Grays Harbor Tourism

Contact Grays Harbor Tourism: (800) 621-9625

World’s Top Jetski Freeriders Head to Grayland Beach for Annual Grayland Open

August 4th, 2015 by kelly

By Grant Clark

grays harbor tourismMark Gomez will pull double duty at this year’s Grayland Open Pro/Am Jetski Freeride Competition.

grayland openThe world’s top-ranked freerider and current point’s leaders in the International Freeride Watercraft Association (IFWA) World Championship Tour, will not only attempt to successfully defend his title at the competition, he will also serve as the event’s on-site announcer.

“It’s going to be insane. I may have bitten off more than I can chew,” the 25-year-old Gomez said, “but everyone wants to be a part of it. This event has really picked up momentum over the years. Dan has just done a fantastic job.”

Gomez is speaking about Dan Lindgren, the founder and organizer of the Grayland Open, which is now in its seventh year.

“It’s pretty amazing how it’s grown over the years,” said Lindgren, who grew up surfing the waves at Westport. “It’s one of only two places in the United States you can see a competition like this. We will have some of the world’s best professional and amateur riders here.”  Read more here:

Experience the Grays Harbor County Fair This Week

August 3rd, 2015 by kelly

grays harbor fair

Whether it’s the once-a-year combination of entertainment, food, rides, animals, activities, and community, there’s nothing like a county Fair. This year’s Grays Harbor County Fair is just around the corner in more ways than one.

Happening August 5-9 at the Grays Harbor Fair and Event Center, this year’s Fair promises non-stop fan favorites throughout the week. Mike Bruner, the Manager at Grays Harbor Fairgrounds and Tourism, is proud of the high quality performers and fun for visitors of all ages. He shares, “We’re really, really excited about this year’s fair and have created as much value for attendees as possible!”  Read more  here:

Elma’s Heat on the Street Car & Motorcycle Show is Value Packed with Fun!

July 15th, 2015 by kelly

Cruise-In to Elma for the 7th Annual “Heat on the Street” Custom Car & Motorcycle Show.  It kicks off on Friday, July 31st  with Cruise-In Party hosted by Jason Olsen and family. Cruise in to the Edward Jones parking lot (3rd & Waldrip Street) beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Bring the family for a preview night of cars, music and fun until 8 p.m.  Umpqua Bank is providing free Umpqua ice cream bars to the first 300 people.  You can register your car, or pick up your goodies if you’re pre-registered.   For registered cars you can participate in the poker run with great prizes, have a free hot dog and soft drinks.      

Show & Shine on Main Street starts at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 1st.  Enjoy music and take a chance on many great raffle items, check out the vendor booths, Les Schwab tire & wheel trailer, food booths, downtown shopping, beer garden outside at Flippin’ 50’s Diner,  and beautiful cars, trucks and motorcycles!   For only $15 the first 150 if pre-registered by July 12th, receive T-shirts, dash plaques, Grays Harbor Raceway tickets, raffle ticket and other goodies.  All registered cars receive a goodie bag!  Over 20 awards in many classes will be presented at 3:00 p.m. so be sure and vote for your favorite car.

New this year is the Car Parts Swap Meet!  You’ll find this located in a parking lot on 4th and Main Street.  To sign up for a $20 space contact the chamber office.  Also on Main Street at 1 p.m. Total Trends Fashion Show will feature women and kids clothing.  Many other activities are happening in Elma including a free Family Fun Festival coordinated by the East Grays Harbor Transformation Team on 3rd Street.  Take your kids and grandkids for games, bouncy houses, slides, games, food and lots of free prizes! 

The gardening enthusiasts can have Tea and Stroll through the Garden at 101 E. Waldrip Street.  This event, sponsored by P.E.O. Chapter GM, is a fundraiser to further the education of women worldwide.  The garden is open from 11 a.m. to 4. p.m. and is $5 per person.

 Enter Flippin’ 50’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at 2:00 p.m. with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  Elma Police Department is sponsoring special activities that may include a Road Rage Car Bash.

Just after the show at 3:30 pm. The New Alibi Station has live music by Lit End and their courtyard is open.  Stay for the evening for live music at Flippin’ 50’s Lounge by the band Montous.  Use your Grays Harbor Raceway ticket for some of the best dirt track racing starting at 7 p.m.  The racetrack is located on Grays Harbor Fairgrounds, just outside Elma.  And on Sunday go the the Elma Airport for Outlaw Drags!  Gates open by 11 a.m.

Thanks to Cut Rate Auto Parts, City of Elma, and Grays Harbor Tourism for sponsoring this event and to the many businesses that donate prizes and sponsor awards.  For information visit or call 360-482-3055.


