Grays Harbor Tourism

Contact Grays Harbor Tourism: (800) 621-9625

Coming up in Grays Harbor County…

April 21st, 2014 by kelly

Some really remarkable events are on the calendar for the couple weeks in our corner of the world. This weekend, April 25, 2014, in Hoquiam, we welcome the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival. A first-class avian festival unfolds over three days of bird sightings, tours, lectures and more. Bowerman Basin is aflutter with a wide range of migrating birds this time of year.


Also the weekend of the 25th weekend is the Rock and Gem show at the fairgrounds, sponsored by the local Gem & Geology Society. Learn all about the world of lapidary and see a fine range of specimens form society members.


Take a look at the calendar below and make plans to visit Grays Harbor soon!


25-27  Spring Fling Arts & Crafts Show – Ocean Shores. Artisans and crafters display and sell their handcrafted works in the OS Convention Center. For more information, contact: (360) 289-9586.


25-27   Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival – Grays Harbor. Thousands of birders flock to Grays Harbor County to view this natural spectacle. Field trips, lectures, viewings and more are available all weekend at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge- on Paulson Rd., south of SR 109 at Bowerman Basin. Parking and registration begins at 9 a.m. at Hoquiam High School, 505 Emerson Ave., Hoquiam WA 98550.  For more information contact:  Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival, (360) 289-5048. (


26        Run for the Birds – Hoquiam. Featuring 2-mile, 5k, and 10k run for enthusiasts of all ages. Coincides with the Shorebird Festival.  Registration is at 8 a.m. and entry fee is $15 with a race shirt and goodie bag/$5 without. For more information contact:  City of Hoquiam (360) 637-6040.


26-27   Rock and Gem Show – Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds, Elma – Browse through thousands of stunning natural stones and gems presented by the Grays Harbor Gem & Geology Society. From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. For more information contact: Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds (360) 482-2651.  32 Elma-McCleary Road, Elma WA.  (


26      Annual Loyalty Day Parade – Westport. Sponsored by the local VFW, this expression of patriotism winds through downtown Westport and the marina. For more information contact: Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce 800-345-6223.

Rediviva Chef Forages for Dinner at Seabrook

April 14th, 2014 by kelly

Have you ever tried to create a meal created entirely from local ingredients? No, shopping at the local grocery store doesn’t necessarily count. Few of us have experienced a full meal created completely from locally grown and foraged foods.

During the 100 mile dinner, all food will be sourced within 100 miles of Seabrook.

This Earth Day weekend, Andy Bickar is up for the challenge of giving a small group of guests the opportunity to see and taste the local potential.

The 100 mile dinner is the first in a series of wine dinners that will be hosted at the Seabrook Town Hall, a quaint venue north of Ocean Shores in the resort town of Seabrook. Guests are invited to enjoy a casual dining experience with a six course menu and wine pairings, created by  Andy Bickar’s team from his restaurant, Rediviva.

Many of the items on the menu will be locally foraged by Damion Barnes, a foraging and outdoors enthusiast. Due to the nature of the event, the chef and his team will have to face the challenge of creating a meal based on what they are able to acquire.

“There will be a lot of seafood and mostly greens, roots and mushrooms, which is what was historically consumed in the area,” explained Andy. Locally raised beef from Gleason Ranch in Satsop will also be a part of the meal plus a variety of wine from local wine makers, some of whom will also be attending the event.

Not only will the meal be full of foraged plants and seafood, but the team will be creating their own oil, spices and even sea salt from the ocean.

“We wanted to do the first event with Rediviva because we knew that Andy would provide a unique and extraordinary experience for Seabrook homeowners, guests and local foodies,” said Jaclyn Stevenson, who is part of the Seabrook team putting together the event.

Chef and owner of Rediviva, Andy Bickar, will be creating the menu for the April 18 event.

All of the food, beverages and wine for this meal will be from within 100 miles of Seabrook and the hosts are especially excited to provide the space for such a unique event.

Jaclyn continued, “We love the idea of providing a completely locally sourced meal to show that our region has so to much offer and we are excited to showcase local farms and winemakers as well as educate people about where their food comes from.”

Tickets are available online and are selling quickly for the event on Friday, April 18 at 6pm in Seabrook, Washington

Rebuilding the Dream at Ocean Crest Resort

April 10th, 2014 by kelly

On June 20, 2011 a fire devastated the community that supported the Ocean Crest Resort in Moclips, Washington. A memorable event for many, the fire burned on for three days, as recommended by the fire department in order to preserve the hillside. Preservation of the area was key, because even in the midst of a disaster, the crew of the Ocean Crest had plans to rebuild.

Jess Owens is now the Assistant General Manager, just one of the family management team that now owns and operates the business. The building that once was the Ocean Crest Resort Restaurant had begun as the home of Jess’ grandparents. They assumed ownership of the resort in 1953 and lived on site. In 1963 they turned part of their home into a restaurant and expanded with a building addition in 1964. Over the years, the resort expanded and now includes 45 rooms, a pool, gym and spa.

Seventeen years ago, Jess moved back in order to work at the Ocean Crest Resort among his family. At some point, he began focusing more on the restaurant and eventually took over as the executive chef during a particularly important dinner when they were suddenly left without a chef to prepare the meal. He called it the “great chef shuffle of the North Beach,” as he explained the inconsistency of personnel in the area. He stepped up in order to fill a need, and things clicked. He enjoys taking risks in the kitchen and challenging others to do the things that they didn’t believe could be done.

After three years of rebuilding, the restaurant is nearing completion. The design will be reflective of the natural surroundings and reminiscent of the original building the restaurant resided within. The view is better than ever in the dining room, plus they have added a lounge with a section of outdoor dining on a deck overlooking the 150 stairs down to the beach. The entire space will be filled with fine art pieces and a collection of wines with a particular bent toward Pacific Northwest wines. The building is built high up in the trees, but is extremely safe on the 32 steel pilings running deep into the ground.

The improvements to the restaurant are very exciting. Jess explained how nice it has been to build from the ground up and design a more functional space, but he is still sentimental for what once was. “We’ll never get grandma’s house back,” he added.  “ But, we’ll be able to serve our guests much better now.”

The journey has been a challenge, but Jess’s positive attitude has kept the project moving through this tough time. The community also rose up to support those affected by the loss, including the staff of the restaurant. Many businesses in the area provided jobs as they could with the understanding that many of the staff will return to the Ocean Crest upon its reopening. The feelings of gratitude showed on Jess’s face as he spoke about the community support.

The new restaurant will offer meals that can be defined as Northwest cuisine with world flair and, of course, grandma’s famous clam chowder. Jess is excited to see old friends return to a place where many hold such fond memories. The restaurant will likely be open in late spring, bigger and better than ever. “Never limit yourself,” Jess said to encourage all of those, including himself, to do what seems impossible.

Ocean Crest Resort, 4651 Washington 109, Moclips, WA 98562

Phone:  360-276-4465

Grays Harbor Spring Razor Clam Dig Approved on Morning Tides

April 10th, 2014 by kelly


It is a boom year for razor clams in Grays Harbor!

 State fishery managers have approved the second of two razor clam digs on morning tides at various ocean beaches in Grays Harbor County. The digs are set for April 17-20.

  • April 17, Thursday, 8:43 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
  • April 18, Friday, 9:26 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • April 19, Saturday, 10:14 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • April 20, Sunday, 11:06 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved the harvest schedule pending future marine toxin tests showing the clams on those beaches will be safe to eat. Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said this event could be one of the season’s best razor clam digs.

“We’ve seen three good waves of successful spawning events this winter,” said Ayers. “Clamming is strong now and should remain strong.”

Ayres reminded diggers that best results typically occur one to two hours before low tide.

Under state law, diggers can harvest 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on the Washington DFW’s website at and from license vendors in Grays Harbor County.

Comprehensive information about razor clams – from updates on tentative digs to how-to advice on digging and cooking – is available at:



Growing Heritage of the Cranberry Coast Passed Down through Generations

April 1st, 2014 by kelly

The Washington coastline is especially colorful when you make your way through Grayland. Driving south, you can see sparkling sandy beaches and ocean waves on your right and to the left, a sea of bright red berries reaching toward the green hillsides. It has been nicknamed the Cranberry Coast Highway for good reason with nearly 70 farmers tending cranberry bogs, most of which supply the Ocean Spray company. One of these farmers is Carl Waara, a fourth generation farmer.

Carl lives in the home passed down to him from his father along with the perennial vine growing in the fields. Most of the time, he takes care of his 30 acres by himself which he enjoys because he is able to be outside and set his own hours. When he graduated from Ocosta High School and went away to college, he already knew he would return. When he met his wife while away at school, he told her right up front that she had to be content with moving back to Grayland to live on a cranberry farm.

Cranberries are not native to the Washington coast, rather settlers from the East Coast brought them along, finding the moist and highly acidic soil of the ancient Grayland swamp perfect conditions for cranberry growing. Early farmers also found new ways to pick berries. Instead of flooding the bogs, as you’ve likely seen on Ocean Spray commercials, the majority of farmers in this area use the Furford Picking Machine. This machine was invented and is still manufactured locally. It has not been improved upon in many years and many farmers even still use Furford Machines from the 1930s.

For the most part, the cranberries grown in Grayland are sent off to Ocean Spray to become products like cranberry juice and craisins you find in the supermarket. Despite the seemingly high numbers of cranberries produced in Grayland (10,000 pounds per acre), this constitutes just 1% of Ocean Spray’s overall production. Ocean Spray operates as a co-op, made up of 700 members who not only provide the cranberry production but also make company decisions.

Recently, Carl contributed to the Ocean Spray marketing campaign when he was asked to send a piece of his bog to Hollywood so they could set up an authentic cranberry bog on the street.

Cranberry growing is a big business. “Grayland was built on the cranberry bogs,” said Carl. Though most farmers work on their own, they hire pickers in the fall to harvest the cranberries by hand. The farmers are among many independent business owners in the area. “It’s a largely self-employed community,” said Carl, mentioning that nearly all people living in the area also worked independently in a variety of industries.

A small percentage of cranberries from each farmer’s land is also available to be sold in ways other than through Ocean Spray. For example, the Cranberry Road Winery got off the ground through farmers providing cranberries for their wines. The community members enjoy supporting each other and celebrating their love for cranberries including providing a museum to teach about the history of cranberry growing and a yearly harvest festival held in October.

Horns and Hooks – Grays Harbor Sportsman Show

February 7th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards


Horns and Hooks – Grays Harbor Sportsman Show
Saturday and Sunday, March 8th-9th, 2014

Montesano Festival of Lights

December 5th, 2013 by Corey A. Edwards

Montesano Festival of Lights

Montesano 27th Annual Festival of Lights
December 13-15th, 2013

Download the Schedule of Events

Grays Harbor Tourism Announces 2014 Festival & Event Grant and Tourism Services & Project Grant Availability

October 2nd, 2013 by Corey A. Edwards

The Grays Harbor County Department of Tourism is now accepting applications for the two tourism related grant programs. This first is for Festival and Event Grants, and the second is for Tourism Services and Projects. The deadline for applications for both categories is October 31, 2013.

Under State law (RCW 67.28) Grays Harbor County receives funds from room taxes imposed on lodging facilities. These funds can be retained and utilized by the County for Tourism promotional operations, or expended for projects and activities established by an eligible entity under State law.

Grays Harbor Tourism Grant Applications will be accepted from non-profit entities organizing tourism based activities within Grays Harbor County, except those municipalities that are allowed by law to collect and manage 3% lodging tax revenues generated within their corporate limits. Grant funding is provided increase tourism activity within Grays Harbor County. The Grays Harbor Tourism Department allocates over $120,000 in grant funds annually.

“We are very fortunate that our County Commissioners have continued to support the funding of this Grant Program. They understand that Tourism is vital to Grays Harbor’s economic success.” said Kelly Peterson-Lalka, GH Tourism Public Relations/Office Manager. “Tourism results in over $260 million dollars of revenue and over 5,000 jobs for Grays Harbor County. When we support tourism, our local communities reap the rewards in tax revenue, jobs and community infrastructure. It is a win-win.”

