There’s nothing like a trip to the Washington coast. Though I live near the rocky shores of Bellingham Bay and enjoy easy access to saltwater, nothing compares to the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean. Recently, my family took a trip to Westport, where we spent a couple of days exploring state parks and simply relaxing by the beach.
Westport is a fishing town located between Ocean Shores and Long Beach on the Washington coast. Often overshadowed by its bustling neighbors, Westport is a quieter beach destination — best for a day trip or relaxing weekend stay. At roughly 2.5 hours from Seattle, it’s an approachable drive for many city dwellers and an easy ocean escape.
Twin Harbors State Park
Our first stop in Westport was the ocean. After driving over 4 hours from Bellingham, I couldn’t wait to cool off in the saltwater. Twin Harbors State Park provides drive-up beach access, so we rolled right onto the beach and were splashing in the waves in no time.
Sandy beach access makes this park a must-stop for families, couples, or anyone who enjoys playing at the beach. You can even camp in the forested state park. Home to cabins, yurts, tent and RV sites, Twin Harbors State Park has accommodations for everyone. If you’re spending the night, it’s a great place to catch the sunset.
Westport Light State Park
Just a few minutes’ drive north from Twin Harbors, Westport Light State Park is a 560-acre day-use park with 1,215 feet of saltwater shoreline. You can walk a 1.3-mile paved trail into the park from the town of Westport. The Jetty at Westhaven (located within the park) is a popular surfing spot. Even if you’re not interested in surfing yourself, it’s a great place to watch others ride the waves.
Westport Light State Park’s namesake attraction is actually located just outside state park boundaries — on adjacent Coast Guard land. Here, you’ll find Grays Harbor Lighthouse — the tallest lighthouse in Washington state. You can visit the 107-foot lighthouse and climb to the top with $5 advance reservations. While we didn’t climb to the top, it’s worth a stop and photo-opp. Be sure to check the schedule first, as they are currently operating at limited capacity during Covid-19.
If you’d rather skip making reservations at the lighthouse but still want to climb something, look no further than the Westport Viewing Tower. Located in Westhaven near the marina, this observational tower is free and open to the public. From the top, you can see north across Grays Harbor to the Olympic Mountains. The Pacific Ocean stretches west as far as the eye can see. The tower is a great spot for little legs especially — it’s a significantly shorter climb than the Grays Harbor Lighthouse.
As the largest marina on the outer coast of the Pacific Northwest, Westport Marina is home to world-class fishing and seafood. While you’re in town, consider chartering a fishing vessel, walking the marina docks, or buying some fresh seafood from the fishing boats. Interested in catching your own fish? Westport’s seasoned charter crews offer fantastic fishing experiences. You can fish for salmon, halibut, rockfish, lingcod and albacore tuna on Westport fishing charters.
Where to Eat and Drink
It’s hard to beat Merino’s Seafood Market for fresh seafood in Westport. Featuring wild fish caught by local Westport families, it’s arguably the best place in town for fish and chips, clam chowder, smoked salmon and oysters. If you’re looking for pizza and beer, look no further than Blackbeard’s Brewing Company. Located within walking distance of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse, this brewery offers plenty of outdoor seating and is family and dog friendly. Kids will get a kick out of this pirate-themed pub. We especially enjoyed their gluten-free cauliflower crust pizza.
Where to Stay
We stayed at an Airbnb in Bay City, just minutes outside of Westport. The big, bright Bay City Bungalow was a perfect fit for our family. If you want to be closer to town, consider camping at Twin Harbors State Park. Or, check into Loge Westport — a trendy surfer hotel, hostel, and campground located near the action in town.
Featured image: Brandi Lane (Flickr). Additional photos by Brandon Fralic.