Tip #1 - Routes to Pacific Beach, WA
There are two routes you might take to Pacific Beach that part ways at Hoquiam. Highway 109 follows the Grays
Harbor shoreline and reaches the ocean at the entrance to Ocean Shores - the largest coastal community. Highway
109 then turns north along the ocean. The drive between Copalis Beach and Pacific Beach is very lovely. If you
don't drive this route on your first approach to Pacific Beach, you should find another time for this drive. The shorter
distance between Hoquiam and Pacific Beach is the inland route: follow highway 101 north out of Hoquiam, turn left
on Ocean Beach Road - which is well-marked, and you will first reach the coast right at Pacific Beach. Continue
straight ahead onto Main Street to reach the town and our beach house.
Tip #2 - Groceries
Make sure you bring groceries with you. Pacific Beach has a very small market. The nearest, full-scale grocery store
is back in Hoquiam (a half hour drive). I noticed a Safeway open 24 hours. The locals recommend Swanson's for its
Tip #3 - Swimming and Fitness at the YMCA of Grays Harbor
A family day pass at the YMCA of Gray Harbor in Hoquiam costs just $15. The facility includes an extensive
swimming complex: a lap pool with a diving board, lazy river water current pool, wave pool, and a waterslide sticks out
of the building. There's also a gym with basketball, volleyball, free weights, and weight training machines.
Tip #4 - Pacific Beach Resort
Across the street from us is a resort for retired military personnel. The resort's Windjammer restaurant is open to the
public in the summer. It serves burgers, pasta, pizza, and salads. Try the Cioppino - oysters, shrimp, cod, and
salmon in a tomato sauce over noodles - it's very good. The bowling alley is also open to the public on Fridays and
Tip #5 - Razor Clam Digging
The razor clam digging season is quite restricted. Diggers are limited to 15 clams each and the beach is open for
digging during only six days in the latter half of 2007. A license is required.
Tip #6 - Star Wars Store in Aberdeen
Of all things, Aberdeen has a Star Wars memorabilia store. You'll pass it on 101 just
past the bridge after the Wal-Mart. There's no website. The owner says he's too old
for it. He expected his kids to take over the shop and do that sort of thing, but they
all went off and got their own lives.
I was there on half price day. I suspect every day is half price day. The shop was
Tip #7 - Grays Harbor County Farmer's Market
Hoquiam has a little farmers market with specialty foods and crafts. We bought some jam and syrup. The pies looked
great. Also, on display were jewelry, woodwork, clothing, paintings, quilting, and needlepoint. There's a boardwalk trail
behind the market along the river.
1958 Riverside Drive, Hoquiam, WA
Tip #8 - The Humdinger
My little boy makes me stop here every time we return home from the beach, so I have to tell you about it. The
Humdinger is a great, decades-old burger joint in Hoquiam right on highway 101. What's best there are the real
milkshakes and "polars" - what Dairy Queen would call a "Blizzard". The most endearing custom is the way the order
takers will bang with all their might on the window as a way of telling you that your order is ready.
Tip #9 - The Route to Kalaloch, Ruby Beach, and Queets River Valley
Google Maps makes it look like you can drive straight through the Quinault reservation to the Kalaloch/Queets area.
However, it's not true. You have to drive first inland to Lake Quinault and then back out to the coast on highway 101.
Either there is no road through the reservation or it is only open to tribal members. The full route instructions would
be: head north up 1st Street from our house, continue north on highway 109 past Moclips, turn right on the Moclips
Highway, after 20 miles you reach highway 101 - turn left (north). It's about 1 1/2 hours one way to the Kalaloch Lodge.
My kids had a blast on the boat we rented at the Ocean Shores Electric Boat Company. The boats are clean, modern,
easy to steer, comfortable in all weather with a canopy overhead against the sun and clear plastic panels that can be
opened or closed. The extensive network of canals and lakes that run through the Ocean Shores peninsula are very
herons) and expensive vacation homes. Four year old James claims to have seen an alligator, but the rest of us are
doubtful. In the middle of the lake are some islands where the mother deer swim to give birth to their foals in safety
(from the alligators?). We had a long, friendly chat with the proprietors, Tom and Nancy Kimzey, while preparing for
the trip. They have life figured out: living on the water full time, while renting out boats in their semi-retirement.
Bob's Pacific Beach House
Great Ocean View, Short Walk to Beach,
3 King Size Beds, House Built in 2007.
Located in Pacific Beach, WA
- just north of Ocean Shores.
Tip #11 - Quinault National Fish Hatchery
The fish hatchery lies on the Moclips Highway three miles short of Highway 101. It's a nice bathroom stop on the way
to Lake Quinault. The hatchery personnel give a very interesting tour about the life cycle and processing of the
salmon. They have entertaining stories about bears sniffing around the hatchery too. Hatchlings are on view in the
ponds year round - up to 80,000 per basin.
Tip #12 - La Salvadoreña Restaurant in Aberdeen
I have a new favorite restaurant: favorite in Aberdeen, maybe favorite more widely. You will spot its blue and white
building right on Highway 101 (as it winds through Aberdeen on city streets) headed out to the ocean. We arrived on
a Monday mid-afternoon and had the place to ourselves. I think we were served by the Salvadoreña (lady from El
Salvador) herself. She spoke no English at all. Fortunately, the menu has lots of pictures. She explained that the
Menudo soup is made from tripe by pointing at her stomach. Most of the dishes were new to us and all yummy. The
stewed beef in goat broth was exotic and great. The pork torta sandwich was very filling. The tamales were
wonderful. I found a loving, detailed review by a like-minded gourmand:
Pick a Theme:
The other way on highway 101, away from the ocean back towards home, is a terrific Mexican bakery, La Unica, which
also has a few tables for a sit down meal. The burritos are so flavorful compared to chain Mexican restaurants. The
pastries are huge and wonderful.
I found another review here: