Take a breather from the city this Fall and escape to somewhere where time stands still. Visiting small towns is more relaxing than a city getaway and you can still find culture, art, artisanal goods and foodie finds.
We found the most adorable small towns around British Columbia and in nearby Alberta and Washington State for you to visit this Fall. Get wrapped up in the whimsy and romance of these historic small towns that are perfect for exploring with friends.
Whether you want to stay at an incredible Airbnb or just drive through as many cutesy towns as possible, our list has you covered!
Home to Canada's most popular Airbnb, Mayne Island has a ton to offer visitors despite is diminutive size. Mayne Island lies between Vancouver Island and the B.C. Mainland. Small town charms include friendly locals, socially acceptable hitchhiking and a little spot called The Groove that serves the Island's best pizza and hosts live music.
Make your way to Victoria and then board the Coho ferry bound to Port Angeles, Washington. This seaside town is the gateway the Olympic Penninsula National Park where you can discover lush old-growth temperate rainforests.
Castlegar is one of the most picturesque towns on our list because it sits in a valley next to a river surrounded by mountains. They have an adorable Canadian Pacific Railway Station Museum where you can step back in time. There's also plenty of opportunities for kayaking, hiking, biking and exploring Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park.
Even though Powell River is on the B.C. mainland, you still have to take two ferries to get there! We promise the trip will be worth it because the historic town of Powell River feels pretty undiscovered. This Fall, check out their Willingdon Beach Trail for a super easy hike with plenty of things to explore like the old railway trestle. When you get thirsty, head to Townsite Brewing to wet your whistle!
What makes Poulsbo, Washington so adorable is that it's known as Little Norway! The pedestrian-friendly town centre is perfect for exploring local shops, artisans and galleries. Poulsbo had such an influx of Norwegian immigrants that at one point in the 1880s, Norwegian was the only spoken language here!
Head to 'Mighty Peace Country' in Alberta for wild backcountry and the ultimate rustic Fall vacation. You can stay at a ranch or lakeside guest house in Peace River and see the sublime autumnal colours of the landscape on your outdoor adventures. The town itself is thriving with culture and alive with history.
Everyone knows that Bella Coola is the perfect summer destination, but a visit in the Fall will take you closer to the town itself to discover local art, indigenous history and cuisine. Check out The Rooster outdoor cafe at Government Wharf for lunch and embed yourself in this fun and creative community.
Hugging the natural fjord of Hood Canal, Hoodsport is a small town in Washington State that's worth a visit this Fall. With plenty of cabins to rent like Jupiter's Landing, this seaside town has everything you need to explore the local wilderness both inland and on the water!
Hope is a totally underrated destination! This little B.C. town has a lot going for it. This little town sits right by where the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers come together so there are plenty of hiking opportunities nearby with amazing view points. There's more to Hope than meets the eye. Check out the local shops and eateries in town like Anna's Incense for freshly dried bundles of sage and fill up on a hearty breakfast at Home Restaurant to fuel up for your adventures.
It's impossible to take a bad photo of the emerald waters at Lake Louise. You will definitely want to visit the Fairmont at Lake Louise for a little dose of luxury, but Lake Louise has more to offer than these two iconic spots! Take the gondola up to Whitehorn Bistro for incredible views and good food.
Everyone knows Tofino is the number one place to visit on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, but the nearby little town of Ucluelet is a better pick for a laid-back visit. They have awesome eats from cute local bakeries serving hand-blended teas, a place to get wood-fired pizza and fresh seafood food trucks. You'll have to explore this quaint seaside town yourself!
Unlike other small towns on this list, you can leave your hiking boots at home when you visit Port Townsend. The small Victorian-style aesthetic of this town is why people come! This is no place for big box stores because locally run shops line the streets of Port Townsend. There's lots to discover here, especially on their historic waterfront.
Why wouldn't you want to visit a place called Beaverlodge? Imagine the fun you'll have creating puns and having your photo taken with the hilarious roadside attraction—the largest beaver in the world. Beaverlodge has more than just this fun sideshow. Visit the town's library and gallery for a taste of Beaverlodge and the historic McNaught Homestead. Just be careful googling 'Beaverlodge', kids!