Burton C. Ross Memorial Garden: ‘Coming Up Roses’ in Hoquiam

June 24th, 2015 by kelly

It’s a perfect time to “stop and smell the roses” at the Burton C. Ross Memorial Rose Garden in Hoquiam.

Located on the grounds of the Polson Museum on Riverside Avenue in Hoquiam, the garden’s iridescent blooms have a story all their own. Chapters include the Grays Harbor Rose Society, community involvement, volunteerism, and a Civil War monument.

polson rose garden

The Burton C. Ross Memorial Garden was planted in 1978 by members of the Grays Harbor Rose Society. Fourteen members donned rain gear and shovels and “labored in a downpour of rain such as only Grays Harbor residents can understand,” writes GHRS member Haidee Ross Douglas in 1980. Ross-Douglas continues, “… when they had finished that day, the first 75 roses had been planted in the bed to be named the Burton C. Ross Memorial Rose Garden –a tribute to a deceased Hoquiam member.”

The “deceased Hoquiam member” was Haidee’s husband, Burton C. Ross. The garden bears his name. Ross’s family contributed some of his own award-winning specimens for the garden.  Read more here:

Take a Cruise on the Lady Washington

June 24th, 2015 by kelly

The Lady Washington is most recognized as the ship, the HMS Interceptor, in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” but its cultural and historical significance to Grays Harbor is much more than just something seen on the silver screen. In the late 1700s, the original Lady Washington was the the pride of our young nation, flying the stars and stripes in parts around the planet for the very first time.

The Lady Washington Firing a Canon. Image by Doug Scott.

Named for Martha Washington, President George Washington’s wife, the original ship sailed the world, becoming the first American ship to round Cape Horn and make landfall on the Oregon coast. In the 1790s, the original Lady Washington was the first American-flagged vessel to visit Japan, Honolulu and Hong Kong. For a decade, the beautiful boat sailed the oceans and rivers of the world before wrecking off the Mestizo River in the Philippines in 1797.

For nearly 200 years, the Lady Washington was lost until a replica was built in 1989, just in time for Washington State’s Centennial celebrations. Often docked in San Diego, or other ports along the west coast, the ship returns home a few times each year, giving those living in Captain Gray’s namesake harbor a chance to travel back in time and sail on a tall, wooden vessel.  Read more here:

Sip and Savor Your Way Through Grays Harbor

June 2nd, 2015 by kelly

By Margo Greenman

olympic culinary

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is known for its famous flying fish, but if you ask a tourist where that fish came from, do you think he or she would know the answer?

West of Seattle is a region rich in native fish species, heirloom vegetables, and traditional, local foods found only in the Pacific Northwest. With miles of shoreline and acres upon acres of farm and forestland, Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and the Grays Harbor region are a gastronomic haven brimming with restaurants, wineries, markets and farms all stocked with fresh and local foods.

From heirloom Ozette potatoes to the coast’s prized razor clams, the region’s bountiful offerings are twice as toothsome when prepared by the hand of experienced food producers and chefs. Steve Shively, Membership and Marketing Director for the Olympic Culinary Loop — a unique group that represents the four counties united by the Olympic Peninsula and celebrates Olympic coast cuisine and the traditions that surround it — says the outstanding foods that are found in Grays Harbor are made even better thanks to the local experts and rockstar chefs who take these foods one step further. Shively says Taylor Shellfish and Brady’s Oysters are two good examples of this, as their outstanding selections of shellfish have developed a reputation that is respected not only by Pacific Northwest palates, but by the appetites of shellfish lovers across the globe.  Read more here

Flock to the 2015 Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival

April 29th, 2015 by kelly

Life in Grays Harbor comes alive in the spring, welcoming the returning migrations of animals in our waters, on our lands, and in our skies. In April and May, tens of thousands of gray whales swim along our coasts, and hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop along our beaches and estuaries, heading north for the summer. The great shorebird migration is part of a time-honored event in Grays Harbor, bringing in tourists from around the country in this mass migration to the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival at the Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge in Hoquiam.

grays harbor shorebird festival

During the first weekend in May, thousands of visitors from as far away as Oregon, California and Idaho flock to Grays Harbor to see the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds from as far away as South America. During the Shorebird Festival, 23 different species of shorebirds are seen making this migration each year, with the Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge serving as one of the amazing stops for resting and eating on their journey. The migration in Grays Harbor typically lasts only three weeks, but their arrival helps kick off spring.

“Each and every year, the Shorebird Festival is a lot of fun,” explains Shelia McCartan, the Education Coordinator for the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and a member of the Shorebird Festival Planning committee. “The Shorebird Festival is really great celebration of a nature phenomenon in our backyard.”


Read more here:

5 Scenic Nature Drives in Grays Harbor

April 20th, 2015 by kelly


Living in the Pacific Northwest, especially on and near the Olympic Peninsula, we are lucky to have access to some of the scenic drives in the country. From old growth forests housing elk, bear, bobcat and deer to coastal vistas that are wilder than anything seen along competing coastlines, the scenic beauty in our neck of the woods offer great opportunities for exploration. While many know that all you need to do is drive along Highway 101 around the Peninsula for fantastic views and experiences, few know the joy of experiencing a remote forest service road.

The remote roads around Grays Harbor not only show us the beauty of the region, but they also give us a glimpse into our shared history and culture. Driving along a dirt road in the middle of the woods, it is easy to see what drew so many settlers to this area and why the native populations have called this place home for millennia. On your next day off, pack a picnic, hop in your car and explore these nature drives around Grays Harbor.

nature drive grays harborDonkey Creek Road to Wynoochee

Car Type: Any

Road: Sections of Paved and Maintained Gravel

Best Season: Summer and Early Fall


Many forest service roads are known for being rugged and far off the beaten path, but the Donkey Creek Road to Wynoochee route is special. The road is known for bear sightings, deer and grouse constantly crossing the road, and sections of old growth forests along sublimely beautiful rivers and creeks of the southwestern Olympic Peninsula.

With bridge crossings over Donkey Creek, the Humptulips and Wynoochee Rivers, this trek follows old logging routes that have been used for more than 75 years. There aren’t numerous picnic or hiking trails along this route, but traveling from Highway 101 to Wynoochee is something everyone should experience. Crossing the southern end of the Olympic Peninsula, the dirt road weaves and meanders along waterways and through forests home to various woodland creatures. Perfect for both sunny and rainy days, this drive is one best taken in the early morning hours or late evening, as that is when the animals are most active.  Read more here:

Grays Harbor Raceway Revs Up For Summer Season

April 17th, 2015 by kelly

Racing fans and anyone who enjoys “loud, exciting and very quick race cars” are in for plenty of speed and excitement at the Grays Harbor Raceway this year. “There will be lots more fan excitement,” says Steve Beitler, Promoter and General Manager of the Grays Harbor Raceway. He adds, “We’re going to continue to grow the classes. We have lots of new drivers and new cars.” The season opens on April 25 and includes the Summer Thunder Sprintcar Series.

Located at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds in Elma, the raceway is a 3/10 mile, semi-banked, clay, oval race track. It’s a magnet for those who feel the “need for speed” and enjoy watching sprint car racing in a family-friendly venue.

“We definitely cater to families,” says Beitler. “The best part about being involved with the raceway is seeing all the families doing something fun together and having a great time.” He says he also enjoys watching new racers develop.

grays harbor raceway

“We average around 1,000 to 1,400 for a regular event,” says Beitler. Attendance at special events such as fireworks shows, monster trucks or World of Outlaws averages around 3,000 or 4,000 according to Beitler. He says, “It’s a great way for moms, dads, kids, grandparents and everyone to spend time together and have fun.” Beitler adds that the American Sprint Car Series national tour is coming back in July.

Beitler took over promotion of the Grays Harbor Raceway about a year ago. Before that, he was with the Skagit Speedway for about 14 years. Beitler’s involvement with racing began at age eight when he went to work at Skagit Speedway selling programs and doing clean up. He started racing himself during his senior year in high school, building his first race car with money earned milking cows on a dairy farm.

Read more here:

Ariel Biggs and the Race to Win

April 13th, 2015 by kelly

Most girls, at the age of five, when faced with choosing either a race car or a pony would choose the pony. Not Ariel Biggs. When her dad gave her the choice, Ariel chose a quarter midget – a small, caged, go-cart type race car. At age six, she began racing and today is going round the track faster than ever. Her dad’s love for cars and passion for building and fixing them was infectious. Ariel not only drove, but learned about the insides of her car and how to make them run correctly when broken.

ariel biggs racing

At age 13, Ariel won her first Extreme Winged Sprint Series Championship in Oregon on the dirt track and shortly after, Don Emery became her first “car owner.” As her sponsorship base grew, however, so did Ariel’s challenges. “I’ve grown up with girls who get pushed around on the track, but my dad always said to me, ‘you’re not a girl – you’re a race car driver.’ Because of that, I’ve always gotten along fairly well. But I’ve had people laugh at me and walk away when I’ve told them that I race cars – all because I’m a girl,” explains Ariel. “Having people laugh at me has driven me to work harder. I think it’s fun proving people wrong.” As a woman in a primarily male-dominated arena, Ariel has had to work hard to earn respect.

Read more here

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