The 18 miles of sandy beaches that stretch from Westport to Tokeland is otherwise known as the South Beach and its everything you would want in a Pacific Northwest Beach. Whether you're looking for a fishing adventure, beautiful beaches, surfing, kite flying, whale watching, crabbing, or just relaxing, the South Beach is the place to be.
Many Seattlites have never heard of Westport. Or they think its "near ocean shores". It's actually on the opposite side of the mouth of Grays Harbor from Ocean Shores, nearly an hour away (although its the same distance from Seattle to Westport as it is from Seattle to Ocean Shores). Many Seattlites think there are no beaches worth noting in Washington, that they have to go to Cannon Beach or Seaside, Oregon, to get the beach town experience. Not true. Westport is a great little getaway beach town.
In the summer, you can't beat it to beat the heat in the City. For a beach town, it's not overdeveloped, in fact its quite understated. The marina district has a nice mixture of upscale restaurants (we got our first sushi restaurant, yay!) and hole-in-the-wall diners. Fishing is still a very important part of the community, and if you've ever wanted to try a fishing charter, you can do that from July 1 until the quotas are met for less than a round of drinks in downtown Seattle.
Surfing is huge here, at Westhaven State Park and Half Moon Bay. There are 2 surf shops in town (Steepwater Surf Shop, and The Surf Shop) that can outfit you with a wetsuit and a board for under $50. A lesson will cost a little more, but not by much.
Bikes and paddleboats are available for rent down on the water. Kites can be purchased for just a few dollars and can keep your kids busy for hours.
In the spring and fall, watch the WDFW to see when the beaches are open for clamming. During crab season, you can drop your crab pots right off of the fisherman's boardwalk - no boats required.
Starting in September, the salmon that were released by the local high school class start to return to the Marina, and you can fish right off the boardwalk and participate in the Salmon Derby.
There is all kinds of old fashioned fun here. It's perfect for a romantic getaway or a family trip. Day trips and overnighters. There is everything from campgrounds to low budget motels, to luxury condos. And you're only 2.5 hours from downtown Seattle. No ferry rides, no major bridges, no major bottlenecks.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Having lived in Seattle for the past 5 years, rain and stormy weather is not new to me. But I must admit, the word "storm" takes on a whole new meaning when you are living 200 feet from the Pacific Ocean. While the entire Pacific Northwest has been drenched with over 13" of rain this November, the really scary stuff was reserved for those of us at the beach.
It started with torrential downpours early in the month, continued with thunder and lightning rivaling that on Poltergeist, and ended with sustained 40 -60 MPH winds on two occasions over the past week.
Last Saturday evening, the sky was growling, the surf was pounding, and I was ready to take my 5 month old and crawl under the bed. I literally jumped out of my skin at 3:30 AM when I was CERTAIN we were being attacked (by who?) because the thunder sounded like a grenade outside my window. (That is either a testament to the thunder or my sheltered life, so maybe I should just be thankful). That particular storm completely blew out our condo building elevator breaker and fried my television (along with a dozen others in my building), but we survived to tell the tale.
I was lucky enough to witness a truly spectacular sight was last Wednesday, after the strongest winds left Westport without power for over 12 hours, was the evening sky. The closest streetlights were across the bay in Ocean Shores, and in the absense of light, there was the most amazing display of the milky way that I have ever seen. It was a breathtaking view, and was a sharp reminder of the good that sometimes comes with the bad.
When it was all said and done, the tree branches and debris were cleared from the roads and the power was back on, we weren't that worse for the wear despite how scary the howling winds and the complete and utter darkness were at the time.
It made me understand the ads I used to see for "stormwatching" specials and the stream of people that come into town when the sky is particularly foreboding. So for you Seattleites and Portlanders who frown when the skies get gray, take a weekend and visit the beach, bundle up take a walk on the beach in the weather, and experience the splendor.