Between holiday travel, big family meals, and gift-giving, this can be a tough time of year to think about spending money on a vacation. But don't worry: We're all in luck, since we live in such a beautiful state! Here are five of Washington's best small towns for a quick weekend getaway.
La Conner. About an hour north of Seattle, the drive through the Skagit Valley and to La Conner is a beautiful road trip to take any time of the year. La Conner has tons of art galleries, interesting curio shops, and restaurants. Try visiting La Conner's Museum of Northwest Art or the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum for some local culture. For a great meal, try the duck confit at the cozy Nell Thorn Restaurant and Pub.
Road trip length: 70 miles, 1 hour and 20 minutes
Sequim. If the rain starts to get you down, Sequim is a great place to spend the weekend since it's the driest spot in western Washington, getting just 18" of rain each year. (You can thank the Olympic Rain Shadow for the dry weather.) Take your family to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to more than 250 species of endangered birds, fish, and mammals. For a great dinner, stop by the Alder Wood Bistro for veggies grown in the restaurant's backyard garden.
Road trip length: 68 miles, 2 hours and 15 minutes (the shortest route includes a ferry)
Winthrop. This old west town is a great spot to feel like you've stepped back in time. While there are tons of outdoor activities to enjoy during the summer, there are still lots of places to visit once the air has turned a little cooler. Visit the Shafer Historical Museum for a look back at the small town's turbulent history and stop by Sheri's Sweet Shop for one of the best cinnamon rolls in all of Washington.
Road trip length: 240 miles, 4 hours
Port Townsend. Port Townsend is one of my favorite places for a romantic weekend getaway. There are tons of cozy bed and breakfasts, great places to walk on the beach, and plenty of quaint little restaurants to keep you coming back again and again. Try to catch a show at the Rose Theatre or check out the old military facilities at Fort Worden State Park.
Road trip length: 57 miles, 2 hours and 15 minutes (the shortest route includes a ferry ride)
Forks. Even if you're not a Twilight fan, there are plenty of reasons to visit this tiny town in Washington. (And if you are a Twilight fan, I don't have to explain the draw.) Some of Washington's most beautiful and wild beaches are near Forks and you'll be amazed at the beautiful photographs you can take in the area. Visit the Forks Timber Museum for a look at the area's logging history.
Road trip length: 140 miles, 3 hours and 45 minutes (the shortest route includes a ferry ride)