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Baby Names Inspired By the Pacific Northwest

Photograph by Twenty20

I was born and raised in Washington State. For a brief spell I moved away, but not far, just to our neighboring state, Oregon. So, to say I'm a Pacific Northwest girl at heart is about as true as true gets.

Here is the thing about the Northwest—living here, between the ocean and the mountains, I'm privileged to witness a beautiful mix of weather and greenery. So much gorgeous green. Our people are culturally diverse and our landscape, breathtaking. You can feel glory and excitement pulse through the wind and if you let it, the rain can breathe life into weary bones.

It's obvious I have a lifelong love for the Pacific Northwest, and so, after giving my third child the middle name, Rainier, I've been mindful of other, fabulous names inspired by the Pacific Northwest. So whether you're a PNW mama like me, or have visited and given part of your heart to my neck of the woods, let these names inspire you as you gather options for your future children!

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Olympia - The capital city of Washington and a perfect first name à la Olympia Dukakis.

Helen - Mountains are such a wonderful inspiration for names! Strong and mighty … and sometimes explosive like our Mt. St. Helens.

Rainier - My son was named for Rainier, Oregon, but Rainier is another PNW mountain.

Cascade (or Cascadia) - Again, mountains! This time, the Cascade mountain range.

Rain - We're known for it so we might as well name our children for it!

Columbia - Our largest river, and a beautiful one at that.

Douglas - If you're scant on name options, begin searching the names of trees … Douglas, Maple, Alder, Aspen, Cedar, Fir, Hawthorn, Hazel, Juniper, and Larch are all prevalent Northwest trees.

Cannon - A popular beach along the Oregon coast.

Baker - Another mountain and perfect skiing destination.

Salem - Oregon's capital city and the sweetest name for a little one if you ask me!

Everett - Truly, if you are on a name hunt, pull out a map! City names are rich when it comes to name choices. Pick a place special to your family or capitalize on something that just sounds right! Some Northwest favorites of mine include: Everett, Aberdeen (with the nickname Birdie … swoon!), Lacey, Vernon (for Mt. Vernon), Ellen (for Ellensburg), Keizer, Linn (for West Linn), Canby, Dallas, Astoria, Florence, Lincoln (for Lincoln City), Madras, Brookings, Vernonia, Phoenix, Dallas, Durham, Lyons and Prescott.

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River - Oh, look at me going all hippie on you! While you consider River maybe Wind, Storm, or Breeze.

Lewis or Clark - The adventurers who first explored the Pacific Northwest!

Lane - Just like cities, counties are a perfect place to begin your name search. I love Marion and Thurston too.

Pike - In honor of the fun and fabulous Pike Place Market.

Are you from the Pacific Northwest? Help me keep the brainstorm going by chiming in with your favorite names inspired by the upper left hand corner of the USA! #pnwisbest. And yes, I had to hashtag, because this place truly is!

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