While visiting iconic American cities is without a doubt a great way to spend a vacation, small towns shouldn’t be overlooked as potential getaway destinations either. The west coast of the United States, spanning from Washington State to California, is home to countless such towns. Here are 10 to consider checking out in 2022!
1. Carmel, California
Carmel, also known as Carmel-By-The-Sea, is a small southern Californian town that is home to beautiful outdoor scenery as well as some historic spots and great shopping options. You’ll want to check out the nearby Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. In town, save some time to see the historical Carmel Mission. Then, consider going wine tasting Kori Wines or looking around various boutique shops such as Sylvie Unique Boutique.
2. Ashland, Oregon
If you’re a lover of literature or theatre, or you simply enjoy a great show, this is the option for you! Ashland, Oregon, is the hometown of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Contrary to what the name suggests, a wide variety of plays from classics such as Great Expectations to modern works are showcased in one of the town’s gorgeous theatres. You might also want to explore the nearby Lithia Park, which features gorgeous foliage in the fall.
3. Bainbridge Island, Washington
This small town is a short ferry ride away from the much more well-known Seattle! This makes it both an amazing option for a day trip as well as a weekend getaway. Whether you’re planning on staying one day or several, the island has countless options for delicious food. Try Bruciato for some great Neapolitan-style pizza, or Casa Rojas for Mexican food. It’s also very walkable – you’ll definitely want to save some time for strolling around and exploring local shops.
4. Solvang, California
This quirky town in southern California has a unique twist – you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another country with a visit here. Solvang is known for its Danish-style architecture which highlights the town’s rich Danish history. It’s also an amazing place to go wine-tasting.
5. Astoria, Oregon
This small Oregon town’s most iconic feature is the looming Astoria-Megler Bridge, but it has plenty else to offer visitors as well. Located about 14 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River, you can look forward to enjoying riverfront views during your stay. You’ll also have ample options for lodging, ranging from local options such as Astoria Riverwalk Inn to chain options such as Hampton Inn and Suites. Check out Pier 11 for a variety of shops, or the Columbia River Maritime Museum to learn more about the area’s history.
6. Cottage Grove, Oregon
Here’s a great option for wine lovers and nature lovers alike! Located about thirty minutes from Eugene, Oregon, Cottage Grove is a charming small town that features a covered bridge and a collection of outdoor murals. In addition to checking out local sightseeing spots, consider enjoying a wine tasting at Saginaw Vineyards. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, there’s three nearby waterfalls to hike to.
7. Seaside, Oregon
Take in some beautiful views of the Oregon coast with a trip to Seaside. This oceanfront town is most popular to visit in the summer months when warmer weather makes for a perfect day at the nearby Cannon Beach. It’s a great vacation destination year-round, though – winter months are actually better to visit if you’re looking for a quieter getaway and to spend more time checking out the town’s shops and eateries than at the beach.
8. Ojai, California
This small town in southern California offers a wide variety of activities that make it worth visiting. Lovers of the outdoors will be especially at home with a trip here – some of the many popular things to do include hiking local trails or going on guided horseback rides.
9. Leavenworth, Washington
Much like Solvang, Leavenworth, WA features some unusual architecture. While Solvang’s fairytale-esque buildings highlight its Danish history, Leavenworth instead features a Bavarian theme. This is a great option for a getaway year-round, as there’s a great selection of things to do in any season. If you’re visiting during the Holiday season, you’ll get to enjoy the intricate Christmas lights that decorate nearly every storefront, as well as the chance to go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Summer visitors will want to stroll out to the nearby Blackbird Island or consider going river tubing on the Wenatchee River.
10. Florence, Oregon
Florence, Oregon, offers the typical gorgeous views of the Oregon coast, as well as a few attractions unique to the town. For example, it’s home to one of the largest sea caves in the country. You can view the cave by descending via elevator into it. If you visit during the winter months, you’ll also likely get to see some of the numerous sea lions who lounge in the cave. In addition to the sea lion cave, Florence is also nearby the historic Heceta Head Lighthouse. In the town itself, there’s no shortage of shops as well as eateries in the historic district.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories