafe for dinner in Port Hadlock. Great food and also – everyone dons a fancy hat!” @nwtripfinder
“Country Boys BBQ in Cashmere, WA” @wildtalesof
“A must-eat on the way to Lake Mayfield is Spiffy’s in Chehalis, a classic American diner w/excellent homemade bread.” @LakeMayfield
“In Leavenworth, love SOUTH for yummy regional Mexican, and Munchen Haus (Beer and Brats)” @Leavenworthy
“The Brick in Roslyn. Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend. Wapiti Woolies for ice cream in Greenwater.” @moosefish
Q: What Northwest small towns are a must-stop for craft beer or hard cider?
“Port Townsend and its surrounding areas, so many great breweries up there!” @MPGearCo
“Hood River has it all. Craft breweries, great wineries.” @WahkeenaPhotos
Q: Which Northwest small town festivals are among your favorites?
Q: What about you? What’s your ideal small town getaway?