Washington State Coastline
Along the Washington State coastline adventure abounds on both land and sea, be it birding or whale watching, kite flying or winter storm watching, horseback riding or clam digging. Abundant oysters and fish are the freshest anywhere, whether you catch them yourself or just order them in a restaurant. And remember to sample recipes that include the world-famous cranberries grown in local bogs along the cranberry coast.
If you enjoy being transported back in time, the Coast will ignite your imagination. At Fort Canby State Park, you can relive the adventures of Lewis and Clark who completed their quest for the Pacific near this spot almost 200 years ago. Built on a rocky headland, and home to a century-old lighthouse, this interpretive center contains exhaustive journal excerpts, maps and photo-murals of places along the explorers’ route.
This region was also once a major supplier of lumber to the world and famous for its deep-water harbors and innovative shipbuilding. Stroll the boardwalk in a historic seaport or poke around old logging towns where you can hunt for antiques. When you’re tired, cuddle in one of the many B&Bs that were once oceanfront retreats for timber barons.
The most common visitors to this region are not even people. Millions of migratory birds annually visit the estuaries and tide flats that make for rich feeding grounds. Bird watchers flock here from all over the world to spy on a cast of characters with names like sandpipers, plover, yellowlegs and marbled godwit, along with brown pelicans and the kingly great blue heron – to name just a few.
During the summer months, be sure to take a boat tour to watch gray whales as they pass Washington during their migration to summer feeding grounds. Weighing up to 40 tons and growing up to 40 feet in length, these giant mammals are also gentle and curious by nature. During the height of the season (about mid-March through April) the whales can be easy to find, but their combination of grace and size is impossible to capture in words.
Many beach destinations around the world have been created or drastically developed for tourists, but the Washington State coastline retains its woodsy character and historical landscape. The people who live here and the people who visit, love it because it hasn’t changed in ways that ruin the spirit of a magical place. The birds and the whales still love to come here too. In the summer, the heat of the sun is balanced in the Pacific Ocean breeze. The spring and fall bring the transient sounds and colors of seasonal change and migration. And in the winter, powerful storms play out torrential dramas on the shore. Whenever you come, bring your true self, plus a kite, binoculars, a fishing pole and a healthy appetite.
Traveling the Washington State Coastline
Learn about the towns along the Pacific Coast Highway (opens new site)
Washington Highway 101 Road Trip (opens new site)