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Indulge Yourself at the 13-mile Chocolate on the Beach Festival in Grays Harbor

Chocolate on the Beach Festival death by choco cake 2017
The amazing Death By Chocolate Cake made by Shannon Vavich of The Flying Kitchen. Photo courtesy: Ocean Crest Resort

Attention fans of delicious chocolate: you need to go to the Washington Coast at the end of February. On February 22-25, the Chocolate on the Beach Festival is once again returning to the North Beach of Grays Harbor and it is the can’t miss event of the season. Stretching for 13 miles, from Copalis to Moclips, this year’s 11th annual festival promises to be an amazing experience. As the only event bridging together the small communities along this section of the Washington Coast, the Chocolate on the Beach Festival has grown into the perfect winter activity in the region. No matter what the weather, smiles, sweets and happiness abound, as it is always raining chocolate during the last week of February along the coast.

Chocolate on the Beach Festival chocolate eating 2011
The annual chocolate eating contest is a favorite among festival goers. Photo courtesy: Ocean Crest Resort

“The coolest thing about this festival is that we do grants to help the community,” says Sara Owen and Stephanie Allestad, two of the event organizers. “Local non-profits can apply for a grant, and they must help with event. Then the board gets together and awards grants. Recent recipients have helped Pacific Beach Elementary get new playground equipment.”

Each year the Chocolate on the Beach Festival awards its proceeds to non-profits benefiting the North Beach. The festival started in 2008 as a fundraiser for the Museum of the North Beach and in 2012 became its own entity.  Read more here:

Ken Waite Memorial Golf Tournament

The Grays Harbor College is proud to announce that they once again will be hosting the Ken Waite Memorial Golf Tournament.  The tournament will be hosted at Highlands Golf Course, and all proceeds benefit Grays Harbor College Choker Athletics.  The tournament is Saturday, May 12, 2018 and registration begins at 8:30 am, with golfing starting at 9:00 am.  The cost is $65 per person, and the entry fee includes green fees, BBQ after golf, tee prizes, and awards.  Every golfer receives a sleeve of Ken Waite Memorial Golf Balls as well.  The tournament is sponsored by Snell Crane, Corona Steel, Five Star Dealerships, Schermer Construction, Northwest Rock, Tacoma Rainiers, Rognlins, Coast Crane, and Pacific Coast General Contractors.  Sign up today by contacting Margo Hood at 360-538-4066.  Entry deadline is May 5, 2018.  Sign up as a team or individual.

Ever Growing Art Scene Livens up Grays Harbor

Grays Harbor Art Humptulips Hornbee

As humans, we are drawn to vivid colors, things out of the norm, or things that evoke an emotional response. Art is not only a form of creative expression for artists, but often times carries with it a unique story or a rich message in history that everyone can appreciate. Grays Harbor is teeming with talented artists whose creations are well worth admiring. The art scene is an important part of local culture and Grays Harbor is continually growing with exciting changes underway.  Read more here:

Where to Explore Logging History in Grays Harbor

Grays Harbor Logging History Sign
This sign welcomes you as you enter Aberdeen from the East, find out why by visiting Grays Harbor museums. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

You’ve seen the “Lumber Capital of the World” sign as you drive into Aberdeen from the east, but do you know why the city was given that title? While almost everyone knows that the timber industry and Grays Harbor County go hand in hand, few know just how deep the connection goes, and how rich that history is.

The region was sought after for the towering resources that scraped the sky. When the British first explored this area, they are rumored to have said that whoever controls these forests will rule the world. Within 130 years of the initial “discovery” of Grays Harbor by Captain Robert Gray, Aberdeen become the largest lumber town in the world. With direct access to the Pacific Ocean, Aberdeen was once said to be the busiest port on America’s west coast. While at one time Grays Harbor was the lumber capital of the world, the remnants of the logging industry are barely noticeable today. To preserve the past glory of the region, there are a few museums where the incredible history of logging can be seen. From the coast to the friendly-rivaled cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam, these museums will have you inundated with impressible pictures, machinery and buildings form the logging heydays of Grays Harbor. Spread through the county, three museums showcase Grays Harbor’s logging history, with each a destination that should be visited by locals and visitors alike. To understand this corner of the world, visiting one or all of these collections is in order.  Read more here:

Ocean Crest Resort’s Jess Owen Mixes up Local Ingredients with Global Flare


Ocean Crest Resort
Two Lobster Tail Dinner. Photo credit: Ocean Crest Resort

Out along the Washington Coast, where there are more pieces of driftwood than people, it can be hard to be noticed for excellence in almost any craft. Yet, up on a bluff from the breakers of the Pacific, one restaurant is becoming a Pacific Northwest leader for amazing cuisine, unique dishes and delectable delicacies. Inspired by Jess Owen’s creativity, the Ocean Crest Resort and Restaurant is one of the finest dining destinations in Washington State. Since the restaurant opened its doors in 1963, those who enjoy quality, local foods have fallen in love with the Ocean Crest. Over 50 years later, the delicious meals and incredible flavors found at the Ocean Crest continue in the spirit of its creators.  Read more here at

Grays Harbor Fairgrounds Receives Grant for Improvements to Equestrian Area Restrooms

grays harbor fair
Grays Harbor Fairgrounds and Tourism Manager, Mike Bruner, says that there is “so much value for attendees.”

Grays Harbor Fairgrounds Receives Grant for Improvements to Equestrian Area Restrooms

The grant will be used to cover the purchase of doors, paint and fixtures for the restrooms. The Equestrian Center hosts on-going programs and special activities throughout the year – from high school team events to public rodeos to horseback riding for kids with disabilities.

“We are extremely thankful for the grant from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation,” said Kelly Peterson-Lalka of Grays Harbor Fairgrounds.

“We host thousands of participants and visitors throughout the year for equestrian activities, and the improved restroom facilities will make a big difference.”

Read more here at

Grays Harbor: A Beachcomber’s Paradise

Beachcombing Grays Harbor
Looking north from Moclips, you can see the sea stacks off Point Grenville that are part of the Copalis National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: Dani Dooley

Grays Harbor: A Beachcomber’s Paradise

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Grays Harbor’s 50 miles of ocean coastline are a beachcomber’s paradise. Treasures range from driftwood to shipwrecks and everything in between. In years past, treasure hunters have found household debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and Nike shoes and rubber duckies from container spills. With some basic knowledge and a little luck, you too can discover something amazing or interesting on the beaches of Grays Harbor.

Carl Ebbesmeyer is a researcher that tracks the treasures floating across thousands of miles of ocean. He calls his study flotsamology. Experts like Ebbesmeyer suggest the best treasures will be found after a storm along the wrack line — the swath of debris deposited by the previous high tide. Follow the descending tide for deposits of driftwood, bullwhip kelp, bottles, plastics, glass, balls, buoys and more. Watch for shells, rocks and agates as the tide nears low.

Beachcombing Grays Harbor
A stunning sunset and low tide combine over beachcombers searching for sea glass. Pack a flashlight to extend your search at the beach. Photo credit: Dani Dooley

Check the weather and tide tables for your planned beach before heading out, and make sure to take some supplies to be prepared. It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit, snacks and plenty of water in your car. Rubber boots and rain gear as well as some good plastic-coated garden-type gloves will be helpful in muddy conditions. Of course, you’ll want a container to stow your finds in, and a camera for restricted items or treasures too big to take home.

Most beaches will gather flotsam as the tide goes out, but in Grays Harbor there are a few beaches that stand out as treasure troves of desirable debris. Grayland Beach is one of the best. The local area hosts a yearly Driftwood Show and Glass Float Hunt and is so well known that the beachcombing here is competitive. Be sure to arrive early and follow the tide out. After a big storm, you will find sand dollars, driftwood, bullwhip kelp, sea creatures, cool rocks, shells and incredible amounts of flotsam. You may drive on this beach year-round, but beware of soft sand at the beach approaches. It’s always a good idea to have shovels, tow ropes and lumber to assist in towing a stuck car.  Read more here:

Tips for Storm Watching on the Washington Coast



Each year, when summer ends and the clouds once again cover Grays Harbor, a number of locals and visitors start getting excited for the return of inclement weather. Like clockwork, fall and winter storms stack up over the Pacific Ocean, making a beeline straight for the sandy shores of our region. While some stay home, the hearty and adventurous head out directly into the storm. For those that don’t know, Grays Harbor is one of the best places to watch coastal storms, giving you a unique opportunity to experience the awesome power of the sea. Usually starting in October and going through April, these storms are yet another way to enjoy the wild beauty of our county. If you haven’t witnessed first-hand the power of a storm along the coast, make plans to do it next time the wind and rain return. Whether you come for a day or ride out the whole storm, the beaches of Grays Harbor can give you the ultimate experience.

Safety First

Storms can be dangerous. Trees may fall, landslides could occur and the giant waves will toss logs around along the beach. That being said, there are a few things you can do during storm watching along the coast, to stay safe while witnessing the strength of nature.  Read more here:

Storm Watching
Tossing driftwood around with ease, the storms that slam into the coast are beautiful, powerful and will leave you in awe at the power of nature. Photo credit: Douglas

How and Where to Clam Dig on the Washington Coast

Washington Clam Digging
While the best low tide clamming days may see some crowds, this is a truly Pacific Northwest experience. Photo credit: NOAA

How and Where to Clam Dig on the Washington Coast

Along the Washington Coast, the razor clam digging season is upon us. With the return of the rain and cold weather, hearty Pacific Northwest residents flock to the coast in hopes to get their limit of delicious mollusks. Considered to be one of the quintessential Pacific Northwest activities, clam digging is a fun, cheap and family-friendly activity that will provide delicious meals and incredible memories. Fun for all ages, all that is needed to clam dig is a permit, an implement to dig the clams and a container to put the clams in once you have found them. While that sounds easy enough, there are a handful of tips and information you’ll need to ensure a successful, safe and legal clam dig along the Washington beaches of the Pacific Ocean.

Where and When to Go Clamming

Washington Clam Digging
Clam digging along the Washington Coast is a great family activity. Photo credit: Jason Walsh

Stretching from Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park down to the southern end of the Washington Coast along the mouth of the Columbia River, numerous destinations are available to clammers. While many clam diggers have their favorite beach, the most important thing is to ensure that the beach you are planning to go to is open for clamming that day. Before heading out, it is also important to check the time of the upcoming tides. The lower the tide, the better clamming. Because of this, most clam digging dates are centered around low tides. In the fall and winter, the low tides take place in the dark, when it is often rainy and cold. Spring tides allow for daylight clam digging with a potential for better weather, but most serious clammers go during the fall and winter season.  Read more here at

Where to Hunt Mushrooms in Grays Harbor County

Grays Harbor Mushroom
A local favorite, Chicken in the Woods is easily found around Grays Harbor’s forests. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

Where to Hunt Mushrooms in Grays Harbor County

All around Grays Harbor amazing outdoor opportunities await those who are searching. Some find solace in the rivers or along the coast. Others find their happiness foraging in the depths of the towering timbers, searching for delicious treasures along the forest floor. Grays Harbor County is home to some of the most sought after and delicious mushrooms in the world. From chanterelles, hedgehogs, morels, oysters, boletes, and chicken of the woods, the mushrooms in this corner of Washington State are extremely tasty and sought after. If you like to hunt for mushrooms – to sell, eat or just to look at – Grays Harbor is an amazing destination to forage.

Grays Harbor Mushroom
Once you have the skills and knowledge, finding a haul like this is possible every day during the fall. Photo credit: Terresa Taylor

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of mushroom hunting before starting this fun activity. The Puget Sound Mycological Society tells us that “Washington State is divided into numerous federal, state, local and Native American jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction has its own rules (or not) and its own way of publishing and enforcing these rules (or not.)”

Knowing who to contact and what to ask can be confusing, but the Department of Natural Resources is usually your best step. Besides being able to direct you to the proper person to speak with, they also have information on harvest locations and limits. The National Forest Service is also an excellent resource, giving a straightforward guide to the rules and regulations of personal and commercial mushroom harvesting.  Read more here: