Editor’s note: We have spent the month of August looking at some popular campgrounds (and, of course, all are popular these days). Camping has boomed in recent years, particularly since Covid-19 eliminated many vacation options. This brief series has, hopefully, provided encouragement to get on the road and enjoy life outdoors – whether you’re pitching a tent or “glamping” in a luxurious motor home.
This series began with a look at Cape Disappointment State Park, followed by Maryhill State Park and Alder Lake Campground. Today we conclude the four-part series with a peek at Grayland Beach State Park, just a bit south of Westport.
These four sites were visited in recent months by the author, his wife and two dogs. They aren’t exactly “roughing it” in their travel trailer.
Grayland Beach State Park is, simply, all about the ocean.
But that’s enough, right? There’s nothing better than strolling a vast expanse of sand (at low tide), checking out the scattered bits of marine life dotting the beach or perhaps splashing in salt water surf. All that, plus a return to a clean, well-managed campsite.
THE PARK, BY THE NUMBERS
Grayland isn’t necessarily the largest campground you’ll visit, but there are 55 sites with full hookups (electric, water, sewer), plus 38 sites with electric and water; two of each are ADA compliant. Additionally, visitors can choose from 16 yurts (16 feet in diameter, equipped with bunks that sleep three and a queen-size futon) and four primitive sites. It’s easy to find public restrooms and showers.
The circular camping loops have large, paved surfaces that will accommodate today’s larger recreational vehicles. Some will handle a maximum length of 60 feet, but those are limited.
All of the loops have back-in sites, but there are some pull-through sites at the southern end of the campground.
While all of Grayland’s campsites are within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean, some are very close. The dunes, however, help mitigate ocean winds.
Grayland Beach State Park totals 581 acres and nearly 7,500 feet of Pacific Ocean frontage.
WHAT TO DO AT GRAYLAND
There’s not a lot of hiking when you’re camping so close to the ocean, but Grayland has five trails (short and well-marked) that lead from the campground to the beach. During the appropriate season, clam digging is permitted and saltwater fishing is common.
When was the last time you flew a kite? Washington’s beaches provide top opportunities. On a more passive note, there are bird-watching options and there’s nothing wrong with hauling a camp chair and a book into the soft sand.
Since Grayland is a year-round campground, there are also options for experiencing some awesome coastal storms. But remember, the rainy season is really rainy at the beach and some of Grayland’s lower-lying campsites can become flooded; in fact, 40 of the wettest sites are off-limits from Nov. 1 through April 15.
Once campers have explored the park, there are a couple of nearby jaunts to make things even more interesting. The fishing village of Westport isn’t too many miles north and to the south is tiny Tokeland, home to the quaint Shoalwater Bay Casino.
From the Plateau, it’s a trip south and west, passing by Olympia and taking Highway 101 and then SR 8, eventually reaching Aberdeen. Turn left after the steel bridge and continue for approximately 30 minutes. Pass through the tiny community of Grayland, make a right onto Cranberry Beach Road and you’re there.