Visit Washington Beaches To Watch Winter Storms

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Explore the Grays Harbor beaches November through early March to experience winter storm watching on the Washington Coast. It’s the best time to visit Grays Harbor seaside towns to see storms and King Tides. Seeking amazing views of massive waves, beach-goers from across the state make their way to the charming coastal towns of Westport, Ocean Shores and beyond.

The calm before the storms along the Washington Coast. Check local weather conditions and advisories before venturing out, and pay close attention to signs posted at beaches including possible closures. Photo credit: Meagan Friberg

Storm Watching in Westport

One of the best spots to watch the high tides during winter is the multi-level Port of Grays Harbor Observation Tower at the Westport Marina. Check out this video of a powerful King Tide shot from atop and around the tower.

Just a short drive from the tower, discover a different view at Westport Light State Park or Grayland Beach State Park. Remember to be cautious, keep a safe distance, stay away from breaking waves, and never turn your back on the ocean.

Take a break from the elements by taking a tour of Grays Harbor Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the state, built in 1898. Stop by Westport Pizza Company or Aloha Alabama BBQ for a bite to eat. Find comfortable overnight accommodations at the Westport Marina Cottages or the Breakers Boutique Inn.

Storm Watching in Ocean Shores

Whether you prefer watching the high tides from Damon Point or the North Jetty, Ocean Shores is one of the most popular coastal towns in Washington to visit during the winter months.

The North Jetty is a great spot to watch storms from the safety and comfort of your vehicle in the extensive parking area. Check out this video from last season of waves crashing over the jetty rocks.

At Damon Point, bundle up and watch high tides from the edge of the parking area. Keep in mind – safety comes first, so be aware of your surroundings and don’t take unnecessary risks during storms.

Escape the elements with a visit to the Coastal Interpretive Center, an inviting and informative place for visitors of all ages. Stay a night or two at the Canterbury Inn or in a charming Oyhut Bay cottage. A wide assortment of eateries, including Bennett’s Fish Shack, Oyhut Bay Grill, or Galway Bay Irish Pub, welcome hungry visitors.

The North Jetty in Ocean Shores is a great spot to watch storms from the safety and comfort of your vehicle in the extensive parking area. Photo credit: Meagan Friberg

Timing is Everything for Grays Harbor Winter Storm Watching

The University of Washington’s Sea Grant website has a helpful list of predicted dates and times for King Tides on the Washington Coast during the 2023-24 storm season.

Visit the Tides and Currents website to find up-to-date information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on tides and currents in Grays Harbor County before venturing out to local beaches. Low and high tide information may also be found on this website for Ocean Shores Tide Chart and Westport Tide Chart.

Washington Coast Storm Watching Safety Tips

Beautiful, powerful and dangerous – each word perfectly describes a winter storm along the Washington Coast. Check local weather conditions and advisories on the National Weather Service website before venturing out and pay close attention to signs posted at beaches including possible closures.

These helpful safety tips found on the Sea Grant Washington website are good reminders when venturing out to witness storms along the Washington Coast:

  • Be aware of potential mudslides, downed trees, and road closures
  • Be extra careful when walking on slippery surfaces
  • Be aware of your surroundings and weather conditions
  • Remember to obey safety signage and guard rails
  • Dress for the elements with waterproof jackets and shoes
small group of people standing on a Grays Harbor Beach looking at the waves
With fewer crowds and higher waves, winter is well-known for being the favored season for storm watchers on the Washington Coast. Photo credit: Meagan Friberg

Don’t Get Caught by Sneaker Waves at the Coast

The chance of sneaker waves along the coast increases during the winter months as well, according to National Weather Service. “This means the water may move further up the beach than expected at times,” the National Weather Service website states. “Stay back from the water’s edge and keep your eyes towards the ocean at all times.”

Additional safety tips include:

  • Keep a safe distance and stay away from breaking waves
  • Never turn your back on the ocean
  • Avoid approaching driftwood and slick rocks
  • Park far away from the water

All that’s left is to book where to stay in Grays Harbor, pack your rain gear and some comfort food and get ready to enjoy winter storms on the Washington Coast.

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