15 Free Things To Do With Kids This Summer in Grays Harbor

summer grays harbor

Summer is almost here! With kids out of school, families are looking for things to do around Grays Harbor.  Here are 15 ideas for activities, events and things to do around Grays Harbor that won’t break the bank.

1.  Lake Aberdeen

grays harbor tourismWith a unique play area, picnic tables, and a shallow area for wading and swimming, Lake Aberdeen tops the list of free places to spend some time this summer. Fishing and boating are allowed on the lake. To reach the lake coming from Aberdeen, drive on highway 12 E toward Montesano and make a left on Aberdeen Lake Rd. At the fish hatchery, take another left to stay on Aberdeen Lake Rd. Follow the road to the park entrance.

2.  Flag Day Parade

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Lake Aberdeen is a beautiful spot to play and swim this summer.

Have some old-fashioned fun by visiting Ocean Shores for the annual Flag Day parade. The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 11. Arrive early, as it can get busy, pick a spot, and be prepared to catch candy and greet the floats. The parade is only one of many free and fun family friendly events in Ocean Shores over the summer, including the annual Beach Blast and the Festival of Colors.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/06/07/free-summer-kids-grays-harbor/

Celebrate State Parks ShellFest 2016 at Westport Light State Park


The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Parks Foundation invite the public to attend ShellFest, this year taking place in Grays Harbor County.  ShellFest is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 4, 2016 at Westport Light State Park, at the foot of West Ocean Avenue in Westport. Turn left at the traffic light and go to the end of the roadway.  The event will include exhibits, a shellfish lunch, low-tide beach walks guided by local experts, shellfish displays, hands-on activities for children, touch tanks and education about restoring and protecting shellfish beds in Puget Sound and the coast as part of the statewide.

Washington Shellfish Initiative (WSI), Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, Taylor Shellfish Farms and Goose Point Oysters will provide a shellfish lunch. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is free with a suggested donation of $7 per person or $20 per family to benefit the Washington State Parks Foundation.  A Discover Pass will not be needed for vehicle access to the park this day because June 4 is a State Parks ‘Free Day,’ in recognition of National Trails Day. Event organizers recommend that participants bring their own chairs, dress for the weather and bring mosquito repellant.  ShellFest kicks off the weeklong Washington Shellfish Week, June 4 through 11, with activities and events taking place in various locations on the Washington coast and in Puget Sound.

Gov. Jay Inslee launched Phase II of the Washington Shellfish Initiative (WSI), a collaborative partnership with federal, tribal, industry and non-profit partners aimed at protecting and enhancing unique shellfish resources that are at the heart of creating shellfish farming jobs, cleaning Washington’s waters and continuing traditions of eating shellfish from our shores.  Washington became the first state in the nation to establish a shellfish initiative. Visit  https://aquaculture.wsg.uw.edu to learn more about shellfish week events.

Introducing the Farm to Beach Concept at Seabrook

seabrook washington
In its 12th year, Seabrook, the decade old beach town along the Olympic Peninsula in Grays Harbor County is bringing yet another revolutionary idea to the sustainable, authentic beach village. The Seabrook town plan was designed in 2004 so that within a 5-minute walk or cycle, residents and guests would be connected to all retail and common areas.

grays harbor tourismIn keeping with the notion of building community with easy access to goods and services, the most recent neighborhood is on the eastern edge of town. The Seabrook Farm District remains just a short walk or cruise from the beach and offers a relaxed, organic lifesseabrook washingtontyle in a more rural setting.

“The Farm District was actually one of our original design ideas for Seabrook,” explains marketing director, Ivo Andov. “We wanted an area that would be more open and reminiscent of a farm along the ocean. We researched other beach towns yet did not really find the combination of beach and farm. We knew we had something unique and special. Within just a few minutes walk or bike, everyone can enjoy the beach, farm, and Seabrook’s retail and dining district.”

The Farm District is tucked away from the busier neighborhoods and the shops on Meriweather and Front Street . Characterized by open green areas, orchards, and berry patches, each craftsman style farm home has been expertly designed for the best woodland and pasture views. The home sites are each uniquely situated upon large green spaces ideal for small individual vegetable and fruit gardens.

Wind Gate Equestrian offers horse classes and camps for kids and adults in the Seabrook Farm District. Photo courtesy: Seabrook.



“We launched the first phase of the Farm District in fall, 2015 with 19 home sites, many of which have been already sold. We are now offering some of the smaller Orchard Cottages while still having several of the spacious farm homes available. And soon this area will showcase the Seabrook Community Garden,” shares Andov.Neighborhood parks are a distinctive feature at Seabrook and the Farm District is no different. Horseshoe Park is the community gathering spot with a sunken stone fire pit overlooking the north pasture. Yet unique to the Farm District are the barn plus tennis and pickle ball courts. Wind Gate Equestrian runs classes and camps for both kids and adults wanting to learn more about the care and riding of horses.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/06/01/seabrook-washington/

Twin Bridges County Park Revitalized for Family Fun in Grays Harbor


Kitesurfing Rocks Year-Round at Ocean Shores

For some people the term “Ah, go fly a kite!” is more than a brush-off line from a 1930’s Little Rascals movie—it’s an actual call to the art of kite flying at the beach. Consistent winds on the Grays Harbor coast beckon all levels of flying aficionados year-round with any number of kite designs.

grays harbor tourismOn blustery weekends, the western Ocean Shores sky is festooned with these wind floaters. From single string fabrications to their multiline sophisticates, from traditional four-corner tailed kites to modern behemoths, they share the oceanside vista in aerial dance.

Of the many flying experiences available, kitesurfing, stands out for its physicality and adventurous style.

kitesurfing ocean shores
Kiters on shore talk shop. They are are open to giving information on the sport and taking care of each other. The board is fitted with a hydrofoil allowing it to rise above the water a couple feet for a feeling of flying. Photo courtesy: Dennis Crowley.

Kitesurfing is a water-surface sport mixing the skills of other aquatic endeavors including wakeboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, and even terra firma gymnastics into one awesome extreme sport.Kite flying itself has an ancient, fable-laden history and propelling objects using a kite system can be traced back into the nineteenth century. Kitesurfing itself began in 1977 with Gijsbertus Adrianus, a Dane awarded the first kitesurfing patent who can be considered its originator.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/05/09/kitesurfing-ocean-shores/

5 Scenic Nature Drives in Grays Harbor

nature drive grays harbor

Living in the Pacific Northwest, especially on and near the Olympic Peninsula, we are lucky to have access to some of the scenic drives in the country. From old growth forests housing elk, bear, bobcat and deer to coastal vistas that are wilder than anything seen along competing coastlines, the scenic beauty in our neck of the woods offer great opportunities for exploration. While many know that all you need to do is drive along Highway 101 around the Peninsula for fantastic views and experiences, few know the joy of experiencing a remote forest service road.

The remote roads around Grays Harbor not only show us the beauty of the region, but they also give us a glimpse into our shared history and culture. Driving along a dirt road in the middle of the woods, it is easy to see what drew so many settlers to this area and why the native populations have called this place home for millennia. On your next day off, pack a picnic, hop in your car and explore these nature drives around Grays Harbor.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2015/04/18/5-scenic-nature-drives-grays-harbor/

Birders Delight at the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival

Attention residents of Grays Harbor: Prepare to be inundated with hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.

grays harbor tourismThis weekend, Hoquiam will become the center of the world for shorebirds as they make their annual migration from South America. Some of these birds will travel over 15,000 miles, making a quick stop in our backyard before continuing their journey north. Since they are stopping by our own backyard wildlife refuge, what better way to welcome them than by throwing a huge festival?

grays harbor shorebird festival

Shorebirds in flight during a visit to the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: USFWS.

This year’s Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival promises to be an excellent adventure. With 24 events, lectures and field trips taking place over the three-day event, birding enthusiasts and newbies to the activity will find something perfect for them. Working together to produce the annual Shorebird and Nature Festival, the Grays Harbor Audubon Society, Grays Harbor NWR, the City of Hoquiam and a handful of other local sponsors are eager to have you attend this year’s event.The highlight of this event for many is the bird viewing that occurs at the Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge. While many will think that they can just pop down to the refuge and take a good look at the shorebirds, you will need to plan your trip around high tide.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/05/02/grays-harbor-shorebird-festival-2/

Celebrate the Natural Beauty of Grays Harbor During Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days

fishing grays harbor
Grays Harbor has more than salmon. Anglers can catch rainbow trout around the region. Photo credit: Washington State Fish & Wildlife.

Celebrate the Natural Beauty of Grays Harbor During Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days

grays harbor tourismLocated at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds, this event is sure to get you excited to explore and experience the wilderness all around the Pacific Northwest. With great food, awesome drinks, fantastic vendors and amazing music, Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days promises to be the nature event of the spring. If you love the natural beauty of Grays Harbor and beyond, you do not want to miss this event. Partnering with Grays Harbor Tourism and Youth Outdoors Unlimited, this promises to be an great weekend for the entire family.

Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days is an event geared toward those who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle, including hiking, fishing, bird watching, hunting, clamming, camping, shooting, and archery. Families who love being in nature will find plenty of informative vendors and engaging activities at this event.

outdoor days grays harbor
Visit the Horns and Hooks display during Outdoor Days on April 30 – May 1.

The cost to attend is just $10 for guests 16 and older, while it is free for anyone 15 and younger.“This event is to promote the great outdoors in the greater Grays Harbor County area and bring some exciting new exhibitors, vendors, attractions, and entertainment to the area,” explains Rex Peterson of Horns and Hooks. “We want to expose as many people as possible to the great outdoors throughout the area and the unforgettable opportunities we have in the area for people to enjoy.”

Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days has tons of activities for guests of all ages. Adults will enjoy the booths, seminars, guides, outfitters and deals on fantastic gear. This year’s event will have informational seminars from professional guides and outfitters, a 3D Archery Range organized by Youth Outdoors Unlimited, a free kids trout pond, a BB gun range, and kids archery.  Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/04/19/outdoor-days-grays-harbor/

Go Fly a Kite – 6 Grays Harbor Beaches Perfect for Your Kite Flying Adventures

In the 1990s at Ocean Shores, my family knew where to find me. On windy days year round, I would be flying my stunt kite with my sister or the neighbors, getting into what we called “Kite Wars.” Countless days were spent on the sandy shores, flying our kites over the dunes, testing our skill, as strong winds blasted inland from the mighty Pacific Ocean. In the summer, our favorite beaches would transform away from their empty winter cocoon into a vibrant cacophony of kites of all shapes and sizes. Giant twirling beasts would be circled by stunt kites, zipping in and out of sight, while box kites would sit perfectly still high, above the crowds of people, horses and cars below.
kite flying grays harbor
Kite flying can provide endless hours of entertainment. Photo credit: Paul T. Marsh.
The beaches and coastal towns have long served as weekend and summer destinations, giving families and visitors of all ages incredible opportunities and activities, like kite flying. Kite flying has been a pastime enjoyed around the world for over 2,000 years, but in Grays Harbor, kite flying has only been an activity for less than century. The region is home to dozens of kite stores, featuring numerous of styles of kite for every occasion, making finding the right kite tough work. Luckily for the people of Grays Harbor, Ocean Shores Kites are here to help.  Read more here at http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2015/06/06/kite-flying-grays-harbor-beach/

16 Outdoor Adventures Await in Grays Harbor for 2016

Tales and Trails of Lake Swano at Grays Harbor College

April 6th, 2016 by kelly

lake swano trail
The Alder Creek watershed serves as an educational tool in resource management to the Grays Harbor community.

Beside the Grays Harbor College campus lies an unsuspecting patch of forest. Concealed within these towering trees is the peaceful and serene Lake Swano, a lovely spot nestled in the Alder Creek watershed.

oly orthoIn the late 1940s, Mr. Swano Katalinich owned and operated a gravel pit along Alder Creek. While placing a road to the gravel pit, construction crews built a dam in Alder Creek, creating Lake Swano.

In the decades following its formation, Lake Swano inspired various educational and recreational interests. Grays Harbor College purchased the lake in 1962, and immediately put plans for trail development into place. These plans would not come to fruition for some time, however.

lake swano trail
A set of steps are all that remain of the Swano Katalinich homestead.

Alder Creek became an area of interest for the college’s fisheries program. As a result, the John M. Smith Aquaculture Center was constructed in 1987, and it was not until after its completion that the first trail was developed. This trail was installed for interpreting fish habitat. Swiftly following its development, steps to the lake were built beside the 800 Building, and a loop trail completed around the lake.  Read more here http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/03/06/lake-swano/