Grays Harbor Tourism

Contact Grays Harbor Tourism: (800) 621-9625

Historic Grays Harbor Poggie Club Ensures Salmon for the Future

November 3rd, 2014 by kelly

In the muddy, murky Wishkah River, hundreds of coho salmon work their way upriver, exhausted from years of swimming the Pacific Ocean. Many of these salmon return to a hatchery that, for the last 7 years, has been operated by the Grays Harbor Poggies. Reaching the Mayr Brothers Hatchery at Buzzard Creek, the salmon encounter something they haven’t seen before: the hands of volunteers of the Poggie Club, capturing them and collecting hundreds of thousands of eggs to help ensure a healthy salmon run in the future.  Read more here

Finding the Surf: A Day at Westport

November 3rd, 2014 by kelly

I’m in my car driving west on highway 12. It’s earlier than I’d like it to be, but the coffee in my Thermos keeps me caffeinated and awake. It’s these early morning drives that make me wish I were a local.

Surfers walk down the beach at "the jetty."

As I pass by the “Welcome to Aberdeen” sign my stomach jumps a little. I’m getting close, but I’m not there just yet. I wait until I’ve crossed over South Bay before letting myself get too excited. That’s when I know I’m nearly there.

Passing by Brady’s Oysters and other familiar shops and landmarks I finally make my way to the main drag. To my right stand inviting looking hotels and bed and breakfasts, to my left are several charming oceanside neighborhoods. As I drive deeper into town I pass by the Surf Shop and Steepwater (two local surf shops where you can buy or rent boards and wetsuits), a few of my favorite restaurants, and the popular and busy Westport Marina where fishermen, tourists and locals alike gather simultaneously for both work and play.

Eager to get to the beach, any stops I make in town will have to wait until later. I make my left for Westhaven State Park and notice a grin sneak onto my face. I’ve made it to Westport. I’ve made it to the surf.

All of Washington’s coastal towns offer beautiful beaches and opportunities for adventure.  Read more here

Restarting an Important Piece of Grays Harbor History

November 3rd, 2014 by kelly

On June 10, 2014, the Railroad Camp building at the Polson Museum in Hoquaim filled with smoke. Pouring out the doors and even the cupolas at the top of the cedar flanked structure, the smoke wasn’tpolson museum from a destructive fire to the historic building; instead the smoke was from the first gasps of life of an engine that hadn’t been started in over thirty years. As the haze cleared in the building, the sights and sounds of a 1933 Linn Halftrack were seen and heard in Hoquaim for the first time in over a generation.

For six months, Larry Wyrick and Lee Thomasson of Grays Harbor worked to rebuild a piece of logging history. Each Tuesday, the two would get together in the Railroad Camp building at Polson Museum, systematically cleaning and rebuilding the engine to one of the logging industry’s more iconic machines.  Read more here

Six Rivers Gallery Showcases Talented Local Artists, Welcomes You to Visit

November 3rd, 2014 by kelly

Nestled just off the bridge as you enter Hoquiam, the Six Rivers Gallery is a local gem. This cozy, inviting gallery is run by the Harbor Art Guild, a group of Grays Harbor-area artists who came together in 2008. The gallery is located in the small house on Sixth Street behind Levee Lumber (it was formerly a stained glass gallery). Upon entering, a world of art awaits you. You’ll find beautiful works by Harbor Art Guild members as well as a first-class gift shop.

Set up to be inviting, the Six Rivers Gallery and gift shop is a perfect place to stop on a cool autumn day. Photo courtesy of Harbor Art Guild.

I stopped by the gallery to learn more about the Harbor Art Guild and what they do in the community. Walking in the door on a clear autumn day, I was warmly greeted by Mary Lou Gregory. Gregory is a watercolor artist and a founding member of the guild. She also currently serves as a Board member, helps schedule the gallery, and maintains the group’s website. You might recognize Gregory’s name: She is also a retired teacher and librarian. She served as a math teacher at Hoquiam High School, then a librarian at the high school, Grays Harbor College, and the Timberland Regional Library before retiring. Helping run the Harbor Art Guild (which is made up entirely of volunteers) is a labor of love for Gregory.  Read more here

Six Top Places to Fish in Grays Harbor

November 3rd, 2014 by kelly

Most of the country knows about Grays Harbor because of Kurt Cobain, or possibly the older generations will remember the logging industry that helped build the nation. However, fewer and fewer people seem to be aware just how amazing the fishing is in our neck of the woods. From world-class ocean fishing out of Westport, to incredibly scenic stocked lakes and the salmon-filled rivers in-between, Grays Harbor County is an angler’s dream. Whether you are new to fishing or you have been catching them all your life, Grays Harbor offers the most unique and successful fishing opportunities in the state, if not the entire country.

River fishing opportunities abound in Grays Harbor. Photo Credit Douglas Scott.

River fishing opportunities abound in Grays Harbor. Photo Credit Douglas Scott.

Finding the right location to go fishing in Grays Harbor can be daunting. Fishing isn’t just as easy as grabbing a pole and casting a hook into the water. One needs to find the right gear and  know where to go. Luckily, there is almost no wrong choice in fishing Grays Harbor, but there are some definite favorites, which you’ll find listed below. Another great resource is Hooks and Horns, an excellent outdoors magazine published in Montesano. With a large amount of fishing information, as well as gear, I recommend checking them out for everything to do with hunting and fishing in the Northwest.  Read more here

Haunted Harbor: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Places in Grays Harbor County

October 23rd, 2014 by kelly

Grays Harbor County is known for its overcast skies and frequent rainstorms. Cities and towns are filled with weathered homes and buildings nearly a century old that could easily serve as the backdrop of a spooky paranormal-themed movie.  It’s no wonder several sites in this coastal community could be home to ghosts. As Halloween draws near (or any time of year) visitors can take a tour of the Harbor’s many haunted places.

A patron leaves Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen. It’s said the ghosts of notorious serial killer Billy Gohl and the spirits of his victims haunt one of this town’s famous establishments.

A patron leaves Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen. It’s said the ghosts of notorious serial killer Billy Gohl and the spirits of his victims haunt one of this town’s famous establishments. Photo courtesy of Rachel Thomson.

Billy’s Bar & Grill Kurt Cobain may have been Aberdeen’s most famous resident, but many historians may say Billy Gohl was the most sinister. Gohl was an infamous serial killer who lived in Aberdeen in the early 1900s. The legend of his ghost has been documented in many books and a quick Google search turns up dozens of websites detailing his horrific murder spree.

Gohl was a sailor and laborer who came to Grays Harbor around 1903. Gohl became a representative for the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific and had a wharf near the present-day restaurant that bares his name. Sailors from every port of call would stop at his office to collect mail, deposit valuables or connect with friends. After a while, Gohl began stealing from the sailors. After swiping the valuables belonging to his fellow sailors, he would then shoot, poison, strangle or bludgeon his victims and dump the bodies down a trap door that led to the Wishkah River. It’s not known for sure how many deaths Gohl was responsible for, but some estimates have been as low as 40 to well over 100.  Read more here…

Exploring the Ghost Forest of Copalis

October 23rd, 2014 by kelly

The town of Copalis sits quietly along the coast, having seen better days during the logging and fishing industry heydays. Unassuming and small, Copalis doesn’t look like the type of place where amazing scientific discoveries should occur. However, looks can be deceiving.

ghost forest

The Ghost Forest is located less than a mile up river in Copalis. Photo courtesy Brian Atwater.

Less than a mile upriver from the bridge crossing the Copalis River on Highway 109, a forest of dead trees, known by locals as the Ghost Forest, helped not only solve the mystery of the Japanese tsunami of 1700 but also has given us insight about tsunamis right here at home. The Ghost Forest of Copalis isn’t just someplace that scientists study, it is a location that we can all access, and a unique destination for visitors from around the world.

On the evening of January 26, 1700, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked the Washington coast off Grays Harbor, causing the land to instantly drop in elevation by up to 6 feet around the region. The quake occurred on the Cascadia Fault, which stretches from North Vancouver Island all the way to Northern California and saw over 622 miles of land get moved by an average slip of nearly 70 feet. The 1700 earthquake on the Cascadia Fault, located off shore and under the Pacific Ocean, caused a tsunami that not only devastated the local areas but killed over 15,000 people across the ocean in Japan…read more here

Keep Clam and Carry a Shovel or Gun

October 23rd, 2014 by kelly


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife expects more than half a million digs this year.

Razor clam season brings joy to those who enjoy watching tides and standing on the windswept, often wet Washington Coast. The beaches this year are packed with clammers, as all signs are pointing to this being the best clamming season in more than three decades. Early estimates from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are looking extremely promising even compared with last year’s amazing clamming season.

Last season’s clam dig was the largest since 1982. In the 2013 clam season, more than 6.3 million clams were harvested along the coast of Washington State. With the majority of those clams coming from the beaches of Grays Harbor. This season, the officials at WDFW are anticipating an even better year. Nearly half-a-million dig trips were recorded last year, resulting in an average of 13.9 clams per digger. Those numbers, according to the WDFW reflect a spectacular razor clam population.

“When the ocean is really healthy, the razor clams are also healthy,” explained WDFW’s Coastal Shellfish Lead Biologist, Dan Ayres.  Read more here…

Buckaroo Days Festival Coming to Elma

September 18th, 2014 by kelly

Mark your calendar for the 5th Annual Buckaroo Days Festival on Saturday, September 20, in Elma. It’s now bigger and better than ever. The Grand Parade, sponsored by Grays Harbor Mounted Posse and City of Elma, starts at 11 a.m. from the high school and proceeds down Main Street to 2nd & Martin Street. Cash and ribbons will be presented to the best equestrian and kids entries. Participants will also include bands, marching units, parade floats, local royals, vintage vehicles and more.

The competition is fierce for the Buckaroo Days Chili & Salsa Cook-Off. Top cooks can earn cash and bragging rights for the honor of placing in the competition. A top-cash award of $250 will be awarded to the first-place chili entry and $100 to the first-place winner in the salsa category. The Elma Chamber of Commerce will sell five-dollar wristbands for tasting the chili and salsa entries on the day of the event.

Elma will be bursting with entertainment during Buckaroo Days. Elma Feed & Farm Supply and Les Schwab Tire Center are partnering to sponsor several free family and kids activities from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. They include a bouncy house for kids, games, an animal petting farm, Mutton Bustin’ sheep-riding contests, craft activities and prizes. For festival-goers who are young and young-at-heart, take a ride on the inflatable super slide. In a special event, kids can decorate a potato and enter it to win the Mr. Potato Head Contest, sponsored by Elma Variety Store. Washington State Fiddlers will entertain on the grounds of the Elma Feed & Farm Supply. The Buckaroo Stage will also be full of entertainment throughout the day.

Throw a favorite outlaw in the Buckaroo Jail and then watch for the GH Mounted Posse robbery and jailbreak at high noon. New this year is the Bingo Tent for adults 21 and over, from 2-4 p.m. Purchase each bingo card for one dollar and gain four chances to win a 50/50 pot.

Is it talent, looks or costumes that make your dog shine? Enter your pooch in the Paws-itiviely Fun Dog Show. Registration begins at 1 p.m. for the 1:45 p.m. show. All entries will receive ribbons and prizes. Elma Feed & Farm Store sponsors the event.

Pick up your free Discovery Pass to Elma at the Dennis Company or at Elma Variety Store. Then, visit Elma businesses for a stamp. Turn-in the completed passes at Timberland Library beginning at 11 a.m. to receive a prize and to be entered in the grand-prize drawing.

Thanks to our sponsors: City of Elma, Les Schwab Tire Center of Elma, Elma Feed & Farm Supply Store, Grays Harbor Posse, House Brothers Construction and Grays Harbor Tourism.

For more information, contact the Elma Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 798, Elma, WA, view on Facebook or telephone 360-482-3055, email: Debbie Adolphsen or Paula Jones –

Nirvana-Themed Street Mural to Debut in Aberdeen

September 11th, 2014 by kelly

Newest in a series of Downtown historic art installations

The dedication of a new Nirvana-themed outdoor mural and celebration of the internationally famous rock group’s place in Aberdeen’s history, as well as their stature as icons of the music industry, is set for Saturday, September 20 at 4 p.m. Bassist and co-founder of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic plus others, are scheduled to speak at the event.

In 2013, Our Aberdeen, a nonprofit arts organization, approached noted Northwest artist Erik Sandgren about creating a pictorial mural for downtown Aberdeen commemorating Nirvana’s genesis in Aberdeen.  Sandgren, with the assistance of four allied artists – Anthony James Cotham, Dominic Senibali, Jason Sobottka and David Wall –  designed and painted the 68-foot-wide mural this year incorporating the grunge band connection.

Vividly painted on board, the mural was installed in downtown Aberdeen on the Moore’s Flooring building at 201 S Broadway St.

Our Aberdeen, with financial support from the Grays Harbor County Department of Tourism, City of Aberdeen, Greater Grays Harbor, Inc., Grays Harbor Community Foundation, Coastline Signs, and individual donations, commissioned this project as part of its Art Group Promotion to create civic pride, memorialize Aberdeen’s history, assist in the revitalization of the city, promote the vibrant and talented art community, and offer another reason for visiting Aberdeen.

For more information, contact Sylvia Dickerson at about the mural and Our Aberdeen’s other projects. Visit the website,, to learn about the organization.



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