Get to know some of the small cities and towns in each region, from hamlets of 100 to those with up to around 10,000 residents. These destinations offer visitors a more laid-back alternative to bustling cities. Read on to find out why these small towns are worth exploring.
This city of 3,400 became a green spot in the desert with the arrival of irrigation in the middle of the last century. Wedged in a bend in the Yakima River, it’s a known spot for hooking bass and salmon. If you’re looking for adventures of the Old West sort, visit any of the area’s nearby horse-roping arenas.
Located at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Naches has its roots in agriculture and logging. Members of a wagon train settled in the area in the 1850s rather than crossing the Cascades. Today, the area serves as a great base for exploring the orchards and fruit stands of the Yakima Valley. Visit in mid-September to experience Sportsman’s Days, where you’ll find apple-bin races, a fishing derby, and more.
Homesteaded by a Union colonel in 1882, Prosser is now surrounded by wineries and has grown into a riverside destination. During September, the town hosts multiple festivals, including the Great Prosser Balloon Rally, the Harvest & Street Painting Festival, and National Alpaca Farm Days.
Located just across the Yakima River from Zillah, Toppenish boasts the American Hop Museum, which is fitting seeing as the Yakima Valley produces more than 70 percent of the hops in the country. The town is also home to The Northern Pacific Railway Museum.
Still operating under its territorial charter from 1886, Waitsburg has stayed in touch with its roots, hosting a hopping Pioneer Fall Festival every September. Take in demos on churning butter, making candles, and more. No matter the season, the town’s main street beckons visitors with public art, local beer, gift shops, and more.
The town of Zillah is home to quirky sights, 20-plus wineries, farm stands, and plenty of dining options. One interesting attraction is the Teapot Dome Historical Site, which was built to commemorate an oil reserve debacle that started during the administration of President Warren Harding.