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

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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

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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.

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.

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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

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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?

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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/