You might have driven through Sooke before, on your way to Port Renfrew and the start of the West Coast Trail. Those who veer off the highway to explore Sooke and its surrounding municipalities are rewarded nicely! From a magical garden cafe where you can get your hair done, to secret swimming pools and a place called Whiffen Spit—Sooke is one can't-miss small town on Vancouver Island.
This cosy little town in Washington is a must-see this Fall. Their Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum will be running special Pumpkin train at the end of October! Visit their working historic steam train that's over 100 years old for some serious Hogwarts Express vibes.
If you're an animal lover, you have to make your way to golden ASAP. Not only can you go horseback riding, but you can also visit the wolves at the wildlife centre! The town of Golden is home to a bohemian bookstore and cafe hideaway and a truly unique dining experience with international flavour in the lodge-inspired Island Restaurant.
This super tiny town in Northern Alberta is home to Devonshire Beach, one of Alberta's few natural beaches. You can visit their local craft brewery, Dog Island Brewing, to meet with locals and find out all the hidden gems in Slave Lake and the nearby Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park.
When it comes to adorable towns in B.C., Fernie is at the top of everyone's list! Though Fernie is a popular destination in the Winter when it's dusted with snow, the Fall is a great time for a visit since it will be nice and quiet — you'll have the place to yourself! From their quirky little museum and heritage buildings to their artisanal chocolate shops and public art walk, this is one place you need to check out!
The old-timey streets of La Conner are what endears us to this sleepy little waterfront town. Originally a mill town, La Conner bursts to life in the Spring with their Tulip Festival. In the Fall, the town will be more quiet and all yours to discover. Check out the local shops and galleries tucked into gorgeous historical buildings!
This wouldn't be a complete list of adorable small towns without at least one Pioneer town honourable-mention! Pincher Creek is home to the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village. With 27 heritage cabins, a general store and museums filled with historic curios and artifacts, this Pioneer town is a fun way to spend a Fall afternoon!
You're in Ranch Country when you enter Merrit! There are dozens of lakes and ranches to explore nearby. You can go horseback riding, take a historic walking tour and check out Spences Bridge where you can go trainspotting and look out for wild Mountain Sheep!
Fall City's claim to fame is the Nelson Treehouse, which is basically a childhood dream come true. Only 30 minutes from Seattle, you can sleep amongst the trees this fall and get a front row seat to the changing leaves!
Get some artisanal bread and cheese and take yourself out on a Fall picnic in funky Cowichan Bay! If you want to spend a little time here, check out this Airbnb float-home for a totally West Coast experience.
Learn about the Trochu's French settlers and visit their Arboretum to take in the colours of fall. Their Centennial Trails make a great spot for an autumn wall, the kind with a coffee in hand! Looking for more adventure? The nearby park Dry Island Buffalo Jump is the place to go for an unforgettable view of the Red Deer river valley.
The town of Ladysmith used to be called Oyster Harbour, and if that isn't adorable then I don't know what is! This is one of the first settlements on Vancouver Island, so the town has a distinctive Edwardian aesthetic that you can see along its streets and in its heritage buildings.
This Bavarian-style town in Washington is seriously adorable. Every Fall, they have an Autumn Leaf festival to celebrate the change of the season, and the spectacular colours combined with the European-aesthetic of the town make Leavenworth a must-see.
A visit to Northwest B.C. is not complete without a stop in Terrace! There are so many opportunities to immerse yourself in indigenous art and culture here. Planning on spending the night? Check into the Hidden Acres Farm and Treehouse Resort where you can sleep only five minutes from Downtown Terrace and stay in a treehouse-style cabin!
Camrose is a seriously idyllic small town in Alberta. Their lovely Mirror Lake goes through the centre of town and has a flock of swans that call the lake home. They have a heritage railway and a museum if you want to discover local history, but this cute town is just the perfect place to spend a quiet Fall afternoon.
If you only make it to one small town this fall, let it be Revelstoke. It looks like it's simply taken from the pages of a storybook! Visit the kitchy Enchanted Forest attraction for fun afternoon or just take a stroll through the town and end up at DOSE Coffee for an instagram-worthy lunch.