A Day at the Beach — PNW Style

It’s time to begin our beach sojourn here in beautiful Pacific Beach, located among several areas within the Grays Harbor County coastline with plenty of things to see and explore. With the days longer and warmer, we have found July to be a perfect time of year to enjoy what the Washington coast has to offer.

There’s a variety of hotels — both big and small — cottages, or larger home rentals, and many camping options available all up and down Washington’s pristine coastline. We chose to spend a few nights at a cozy cottage rental right in the tiny town of Pacific Beach.

First thing’s first: There’s really nothing like starting the day off with what I call coffee with a view. There’s an astounding view of the Pacific Ocean from our little cottage perch high upon the bluff above. It’s quiet, with only the sound of the waves lapping the shore; the sun is shining, and the adventures of the day will soon unfold.

It’s just a short walk from our lodgings to the cute little Surf House Espresso coffee shop. This is our meeting spot for breakfast bites and morning pick-me-ups for all. It’s also a quick jaunt from here down to the sandy shore, where it never feels crowded.

The really nice thing about this area of beach is that, not only can you walk, or ride a bicycle to get there, you can also drive your car on the beach. This makes it easy if you have a lot to bring, like food and snacks, pails and shovels, or a cooler full of beverages.

We pre-packed most of our goodies at home, but there are a couple of options for picking up last minute items. The You & I Market convenience store can be found on Main Street in Pacific Beach, or the Front Street Market is only about a mile and half away in Seabrook. At both places you can easily pick up extras, or even lunch for the day.

We have decided to rent bicycles from Buck’s Bikes in Seabrook. The staff is helpful, and gets us outfitted with what we need. You can also rent other items here daily, like surf and skim boards, for your days of water fun. With backpacks loaded up, we breathe in the fresh air and views along the way as we ride down the path headed for the reason we love coming here — the seaside.

We have always had a great deal of luck finding sand dollars washed up on the beaches here, and today is no different. You can tell if a sand dollar is alive by turning it over to see its spines covered with tiny hairs, or cilia, moving. We would not want to take these home with us. However, the spines quickly fall off from the ones that have dried out on the beach, and these are safe to collect.

With the tide out, we spend most of the early part of the day exploring the shore and finding many expired sand dollars displaced further inland. Our pockets full of these and other tiny shell treasures, a leisurely beach picnic lunch follows. A bit of splashing in the surf, and building sandy sea-creatures, and it’s time to pack up and return our bike rentals.

Back at Seabrook, and across the street from Buck’s, we find The Stowaway Wine Bar. We have decided the grown-ups should responsibly enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine and accompaniments, while the kids play at the outdoor skimboarding pool in our direct view opposite from the patio seating area. Everyone is happy.

We spend some time strolling through the quaint streets of Seabrook, stopping by several of its charming shops.

Although there are a few restaurants to select from right here, when we come to the beach, we expect to have seafood. A quick return to the cottage to freshen up, and it’s a short drive down WA SR-109 S to Bennett’s Fish Shack in Ocean Shores. The drive, which takes about 20 minutes, is picturesque with stunning sea views most of the route, and the food is definitely worth the trip.

I’m having my favorite: famous crab cakes, while the rest of the family chooses theirs: battered cod fish and chips. Neither disappoint. After filling our bellies with fresh seafood, we take in the views on the drive back to Pacific Beach with plenty of daylight still remaining.

I’ve saved the best for last, and no trip is ever complete without our very favorite thing to do: make beach s’mores as we watch the sun go down. We make our way there a little before sunset, sweatshirts on as the ocean air starts to become cooler, and we dig out a hole to build our fire in the sand.

All the ingredients are ready — Hershey’s bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers. We added some Reese’s minis in this time, just to change it up a bit. Several locals offer the sale of wood bundles here and there along the roadway, as well as at the Front Street and You & I Markets, where you can also find the necessary fixings for everything you need to make perfect beach s’mores.

We eat our s’mores as the sun sets and seems to disappear into the sea. This is what summer memories are made of. The perfect end to a perfect day at the beach.

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