by Rory Douglas | Photo Grays Harbor Lighthouse
Westport has everything you didn’t know you wanted in a beach town: scenic cranberry bogs, the oldest and possibly smallest public aquarium in the state and a growing colony of feral cats living in the rocks by the harbor. No, these aren’t your standard beach-town tourist attractions, but that’s part of Westport’s charm.
Actually, Westport’s big draw is the surf. Surfers of all abilities head for the water just south of the jetty, and, if you don’t mind the cold, you can find good waves year round. Two surf shops—Steepwater and Westport Surf Shop—offer lessons, board rentals and the thickest wetsuits available.
Westport is home to one of the largest fishing charter fleets on the West Coast. If you’d rather eat fish than surf with them, you can charter a boat for a day of deep sea fishing. Or you can take the easy route and buy the day’s catch at the docks. You can also rent a crab pot or fishing line and cast out at the beach or from the harbor. On days when clamming is legal, you can rent clam gear and hunt razor clams at low tide. Be sure to check with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for license and season information.
A paved two-mile path from town through the dunes leads to Grays Harbor lighthouse, with plenty of bird-watching opportunities along the way. In town, The Maritime Museum occupies a historic Coast Guard station and is home to the Destruction Island Lens, which is just as cool as it sounds. On the road to town you’ll pass Westport Winery, where, besides wine tasting and great food, plenty of activity is usually going on. And nearby Grayland is where you’ll find the cranberry bogs.
Westport is one of the closest open-ocean beaches to the Seattle area, making it an easy destination for day trips to the Pacific. Most of the attractions are at the north end of town, but mind the speed limit as you’re driving through—the main road is patrolled by a mannequin in a police car. That’s the sort of town Westport is.
When You Go
For information about visiting the Grays Harbor area, go to visitgraysharbor.com
- Steepwater Surf Shop, steepwatersurfshop.com
- Westport Surf Shop, westportsurfshop.com
- Charter Fishing, westportwa.com/business/Charter.php
- Westport Winery, westportwinery.org
- Westport Aquarium, westportaquarium.weebly.com
- Westport Maritime Museum and Grays Harbor Lighthouse, westportmaritimemuseum.com