Grays Harbor Tourism

Contact Grays Harbor Tourism: (800) 621-9625
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Wynoochee Lake: A Gorgeous Destination for Family Fun

May 3rd, 2016 by kelly

wynoochee lake

5 Scenic Nature Drives in Grays Harbor

May 3rd, 2016 by kelly

nature drive grays harbor

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.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2015/04/18/5-scenic-nature-drives-grays-harbor/

Birders Delight at the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival

May 3rd, 2016 by kelly

Attention residents of Grays Harbor: Prepare to be inundated with hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.

grays harbor tourismThis weekend, Hoquiam will become the center of the world for shorebirds as they make their annual migration from South America. Some of these birds will travel over 15,000 miles, making a quick stop in our backyard before continuing their journey north. Since they are stopping by our own backyard wildlife refuge, what better way to welcome them than by throwing a huge festival?

grays harbor shorebird festival
Shorebirds in flight during a visit to the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: USFWS.
This year’s Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival promises to be an excellent adventure. With 24 events, lectures and field trips taking place over the three-day event, birding enthusiasts and newbies to the activity will find something perfect for them. Working together to produce the annual Shorebird and Nature Festival, the Grays Harbor Audubon Society, Grays Harbor NWR, the City of Hoquiam and a handful of other local sponsors are eager to have you attend this year’s event.

The highlight of this event for many is the bird viewing that occurs at the Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge. While many will think that they can just pop down to the refuge and take a good look at the shorebirds, you will need to plan your trip around high tide.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/05/02/grays-harbor-shorebird-festival-2/

Celebrate the Natural Beauty of Grays Harbor During Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days

April 20th, 2016 by kelly

fishing grays harbor
Grays Harbor has more than salmon. Anglers can catch rainbow trout around the region. Photo credit: Washington State Fish & Wildlife.

Celebrate the Natural Beauty of Grays Harbor During Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days

grays harbor tourismLocated at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds, this event is sure to get you excited to explore and experience the wilderness all around the Pacific Northwest. With great food, awesome drinks, fantastic vendors and amazing music, Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days promises to be the nature event of the spring. If you love the natural beauty of Grays Harbor and beyond, you do not want to miss this event. Partnering with Grays Harbor Tourism and Youth Outdoors Unlimited, this promises to be an great weekend for the entire family.

Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days is an event geared toward those who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle, including hiking, fishing, bird watching, hunting, clamming, camping, shooting, and archery. Families who love being in nature will find plenty of informative vendors and engaging activities at this event.

outdoor days grays harbor
Visit the Horns and Hooks display during Outdoor Days on April 30 – May 1.
The cost to attend is just $10 for guests 16 and older, while it is free for anyone 15 and younger.

“This event is to promote the great outdoors in the greater Grays Harbor County area and bring some exciting new exhibitors, vendors, attractions, and entertainment to the area,” explains Rex Peterson of Horns and Hooks. “We want to expose as many people as possible to the great outdoors throughout the area and the unforgettable opportunities we have in the area for people to enjoy.”

Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days has tons of activities for guests of all ages. Adults will enjoy the booths, seminars, guides, outfitters and deals on fantastic gear. This year’s event will have informational seminars from professional guides and outfitters, a 3D Archery Range organized by Youth Outdoors Unlimited, a free kids trout pond, a BB gun range, and kids archery.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/04/19/outdoor-days-grays-harbor/

Go Fly a Kite – 6 Grays Harbor Beaches Perfect for Your Kite Flying Adventures

April 6th, 2016 by kelly

In the 1990s at Ocean Shores, my family knew where to find me. On windy days year round, I would be flying my stunt kite with my sister or the neighbors, getting into what we called “Kite Wars.” Countless days were spent on the sandy shores, flying our kites over the dunes, testing our skill, as strong winds blasted inland from the mighty Pacific Ocean. In the summer, our favorite beaches would transform away from their empty winter cocoon into a vibrant cacophony of kites of all shapes and sizes. Giant twirling beasts would be circled by stunt kites, zipping in and out of sight, while box kites would sit perfectly still high, above the crowds of people, horses and cars below.
kite flying grays harbor
Kite flying can provide endless hours of entertainment. Photo credit: Paul T. Marsh.
The beaches and coastal towns have long served as weekend and summer destinations, giving families and visitors of all ages incredible opportunities and activities, like kite flying. Kite flying has been a pastime enjoyed around the world for over 2,000 years, but in Grays Harbor, kite flying has only been an activity for less than century. The region is home to dozens of kite stores, featuring numerous of styles of kite for every occasion, making finding the right kite tough work. Luckily for the people of Grays Harbor, Ocean Shores Kites are here to help.  Read more here at http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2015/06/06/kite-flying-grays-harbor-beach/

16 Outdoor Adventures Await in Grays Harbor for 2016

April 6th, 2016 by kelly

Tales and Trails of Lake Swano at Grays Harbor College

April 6th, 2016 by kelly

lake swano trail
The Alder Creek watershed serves as an educational tool in resource management to the Grays Harbor community.

Beside the Grays Harbor College campus lies an unsuspecting patch of forest. Concealed within these towering trees is the peaceful and serene Lake Swano, a lovely spot nestled in the Alder Creek watershed.

oly orthoIn the late 1940s, Mr. Swano Katalinich owned and operated a gravel pit along Alder Creek. While placing a road to the gravel pit, construction crews built a dam in Alder Creek, creating Lake Swano.

In the decades following its formation, Lake Swano inspired various educational and recreational interests. Grays Harbor College purchased the lake in 1962, and immediately put plans for trail development into place. These plans would not come to fruition for some time, however.

lake swano trail
A set of steps are all that remain of the Swano Katalinich homestead.
Alder Creek became an area of interest for the college’s fisheries program. As a result, the John M. Smith Aquaculture Center was constructed in 1987, and it was not until after its completion that the first trail was developed. This trail was installed for interpreting fish habitat. Swiftly following its development, steps to the lake were built beside the 800 Building, and a loop trail completed around the lake.  Read more here http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/03/06/lake-swano/

Spring on the Washington Coast: A Whale of a Good Time

April 6th, 2016 by kelly

whale watching
Will you see one of the 18,000 whales swimming by our coastal communities? Photo credit: Ryan Harvey.

Spring on the Washington Coast: A Whale of a Good Time

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You’ll never forget the first time you spot a whale. From the initial sighting of the spray rising from the ocean swells, to the smell of the fishy odor of the spout, your first glimpse of a whale is something that you reminisce about for your entire life. Every April, just off the breaking waves along the Washington Coast, 18,000 gray whales make their way slowly up the Washington Coast. Heading north to the cold, food-filled waters of Alaska, the gray whales have returned, and can be spotted in an endless series of pods from late March to early May.

grays harbor tourismGray whales are huge, weighing up to 80,000 pounds and measuring up to 49 feet in length. Living up to 70 years, feeding mostly on tiny shrimp-like animals that dwell in the ocean floor, the whales make this migration every spring, with newborns lingering behind them. The entire migration is amazing and visiting in person is strongly encouraged. Whale watching can be a highlight of the spring; a timeless tradition passed on to generation after generation in hopes to have better harmony and understanding with nature.

It might seem daunting to find a whale in the ocean, but you don’t need a sense of vengeance like Captain Ahab to track down these massive mammals. Instead, all you need is a sense of adventure, a day of exploration and a few tips on how and where to see gray whales off the Washington Coast.

Learn about Gray Whales and Whaling

whale watching washington
See a whale up close and personal off the Washington Coast. Photo credit: Ryan Harvey.
One great destination to learn about Gray Whales and their historical importance to the local economy is the Maritime Museum in Westport. With an entire room highlighting Grays Harbor’s whaling past, including locations, pictures and relics from the long past days, the museum is a perfect stop on your Westport whaling adventure.

The ranger station and resort at Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch region also has some information about whales, including occasional talks from NPS rangers about the migration and whales. Contact the park to discover the locations and dates of these talks.

Further north, the Makah Museum on the Makah Reservation at Neah Bay has one of the best exhibits in the state on local tribes, whales, whaling and the connection between whales and local survival. The drive to get here might be a bit long, but combining a stop at Cape Flattery with the museum will almost guarantee you a whale sighting off in the distance.

Go Whale Watching

whale watching washington
Scan the shores of the Pacific to spot a Gray Whale. Photo credit: Tony Cyphert.
In Grays Harbor, opportunities to see gray whales during the spring months are quite prevalent. While you can stand on the coast and scan around for hours with a spotting scope or pair of binoculars, the best bet to see a gray whale is with the tours offered by Ocean Sportfishing Charters in Westport.  Read more here :  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/04/06/whale-watching-washington-2/

Wynoochee Lake: A Gorgeous Destination for Family Fun

April 1st, 2016 by kelly

One of the major benefits to living in Grays Harbor is the proximity to so much natural beauty. The area is a gateway to miles of exquisite beaches, majestic forests, and the awe-inspiring Olympic Mountains. Nature surrounds Grays Harbor, beckoning hopeful explorers. But sometimes exploring the wilderness with small children and knowing just where to go can be a bit daunting.

grays harbor tourismIn particular, the Olympics can be difficult to access. In general, those seeking mountain adventures must hike for several miles to penetrate them. One easier way to admire the mountain scenery with younger nature lovers in tow is at Wynoochee Dam and Lake.

wynoochee lake
The beautiful Olympic Mountains surround Wynoochee Lake.
Located at the mouth of the Olympic Mountains, Wynoochee Lake is a hidden gem. The dam and day use area make a perfect destination for families looking for a day trip. The dam is a little over one hour’s drive from Aberdeen. There are no commercial services in the vicinity, so it is best to pack and plan accordingly. Cell phone coverage can be spotty, and although a pay phone is available, be sure to prepare for that as well.

There are picnic tables, covered areas, a partially paved trail along the lake, and heated restrooms, which are a real treat on cooler days.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/03/31/wynoochee-lake-dam/

Eat Out with the Kids at Family-Friendly Restaurants across Grays Harbor

March 15th, 2016 by kelly

Studies have shown that children who share regular meals with their family deal less with depression. These children also tend to have better self-esteem and school grades.

As a parent, you may feel conscientious about taking your kids to a restaurant or out to eat. However, finding the right place can make all the difference. Whether you are looking for a sit-down restaurant or takeout, there are numerous places in Grays Harbor that are kid-friendly and ideal for a family meal.

Family-Friendly, Sit-Down Restaurants

Grays Harbor is fortunate to have several outstanding restaurants with cozy family-style seating. These include Mazatlán in Aberdeen; El Rancho in Montesano, El Ranchon in Elma, and Las Maracas in Ocean Shores. Not only are these restaurants designed to be family-friendly destinations, they also serve chips and salsa as soon as you are seated, which is ideal for keeping your hungry crew busy and happy until their meals arrive.

AHS Mazatlan Takeover (2)
Kids and teens alike — like this group of Aberdeen High School students — enjoy dinner at Mazatlan in Aberdeen.
The Beehive in Montesano serves tasty food for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Read more here at http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/01/25/kid-friendly-restaurants-grays-harbor/


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