From Vintage Cars to Iron Art: Top Things to Do and See in Dayton, Washington
Sitting in the Heart of the Columbia Basin Lies This Little Town with a Big Personality and Endless Things to Discover. Here are your top things to do and see in Dayton, Washington!
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail or local to Washington and looking for a weekend getaway, the small town of Dayton, Washington has so much to discover and enjoy. Whether it be hiking, demolition derbies, rodeos, vintage car shows, or county fairs, this town has it all. This blog lists the top things to do and see in Dayton, Washington. Read on for local events, interesting spots, dining, and lodging!
Local Events & Festivals in Dayton, Washington
All Wheels Weekend
Held annually every Father’s Day weekend from June 17th to 19th, All Wheels Weekend isn’t your usual car show! Popular and well-attended, the event features a parade of vintage cars, drag racing, poker, and even a golf tournament! It also features a demolition derby. With live music, food vendors lining Main Street, and a children’s play-zone, everyone can join in the fun!
Brix & Brew Benefit Auction
Taking place every March, Dayton’s Chamber of Commerce hosts its own benefit auction to fund local tourism projects. Visitors can bid on and taste various locally produced wines. Catering is provided by a sponsoring local vendor. Dine, make new friends, and bid on fine wines for a good cause!
Every Thanksgiving weekend from November 26th to 27th, Dayton welcomes the Christmas season with a real kickoff! The event features hayrides, a Christmas bazaar, a parade and tree lighting ceremony, and even an ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ 5K jog! Whether you want mead or hot cocoa to warm you up, local food & drink vendors have you covered. Want to pet a live reindeer and Santa’s beard in the same night? This is the Christmas event for you!
Columbia County Fair
Funnel cakes. Corn dogs. Waffle cones. Strawberry lemonade. Ah yes, you can already smell it, the Columbia County Fair! The Fair begins Fall from September 9th to the 11th. Popular to Southeast Washington, you can get a free single-day pass by donating 5 canned food items. Rodeos, eating contests, bouncy houses & rides, a craft market, and so much more can be found here.
From May 27th to 28th, visitors can expect live music, beer tasting, and a wild time at the Dayton Days Parade and Rodeo! Art, food, and craft vendors cater to the public as marching bands and local dancers make their way down to the Fairgrounds. Dayton Days celebrates the city for everything it is!
Dayton’s Most Interesting Spots
Art & Museums
Dayton, Washington is unique as the home of the Palus Indian tribe, known for living in the Palouse Falls region. The Palus Artifacts and Veterans Museum allows visitors to learn about their culture and involvement in tribal conflicts and the Civil War. To learn about Dayton’s location in the Lewis and Clark expedition, visitors to the Patit Creek Campsite. Here, visitors can see dozens of iron statues that depict what life was like on the Trail.
Established in the 1860s, many of Dayton’s historical structures still stand. Dayton’s Historic Courthouse of 1886 and the Smith Hollow Schoolhouse of 1900 have both been restored to allow tours. Built in 1881, Dayton boasts the oldest surviving train station in Washington state; museum today, visitors can tour the Dayton Historic Depot.
Managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, visitors to Dayton have 7 hiking trails to choose from! The most famous routes include Palouse Falls, Oregon Butte Trail, and Middle Point to Bluewood. Maps and seasonal information for these trails and more are listed here. Touchet River and Tucannon Lakes offer a fantastic fishing experience in pristine waters. Bluewood mountain offers a skiing experience like no other with ski resorts dotting the region.
Dayton offers many quaint, niche shops. For artisanal soaps, check out Biker B’s Bathworks. For something sweet, handmade candies from Mama Monacelli’s make the perfect souvenir gift! Local produce and meats can be found at the Blue Mountain Station and Dayton Mercantile. For local weavings and every trinket imaginable, make a stop in the city’s Main Street Marketplace!
Some of Washington’s Best Dining Experiences
For a speedy food stop, stop by the town’s General Store for ice cream, dry foods, drinks, and more. Need something more filling but no time for a full meal? Blue Mountain Station’s soups, sandwiches, and sweets have you covered there!
Brunch & Bakery
Love cinnamon rolls but wish you could eat them on an antique sofa? Annie’s Attic and Cafe is the place for you with its eccentric but homey atmosphere. Locally Nourished is a great breakfast option for those seeking healthy, organic breakfast options. Offering all day lunch and breakfast options with baked bread, Moose Creek Cafe & Bakery is another great stop in historic Dayton.
Lunch & Dinner
If you need to feed and please the whole family, Snake River Grill offers great menu picks for both kids and adults right on the Snake River.
My Dad’s Place provides a warm Italian atmosphere in small-town Dayton, offering pizzas, calzones, salads, soups, and more!
Wineries & Pubs
Red Band Cellars offers a wide selection of its home-ripened, regional wines with tastings running from noon until 5:00 PM. It also offers a wide selection of cheeses, fruits, and hors d’oeuvres. Need something filling to go with a beer? Check out Chief Spring’s Fire and Irons Brew Pub for a pint and pizza or burgers!
Lodging: Feel Right at Home
Best Western Plus Dayton offers luxury accommodation with amenities like a swimming pool and a complimentary breakfast. Blue Mountain Motel is an affordable option conveniently located within walking distance of Downtown and Main Street. Weinhard Hotel is a fantastic lodging option for history buffs, with its Victorian design and classic decorating. Complete with period furniture, staying here is an experience itself!
Vacation Rentals & Cabins
Hiromi’s House is a cozy, fully furnished vacation rental home that sleeps 6 in Dayton’s historic district. For larger groups that value privacy, Stonewood can sleep +20 people in a beautiful wooden cabin, perfect for personal & company events.
Campgrounds & RV Parks
The Lewis and Clark Trail State Park offers beautiful views like no other, with 24 standard campsites and 5 RV campsites available. Note that you will need the Discover Pass to set up your campsite with some annual free days available to the public.
Looking to do campfire cooking near your RV or a cabin? Cabin rentals, picnic tables, and safely maintained fire pits can be found at Lyons Ferry Marina Koa.
Dayton’s smallness and its passion for preserving its history are at the heart of its vibrant culture. This wholesome, creative community has opened its arms to the Nation by inviting you and I to gather in the fun of celebrating its unique personality. Whether you’re passing through on your travels or want to settle in for an extended holiday, Dayton showcases an array of interests to keep everyone wanting to come back for more. Whether you’re a fan of cars, hiking, rodeos, and more, this town delivers it. Don’t hesitate to add Dayton to your list of Destinations along the National Lewis and Clark Historic Trail!