Discover Coastal Dream Towns

After canvassing all coasts for towns with seaside charm, a lively beach culture, and good housing, these are our top spots for planning quick trips or finding a new place to live.

Langley, Washington

The Accessible Island

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Dream Towns: Langley, Washington
Photographer Michael Hanson

Langley, Washington

It’s amazing what a boat ride to an island can do for the psyche. After a 20-minute ferry trip to long, thin Whidbey Island, suddenly the world is all green grass, rolling farmland, Puget Sound views, and one perfect town at the edge of it all.

One hour north of Seattle, Langley has New England charm and a skip in its step, possibly due to the extra sunshine it receives behind the Olympic Peninsula’s rain shadow.

Despite the island’s easy access, Langley (population 1,072) has maintained its small-town calm and local character. Architect Ross Chapin says they make it work with a “smaller is smarter” attitude, particularly when it comes to housing.

So far, home prices have not ballooned into the astronomical second-home stratosphere, and they also have held relatively steady in the bad market.

 

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