Most Washingtonians rarely see our rugged coastline during the fall and winter months. While we typically agree it is too cold to face the waves, those brave enough to bundle up get to experience the pristine dunes and salty spray all to themselves. So, grab your mittens, hats and coats, and instead of hitting the slopes, head for the sand at one of our beautiful beaches.
At just a little over an hour away, Westport is a great location for a day trip during the winter months. The first beach worth visiting is Westport Light State Park. From the top of the dune, visitors will find a pathway that lines the shore from the park all the way into town. The beach here is expansive with nothing but sand for miles in both directions. Tours of the lighthouse located here are available Friday through Monday. For $5 visitors can climb to the top for the impressive view from Washington’s tallest lighthouse.
Just a few miles south, be sure to check out Grayland Beach State Park. This is the best spot for miles to fly a kite and take the dog for a beautiful walk down the coast. This park also offers oceanfront RV spots and yurts, making winter storm viewing possible from the warmth of your campsite. This spot is also a must see for bird-watching enthusiasts as many different species gather here.
Venture into town where Westport really shines. The Westport Maritime Museum makes it easy to take a step back in time and discover shipwrecks, whale bones and beach combing treasures. Just steps away from the front doors of the museum are the docks that line the streets. Seals can be heard cruising the harbor as local fisherman bring in their catch of the day. A stroll down these sidewalks leads to fresh seafood, shopping for eclectic beach treasures and a variety of treats.
Westport is also home to Westport Winery, continuously rated one of the best wineries in our state. Their tasting room includes a range of wines for any palate including varieties made with apples, pineapple and raspberries. Along with the tasting room there is a dog park, garden and their renowned restaurant, Sea Glass Grill.
Across the street from the breathtaking Twin Harbors State Park, be sure to check out Cranberry Road Winery. What started out of a residential garage has grown into a massive venue producing delicious wine made entirely from locally grown cranberries. Their onsite restaurant pairs their wine with artisan pizza and prosciutto-wrapped oysters from the bay.
Along with unique wines, the coast boasts multiple breweries. Start at Aberdeen’s Steam Donkey Brewing. This family-friendly brewpub is 100 percent organic and no-nonsense. The brewers here focus on locally harvested ingredients to make their refreshing brews. Hoquiam Brewing Company is the newest watering hole in the area. Based in a historic building, the resurrected brewhouse is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Their snack-based menu and large televisions make it a great hangout during the big game. Closer to the waves, Blackbeard’s Brewing Company in Westport embraces the pirate life with large mugs and even bigger pizzas. Beyond the usual alcoholic beverages, this location also brews their own root beer. It is a great spot to unwind after a day in the sand.
As the sun sets on your action-packed day at the beach, it is time to view the sun sinking into the ocean. The best spot for the most panoramic view has to be the Port of Grays Harbor Observation Tower located at the end of the Westport Marina. Those willing to climb to the top will get a 360-degree view of the marina, jetty and miles of coastline. The sunsets here are unmatched, so bundle up and head to the top.
Winter is the perfect season to head for the beach to soak up the sun through layers of wool. The wind chill may be low, but an amazing adventure awaits those willing to take on the cold and stride through the sand in their snow boots.