Coastal vacation destinations are very popular with those looking to get away from it all, especially during the summer. The Pacific coast in Washington State is not nearly as popular as the beaches of California or even Oregon, but it does offer a great way to experience a more rugged type of beauty. The rock formations, high cliffs, and dense forest that reaches right up to the beach in some areas all end up being very popular with vacationers from all around the United States.
Ocean Shores is a beach community that sits approximately halfway down the Washington coast. This community rests on a narrow peninsula and was developed in the 1960s to be a playground for the rich and famous who would fly there from the Los Angeles area. In it’s heyday, many Hollywood stars vacationed in Ocean Shores, Washington. Today this sleepy little beach community still offers a fun and active time for travelers that come there. One of the added bonuses that the community offers is it’s placement very near a number of other locations that are also worth visiting. Here is a look at five great day trips travelers going to Ocean Shores, Washington can take part in.
Located just east of Ocean Shores are the neighboring cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam. These two communities have strong ties to a few historic Washington State industries; fishing, shipbuilding, and logging. The waterfront area here is like a stroll down memory lane with many ships, buildings, and docks dating back to the middle of the last century, if not later. The two cities sit on the shores of Grays Harbor and water access is available, as are tour boats and charter fishing companies as well.
The towns are well equipped to entertain visitors with a fine selection of restaurants, shopping opportunities, museums, and historical sites. The Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is also located nearby and offers guests a great opportunity to get views of both Grays Harbor and some of the wildlife that can be found in the area.
Though Seattle is the most famous city in the state of Washington, the city of Olympia is the capital. The city is located less than two hours east of Ocean Shores and offers a number of things to do. The city is located on the southern shores of Puget Sound and there are a number of fine restaurants there that serve some of the fresh seafood caught in the local waters. There are also many great shopping opportunities available there, including both shopping malls and downtown shopping districts. The downtown has a great selection of art galleries and antique stores for guests of the city to explore.
One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Washington State Capitol campus which includes the state legislature, state Supreme Court, and governor’s mansion. Located near the campus is the Capitol Museum which contains a good amount of history relating to the early days of Washington and the capitol buildings. The main buildings are also open to the public and tours are available of certain areas. Other attractions in Olympia and the immediate vicinity include the Olympic Flight Museum, Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, Millersylvania State Park, Priest Point Park, Hands On Children’s Museum, and the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
The city of Westport, a small community dependent on the shipbuilding and fishing industries, sits just across the mouth of Grays Harbor from Ocean Shores. This destination can be reached in one of two ways. By car guests can travel east towards Aberdeen and then south around the eastern and southern shores of Grays Harbor, this trip can take approximately an hour and a half. The more popular way to go see Westport is to take the passenger ferry that brings tourists and locals to and from Ocean Shores and Westport.
Visitors coming to Westport will encounter a small marina that is both lively and calm at the very same time. There are a number of shops and eating establishments lining the road that faces the marina, many of them geared specifically towards tourists coming to the area. Some of the other attractions in Westport include a small aquarium, sandy beaches on the west edge of town, and the Westport Maritime Museum.
Olympic National Park
One of the most spectacular national parks in the entire United States is the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. The park is located north of Ocean Shores and can be reached via a drive of about an hour and a half along the Washington coastline. The park is huge, and to explore it all would require more than just a day away from Ocean Shores. The Hoh Rain Forest is located within the park, this is the only actual rain forest located in the lower 48 states, and one of the few alpine rain forests in the world that can be easily visited.
The park and its surrounding area also features other attractions like the incredibly scenic Hurricane Ridge, Shi Shi Beach, Rialto Beach, Lake Cushman, Dungeness Spit, Crescent Lake, Sol Duc Falls, Sol Duc Hot Springs, and Mount Olympus. There are a great many hiking trails in the park, some that take travelers inland towards the alpine meadows and rugged mountainous areas, and others that lead guests along the coastline where they can experience both time on the beach as well as time in the forest that leads right up to the shoreline in many places. There are few places that possess the natural beauty that Olympic National Park has. Anyone taking a day trip there from Ocean Shores should remember to bring something warm to wear and also their camera.
Located further south on the Washington coastline from Ocean Shores is Long Beach. Long Beach is a peninsula that protrudes northward from the mainland and separates the Pacific Ocean from Willapa Bay. The area is known for having one of the longest beaches in North America, with much of the 28 mile long sandy expanse being drivable too. The area is a great vacation destination with a number of restaurants and business designed to cater towards tourists coming to enjoy the coastal area. Some of the popular activities to participate in there include kite flying, beach combing, surfing, wildlife viewing, and more.
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There are a number of yearly festivals held in many locations on the peninsula, usually at least one every weekend. Some of the more unusual places to visit there include the World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame and the Cranberry Museum. There are a number of opportunities for tourists to find their way out onto the water at Long Beach including everything from small boat rental to evening cruises. Some of the more popular water diversions include charter fishing trips, boat tours, kayak rentals. An interesting historical site for many people to visit is Cape Disappointment, located just west of the community of Ilwaco, which was the farthest west that the famous explorers Lewis and Clark reached on their mission to explore the newly acquire western portion of the United States.
Ocean Shores is a fun place for both couples and families to experience. It offers endless beaches, many of which cars are allowed to drive on, and a great little community too. One of the many strengths of Ocean Shores though is the many valuable destinations that are all located within an easy drive from there. Visitors wanting to experience new things can simply drive north, south, east, or even take a ferry or boat ride across the harbor. There is no excuse to be bored in Ocean Shores because entertainment of all kinds can be found both within the community and all around it.