From Sequim’s bounty of lavender farms and Poulsbo’s Norweigan-inspired ambiance to Forks’ "Twilight"movie series landmarks, the small towns of Washington’s Peninsulas and Coast region harbor big personality.
Read the other articles in our series about Washington small towns, organized by region (in no particular order): Metro Seattle, North Cascades, The Islands, The Gorge, The Volcanoes, North Central, Wine Country, Northeast and Southeast.
Spilling down a hillside to a sailboat-dotted harbor, Gig Harbor is a spectacular setting rimmed by an evergreen forest. Soak up the scenery on a guided kayak tour, check out gift shops or grab a bite to eat. The new Netshed No. 9 dishes up creative breakfasts, while historic Tides Tavern serves fresh, local shellfish.
Arts aficionados have plenty to admire in Norwegian-inspired Poulsbo, with its clutch of galleries on a charming main street paralleling the harbor. Check out the Front Street and Verksted galleries for local artwork, plus Nordic Maid for Norwegian imports. Four new craft breweries offer a cool and refreshing break from shopping.
At the tip of the Olympic Peninsula, the town of Sequim is drenched in sunshine for most of the year. More than two dozen lavender farms make this the lavender capital of the nation; the annual Sequim Lavender Festival is a highlight in July, but you can tour many farms year-round. For more outdoor fun, trek to the lighthouse at the end of the 5.5-mile-long Dungeness Spit.
This Olympic Peninsula logging town with a reputation for rain also has plenty of pop-culture cred as the setting for the "Twilight" movie series. In summer, town streets swarm with teens and tweens on quests to find popular film props like Bella’s red truck. For non-Twihards, driftwood-piled ocean beaches and the lush, moss-draped Hoh Rain Forest can be found just outside of town. Read more about Washington literary hotspots >>
With the maritime-focused Coastal Interpretive Center and gift shops selling kites and baubles, this laid-back community feels like a blast from the past. Resorts and restaurants back a pancake-flat beach that attracts clam diggers and horseback riders, plus zipping dune buggies and cruising cars.
Anchoring a 28-mile sand peninsula, this small town offers big adventure, with kite flying, clam digging and biking on the beachside Discovery Trail. Dig into exquisitely prepared seafood at The Depot Restaurant, and stop by the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, high atop a rugged headland in nearby Ilwaco, to learn how the duo found their way to the Pacific.
Photo credit: Long Beach, Washington's Long Beach Peninsula