Alright beach goers, here me out.

Ocean Shores, Washington.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. But unless you live in Washington or Oregon, you probably haven’t. Washington isn’t exactly known for its warm and lively coastline. Much of the Washington coast is almost the exact opposite of what many Americans would consider “beach life.”

According to Weather Spark, Ocean Shores summers are cool and partly cloudy with winters being very cold,  windy, wet and mostly cloudy. The temperature throughout the year varies from about 40°F to 65°F and rarely dips below 32°F or goes above 73°F. And the water?  According to Surf Forecast, the temperature peaks in mid-August at around 57 to 63°F with a winter low of 45 to 50°F. Let me just translate that – if you are looking for a warm, sunny beach in the state of Washington, Alki Beach in West Seattle or Juanita Beach Park in Kirkland might be your best bets.

But if you are looking for beautiful scenery, a lot less people, and a laid back life with some peace and quiet (granted you would  be willing to deal with the unpredictable weather) – then let me introduce you to your new vacation destination.

I recently spent almost five days staying at a home a friend of mine owns between Ocean Shores’ Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area and the shoreline, and I cannot begin to describe how enchanting and transformative my mini-vacation was. Good Lord, in a COVID-world where I am blessed to telework, it was a MUCH NEEDED break!

Ocean Shores is approximately 133 miles (2.5 hours) east/southeast of Seattle. Driving there can be a bit frustrating, especially in the Tacoma/Olympia area when approaching JBLM – but really, when is that area not congested? But once you hit Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and the small towns dotting North Bay, you know you are almost to your small piece of peaceful paradise. The city of Ocean Shores itself is not a big metropolis, but it does give off the vacation destination with a small town vibe. I have visited Ocean Shores a few times in my now 8 years of living in the Pacific Northwest, but all were day trips, I had never stayed overnight until this trip.

As mentioned before, a friend of mine owns a home towards the south end of Ocean Shores. While you cannot see the ocean from his house, you can hear the waves crashing from the porch and bedrooms. To get to the water, we were able to cross the street and walk through a field of tall grasses and bushes before the sand hit our toes. With my boyfriend, two very good friends and two dogs in tow, our extended weekend began – and it was GLORIOUS!!

Imagine building a beach bonfire with driftwood, bringing down a bbq grate from where you are staying to cook burgers over an open flame, watching deer eat some grass on the beach, the birds flying just above the water, the incredible sunsets, being with your friends and having almost the entire beach to yourself!?! Hello!!!!!

Yes, COVID is rampant right now (as of this writing) so that no doubt was a huge factor in the lack of humanity walking the shore. However, we did go up to Moclips, where you can drive onto the beach, for a couple hours one of the days we were there. I can tell you, there were definitely more people around at Moclips, but everyone stayed socially distant for the most part. Side note, we drove through Seabrook and hi – can I please stay there for an extended weekend as well? I had NO idea that little town was even there!! It was adorable and totally pulled me into its cuteness vortex. I have so many more vacations to plan. Clearly.

Back to Ocean Shores. How can I describe how peaceful my time was, building silly sand structures, frolicking through the very cold water in my shorts, catching some much needed sunshine  and warmth and finding total zen? Literally, one of the most relaxing long weekends of my life.

Just a Deschutes Black Butte Porter!

We did other things besides chilling at the beach though. We tried some beers at Ocean Pours Taproom (they have a huge COVID-friendly outdoor seating area!) and I discovered that Belching Beaver Brewery makes not only one of the best Peanut Butter Milk Stouts I have ever had (anytime I see those bottles at a grocery store, it’s mine!), but they make a Viva La Beaver – a liquid chocolate stout treat loaded with notes of creamy peanut butter, cinnamon and coffee. That beer has won numerous awards, and with one sip, you can taste why. If any restaurant serves this, please tell me and I will be there in a heartbeat as a patron!

Jessica had a bit of a mask fail haha!

And then, I spent more money on two bottles of beer than I ever have in my life. At $26 per bottle (I bought two), my palette changed forever. I know this is a blog post about Ocean Shores, but holy shit you guys. Fort George Matryoshka Russian Imperial Stout?  One aged in Woodinville Rye Whiskey barrels with Cocoa Nibs and the other aged in Westward Whiskey Barrels with Vanilla? Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

And if you’d like to try out an Ocean Shores eatery, I must suggest Dugan’s Pizza. We ordered for pick-up before a hockey game (because hockey is back baby and we love hockey #LetsGoCAPS, only we were watching the Oilers and Blackhawks playing this particular day) and the pizza was so good! We failed to take proper food photos, but one of us (not me) had a massive dairy allergy, so we ordered one large All-Meat Pizza without cheese and one large All-Meat Pizza with cheese. Muy bueno and perfect to go with our beers and to watch an afternoon hockey game before hitting the beach for an incredible sunset!

I highly HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend getting the hell out of town and hitting up Ocean Shores for a long weekend before summer ends, or even in the fall. Heck, anytime of of year, right?  Yes the weather can be cold and gross – another friend of mine stayed at the same beach house we did one week prior, and it was cold, cloudy and windy the entire time they were there, so we were lucky indeed. But seriously, it’s the beach. It’s away from the big cities. It’s away from the hum drum, daily work environment. Even California beaches get cold and foggy sometimes.

And a whiskey cheers to you and yours!

I definitely plan to make my way down to Ocean Shores again and again in the future, and you should too!



About Lesley Michelle

Lesley is the founder and editor of What's Up NW. Lesley does love her beer and writes about that A LOT, but she also loves to shine the light on local events, people and businesses that call the Pacific Northwest home!

View all posts by Lesley Michelle

25 Comments on “Ocean Shores: A Peaceful Vacation Destination”

  1. We don’t want tourists here! Stay home & keep your Covid19!!!! We’re up to 100 cases in this County , the largest increase was after the 4th of July holiday, when we had beau-coup tourists!


    1. Not everyone feels like Michele does but we understand her feelings, because they are justified. However we welcome the visitors are small businesses depend on you. Thank you for mentioning all the places you visited. We hope you will come back soon. All we ask is that folks follow Covid protocol.
      It is unfortunate that most folks who visit here don’t have the opportunity to stay in a home like you did. Nightly home rentals are not approved at this time. Although we have many hotels, staying at a hotel is not the same Beach vacation as staying in a beach house. Hopefully, one day our city will realize that allowing Airbnb and VRBO will only be a positive step for the city and property owners will have an increase in property value.

  2. What a great story! Just arrived at a friend’s house who is letting us use the beach house for a long weekend. Thanks for the great tips. Love the pictures!

      1. I lived in Ocean Shores for 6 years and let me tell you Red Genie Pizza beats Duggan’s hands down. Duggan’s tastes like frozen from a box! For great breakfast try the Porthole pub. The best omelets! The Fish Shack has great fish and chips. For Mexican food try Las Maracas. There’s a great little theater in town, a bowling alley, mini golf arcade and a casino too. Lots of fun places for kids to explore and a few ice cream shops. Its a great little beach town.

  3. Please don’t come to ocean shores stay home. It is overcrowded at the beach litter left from tourists. Disrespectful douchbags.

  4. Is there anyway you might retract this story? We like Oceans Shores to remain Washington’s best kept secret.

  5. If you’re not into liquor, Galway Bay has the BEST iced tea IN THE WORLD!!!! We go there every year on our anniversary and my husband always gets the garlic steak. It melts in your mouth! Go there in March for the St Patty’s day music celebration!!

  6. I recently spent a few days in ocean shores and it sure made me think of California and the way beach people are so laid back and chill but then I read some of the replies after this article and I must say that some of you just completely floored me on how rude you were. You definitely made it a lot less welcoming than I viewed it at first. That is really lame cause I fell in love with OS immediately

    1. Please do not judge our city by a few comments – check out Happily Sharing Ocean Shores on Facebook and Instagram – we love our visitors!

  7. Thank you for the awesome post/blog. I grew up here and have ALWAYS gone or come to Ocean Shores for my ocean geraway place. It’s close enough, yet far enough away to feel very far away! I grew up on the water (Puget Sound) and retreating to the beach, waves and solitude of the water is extremely calming and balancing for me. Heck, I used to hop in my car and go there just to walk the beach and the surf and think…then dry off, make a pit stop and drive back home 3 hours. It never phased me one bit. When your young, you just do things! Then when i got married to the love of my life and we were madly in love for 37 1/2 years, I still made that drive without worry…cuz I always knew I had the “Love net” to catch me if I ever needed help. All I had to do was call and he be on the other end of the phone.
    The drive isn’t any further, I STILL love to go to that beach and actually have been REALLY wanting to go…I plan to go if I can push the fear aside, because the love of my life died, taking my confidence and my “love/safety net” with him. I never expected such a thing to happen to me! I’m finding out it’s not that uncommon. I just want to be able to do the things that always came so naturally to me. We both loved Ocean Shores and spent a lot of time there, . Actually we fell in love with Seabrook too! We planned to go and stay there. It’s most definitely our kind of little community! We fell in love with the fact that every house is different and has so much character! It just screamed US! THAT, was a trip we didn’t get to take together. Maybe one day I will just have to in his memory. All I know is…I really need some freezing water on these legs and feet and some breaking waves and lots of beach! And some good beer!
    Sorry Michael.

  8. Just returned . I only stayed ( 2 ) days . Quite and peaceful. IGA was kinda kinda spendy. The halibut & chips at Moby Dicks was above average. Clean , affordable beachfront suite . Deer everywhere with plenty of ocean for all .

  9. Just returned . I only stayed ( 2 ) days . Quite and peaceful. IGA was kinda spendy. The halibut & chips at Moby Dicks was above average. Clean , affordable beachfront suite . Deer everywhere with plenty of ocean for all .

  10. Welcome to out of town guests, but please slow down
    This not seattle. Deer are not predictable yet people race by them without slowing down. You can get anywhere here in minutes, why race around? SLOW DOWN please.

  11. Thank you for your awesome and very complimentary description of Ocean Shores. We’ve lived here a year now and found people to be super friendly. We are also on the south end and can walk 2 blocks to the beach. Love having weenie roasts on the beach, flying kites, clamming. collecting shells, and shore fishing. It is the most calming and laid back place I’ve ever lived. You are welcome here.

  12. Moved out here two years ago, and it’s a great area. Unlike some of the naysayers, we welcome tourists. Our local economy wouldn’t exist without visitors so from everyone that works for a living, keep vacationing here!

  13. Thank you for your review of Ocean Shores – we have such a great little town that is the perfect getaway from the city! And please do not be deterred by the negative comment above; this does not reflect the sentiments of our sweet city in the least. We love our visitors!

  14. Im not sure exactly what happned but I lived there from 2002 to2012 at 254 wiskah st.sw. I saw the mothman with my then wife anita. Bigfoot and many ufo s.. I had a local and taught at clubhouse. The navy was testing E.L.F. on its residents and strange stuff happned. Anita had covid symtoms then and a dimentia type demeanor. She was old and came home beat up and raped saying valdez, sage the cops and other s as 12 senators and a retirement community for masons. She would call police saying I harmed her and oddly my show was cancelled and a local guy in produce at iga and his brother steve a local thug contractor too were having sex with her. She said she was in too deep . A sex club ! Doyle murphy then pres of clubhouse was I believe hypnotizing women to join. The cops were major thugs and I left on foot at their gunpoint. A lot of stuff has been hidden but it ruined my retirement. I called feds but nothing.. im still mad..and yes the moclips mermaid was real. I saw a helicopter with a box in tow pick it up and we saw 15 more.there are a few secrets there. ..Im still working to sue navy…

  15. Ocean Shores is amazing and beautiful. I had never been to a beach you could drive on until I went there. Everyone I interacted with was very nice, and there are so many great shops.

    Just be careful of the speed trap on 101 in Grey’s Harbor/Aberdeen area. They are ruthless and target tourists. Go exactly at or below the speed limit. They will pull you over for even going 5 miles over. I will never go to or drive through that area again. Best way to lose business imo.

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