The summer-home/retirement community of Ocean Shores occupies the six-mile dune-covered peninsula at the north side of the entrance to Grays Harbor. It’s an odd place out here, so far from other developments, with a big gate that welcomes visitors, businesses strewn along a wide main drag, and homes on a network of 23 miles of canals. Some of these homes are elaborate contemporary structures, other lots simply have a concrete pad to park an RV, and many more feature For Sale signs. Many of the working folks live in trailer parks in nearby Ocean City.
Two main roads head down the peninsula: the four-lane Ocean Shores Boulevard near the shore, and the bumpy Point Brown Avenue in the center. The latter follows the canals to the marina area. There are no trees on the east side of the peninsula, just low sand dunes.
More than three million visitors come to Ocean Shores annually to play on the beach, fly kites, play miniature golf, and ride bumper cars, bikes, mopeds, and go-karts.
Getting to Ocean Shores
Grays Harbor Transit (360/532-2770 or 800/562-9730, www.ghtransit.com) has daily bus service throughout the county, connecting Ocean Shores with Aberdeen, Lake Quinault, and Olympia. Ocean Shores has an airport, but no commercial service.
The Westport–Ocean Shores Passenger Ferry El Matador (360/289-0414, $10 round-trip, free for kids under 4) is a 74-foot passenger boat with service to Westport. Gray whales are often seen along the way.
The ferry leaves six times a day and takes 20–40 minutes, with daily service mid-June to Labor Day, and weekends-only service mid-April through mid-June and in September. There is no service the rest of the year. The boat leaves from the marina; get tickets at the Marina Store.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition