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PNW-inspired baby names for your little bundle o' joy

Yesterday a friend sent me a message asking for baby name insight. She rallied the right person, because one could say that brainstorming the perfect baby name is a side hobby of mine. Truly, I have a notes section on my phone strictly devoted to unique and clever monikers. I’m always on the lookout!

Need twin names that coordinate without being too matchy-matchy? Want to honor someone from your family tree? Like Elizabeth but want something a little more original?

I’m your girl.

Generally speaking, I’m all about giving children roots with their first or middle name. I think it’s grounding to have a connection to another person, place, or memory. Each of my children’s names bear heritage to a family member in some way. One is actually named after a town where someone we love lived. It probably all started with my being named after my grandmother. I love the special connection it created for us.

If you’re expecting, or merely a name gathering like myself, consider the Pacific Northwest region as inspiration for the perfect name. Start with Washington’s counties, neighborhoods, and bodies of water and follow their lead to indigenous plants and founding fathers (and mothers). All brimming with name ideas!

Honestly, what better way to show your love for the Northwest than by naming your child after a favorite location, landmark, or natural resource. Peruse the ideas below as you hunt for the perfect name for your little one. You just might find one that resonates with you and your story.

Natural Resources
This may be my favorite category when it comes to finding baby names. Pull out a map and find waterways and mountains, paths and prairies. Take it one step further and consider what flora and fauna grow in a place you love. What animals, large and small, roam about? With a name like River, Fern, Fox, or Maple, it will be obvious that you’re raising a little Pacific Northwest lover. Bottom line, be inspired by the great outdoors! Here are a handful of natural resources that can easily cross over to a name for your baby:

  • Columbia - For the river
  • Helen - For Mt. St. Helens
  • Cascadia - For the Cascade Range
  • Alpine - For the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Trail in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor
  • Si - For Mount Si
  • Serene/Serena - For Lake Serene near Index in the Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Liberty - For Liberty Creek in Spokane County
  • Lewis - So many places in Washington are named after the explorers of this region; highways, state parks, bridges, and a fort. But, for the scope of natural resources we’ll say this name is in honor of Lewis River Falls in Southwest Washington.

Cities, Towns, and Counties
As I mentioned, one of my children is named after a city. I love the strong, unique feel that city, town, and county names offer. Especially for middle names. Take for example, the city of Duvall. It’s a spin on a French name that translates to “of the valley”. Duvall is less likely to be thought of as a first name but imagine it as a middle name: Jonathan Duvall, Grayson Duvall, Abraham Duvall. Distinguished, isn’t it?

Here are some other city, town, and county names to consider:

  • Everett/Ever
  • Olympia
  • Blaine
  • Brier
  • Almira
  • Cashmere
  • Duvall
  • Monroe
  • Moxee
  • Hamilton
  • Ione
  • Quincy
  • Pacific
  • Thurston
  • King
  • Odessa
  • Waverly
  • Chelan
  • Benton
  • Grant
  • Roslyn
  • Roy
  • Selah
  • Zillah

As you peruse a map of Washington, ask yourself: “Where was I born? My parents? Grandparents?”, “Where do I have happy memories?”, “Where did my partner and I meet?”, “Where do I feel inspired?” Locations are goldmines for baby names.

You can make your baby’s name so very personal by zooming in closer on a map to consider a specific neighborhood. Take Seattle and all its options, for example:

  • Weston - In honor of West Seattle
  • Wallingford - Nickname Wally or Ford
  • Roosevelt
  • Ravenna
  • Phinney - In honor of Phinney Ridge
  • Ridge - Again for Phinney Ridge or an ode to the geological feature
  • Magnolia
  • Madison - In honor of Madison Valley
  • Bell/Belle - In honor of Belltown
  • Rainier - In honor of Rainier Valley
  • Brighton
  • Leroy - In honor of Fauntleroy

What about the Pacific Northwest brews baby name inspiration for you?