Grays Harbor Tourism

Contact Grays Harbor Tourism: (800) 621-9625

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

RFP – Tourism Creative Services Television, Print and Electronic Marketing

April 2nd, 2015 by kelly

Grays Harbor County

Request for Proposals

Tourism Creative Services – Television, Print and Electronic Marketing

Grays Harbor County is requesting proposals from qualified professionals for creative services to assist in the County Tourism Department’s marketing campaign.  For the purpose of this RFP, the services will be broken up into two (2) parts, marked “A” and “B” below. Qualified professionals may submit for either the tasks detailed in section “A”, the tasks detailed in Section “B”, or both.

  1. The production of television commercials, trafficking coordination with selected networks/stations, and associated tasks. Desired services may also include the posting of the created commercials and video on YouTube and other social media sites.
  2. The production of collateral print, advertising material intended to reach relevant local, state, regional, national and international tourism markets. Desired services will also include the placement of print and electronic marketing materials in paid and unpaid media outlets within local, state, regional, national and international markets, as appropriate.                                Questions regarding this RFP shall be directed to Mike Bruner, Fairgrounds and Tourism Manager, at (360) 482-2651 ext. 1870, or by email at
  3. Dates of publication will be April 13, 2015.
  4. Detailed RFP can be downloaded from
  5. Budget (2015): $38,000 – Total professional services budget (for all tasks within Section “A” and “B”)

Spring Marks the Return of the Whales to the Washington Coast

March 11th, 2015 by kelly

The coming of spring marks many events in Grays Harbor. As the gray skies become less frequent, flowers start bloom, and hillsides dry out, the waters of the Pacific

whale watching washington

Ocean and Grays Harbor welcome the return of the gray whales.

During the months of March and April, the Washington coast becomes a hotbed of whale action, marking the annual migration past our shores for the estimated 18,000 Gray Whales that make the journey up and down the Pacific Coast each year. Passing by within one-half mile of the breaking waves, up to 30 whales an hour swim by the coastal communities during the peak of the migration.

This event continues to be celebrated by the local tribal nations, and is now becoming a popular event in communities around the coast.  Read more here

Razor Clam Festival…March 20-22, 2015

March 9th, 2015 by kelly

What is a Razor Clam Festival?   “It’s CLAMTASTIC!” (need we say more?!?)


Dianne Hansen, Chair of the the Razor Clam & Seafood Festival, email:, phone: (360) 580-5064 is inviting competitive chef’s and celebrity judges to participate in the 9th annual Razor Clam & Seafood Extravaganza, March 21 and 22 at the Ocean Shores Convention Center.


Last year Jess Owen of Ocean Crest Resort’s Clam Chowder won 1st place “People’s Choice” and Michael McQuay of Kokopelli Grill’s Seafood Entree won 1st place “Professional Chef’s” category.  Celebrity judges included Andrew Bickar of Rediviva Restaurant.


Now it’s YOUR turn to join the fun and flavor!

Full festival details on-line at:


Here’s the details for Chef and Judge:

The judging is both Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday:  1:30, 3:00 and 4:30.  Sunday:  11:30am and 3:00pm.

Cooking demo Sunday 12:30 and 1:30

  • For the stage there will be Prep Table, mirror, lapel mics.  Cooktop with pan.
  • A full kitchen in the Convention Center is available where pre-cooking can be done.
  • Clam Fest will reimburse chefs for ingredients
  • Post demo audience tastings.  Approx. 40 servings per session

If coming from out of town contact Dianne about available hotel rooms too.  Didn’t we say this is  CLAMTASTIC!

Run faster than a Razor Clam and contact Dianne to sign-up!  Dianne Hansen, Razor Clam & Seafood Festival, email:, phone: (360) 580-5064

We hope to see you there!

Grays Harbor: A Coastal Gem on the Rise

March 5th, 2015 by kelly

Grays Harbor is a unique place. With miles upon miles of coastal beaches, acres of forestland, lakes, rivers and more, the opportunities for outdoor recreation in Grays Harbor are many. From world class fishing, hunting and razor clam digging to hiking, camping, surfing and more, Grays Harbor’s natural landscape offers myriad ways to experience Washington’s coastal wonderland. But outdoor recreation isn’t all Grays Harbor has to offer. In addition to its breathtaking landscape, Grays Harbor also plays host to a variety of exciting events and festivals that draw in locals and visitors alike year-round, and the number of visitors to the area keeps on climbing.

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Grays Harbor is a tourism hot spot. But what may surprise you is how much the number of visitors to the region has increased in just the past five years.

Read more here:

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

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