Applications for Grant Funding are available for download for Festivals and Events here, or Services and Projects here. If you would like an application mailed to you, contact Kelly Peterson-Lalka at 360-482-2651 or

Cranberry Festival Welcomes All!

October 1st, 2013 by kelly

GRAYLAND, WA – A full weekend of cranberry-themed events will fill the activity calendar on October 12 & 13 in the seaside town of Grayland in south Grays Harbor County.


“This October will be the 20th anniversary of the Cranberry Harvest Festival,” said Leslie Eichner, executive director of the Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce. “So, we’ve planned a big celebration to match the occasion.”


Both Saturday and Sunday are filled with food and fun events plus bus tours of the cranberry bogs and a fun run. If you’ve ever wondered where those tart red berries come from, and how they are harvested, this truly American festival is not to be missed,” Eichner added.


  • Early on Saturday, a cranberry breakfast is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon at the South Beach Christian Center, located at 1360 SR 105, in Grayland.
  • Entertaining and informative bog tours that bring you face-to-face with the local growers will leave by bus throughout the weekend from the Grayland Community Hall & Cranberry Heritage Center. It’s located at 2071 Cranberry Rd., Grayland. Tickets are $7.50 per person.1
  • ‪The illuminated Firefly Parade rolls at 8 p.m., leaving from the Community Hall, traveling north along SR 105 and finishing at the Grayland Fire Hall.
  • The Community Hall is ground zero for the festival. Entries for the annual Cranberry Cook-Off are accepted until 8 p.m., Friday, October 11th. Medal award-winners will be on display there on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Taste local baked goods and check out local crafts at the Community Hall. Or, purchase a pass to taste the “cranberry bites” featuring a wide range of berry treats, available for sale on both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Sunday’s “Bog Jog” fun run begins at 9 a.m. at the Community Hall and is routed along the cranberry bogs to the Pacific Ocean Beaches. Run registration for the Bog Jog begins on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. and Sunday from 7-8:30 a.m.
  • Live music during the festival will be provided by Bob Gorton, Eileen Pinkerton and Virgil Stroeheon.


(Sidebar)“The cranberries that grow along the Washington coast are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 7 ft. long and 2 to 8 in. in height. Grown in bogs that are flooded at harvest time, the cranberries have slender, wiry stems with small evergreen leaves and abundant fruit,” said Mike Bruner of Grays Harbor County Tourism. “The cool, damp weather along the coast is perfect for cranberry cultivation. It’s an usual and informative experience that is unique to Grayland.”


The Harvest Festival schedule of events and entertainment will be posted as updates happen.




August 28th, 2013 by Corey A. Edwards

Horns and Hooks Fishing Derby - Sep. 20-22, 2013

Horns and Hooks Fishing Derby – Sep. 20-22, 2013

The Northwest’s premier outdoor adventure magazine – Horns and Hooks – in conjunction with Y.O.U. (Youth Outdoors Unlimited) will be having it’s annual fishing derby September 20th through the 22nd in Grays Harbor Bay.

Tickets are available in advance at Horns and Hooks in Montesano, all Dennis Company locations, and Harbor Saw and Supply. Tickets will be available the day of the event at the Westport, Johns River, and 28th Street launch locations. Daily tickets will be sold at $10 per day and $20 for a three day pass.

Families of all ages are encouraged to attend while volunteers and potential sponsors are encouraged to contact Horns and Hooks to contribute to the event.

Horns and Hooks hosts this annual derby to promote and encourage sport fishing in Grays Harbor while benefiting children with life threatening conditions. Cash and prizes will be given away on all three days and part of the events proceeds will go directly to Youth Outdoors Unlimited.

Saturday will spotlight the Y.O.U. Kids as they are taken fishing by volunteer guides for the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoor experience that Grays Harbor has to offer.

To volunteer your time to the event please contact Horns and Hooks.

For information regarding youth outdoors unlimited please contact them at

Horns and Hooks would like to thank everyone involved including: North Fork Customs, Verle’s, U.S. Marine, The Islander, Deep Sea Charters, Willapa Marine, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Ocean Crest Resort, and Grays Harbor Tourism.

Horns and Hooks Retail Location: 100 W. Brumfield Ave. Suite #4 Montesano WA, 98563

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