Creating a barrier between the massive waves of the Pacific and the gentle waters of Grays Harbor, the Ocean Shores Peninsula is one of Washington’s best spots to wander the beach. With miles of coastline all around, there are a handful of destinations where a trip to the beach might just reward you with amazing discoveries. Here are nine spots in Ocean shores to beachcomb.
Beachcombing is a finicky hobby, dictated by tides, storms and a little bit of luck. While your chances of finding real treasure like gold doubloons are minimal, beachcombers who frequent the sandy shores of town often find sand dollars, shells, driftwood, and agates. Occasionally, glass floats, buoys, and bottles will wash up, much to the delight of those searching for cool discoveries along the beaches.
The absolute best time to beachcomb is to check the tides and reach the beach at low tide, immediately after a storm rolls through the region. Following the tide as it goes out will give you the first glimpse of the potential finds and a chance to walk back and forth along the beach to see what has been uncovered or washed up. Storms often cause “Ocean burps,” a term for major debris fields that are kicked ashore by the waves. These storms can also dig deep into gravel bars, churning up huge agates and chunks of petrified wood. Gravel bars are always your best place to find rocks and shells, any time of the year.
The greatest chance for beachcombing success in Ocean Shores is to head south. The further down the peninsula one travels, the better the finds become. However, with an ocean burp, you never know when a mundane beach will become a treasure trove. Because of this, consider mixing up which beaches you explore, as it will increase your odds at finding something truly unique.
The first four beaches in Ocean Shores are easy to access, but hold lower odds of finding cool things while wandering the beach. The State Route 15 Beach Access is the first chance in Ocean Shores to reach the sand. Here, beachcombing finds are typically minimal. One can find a few shells and sand dollars, as well as a rare float or agate, but not much else.
Chance A La Mer Beach Access is the next opportunity to reach the beach and is similar to the first. Both of these are frequently visited, as they are easy to get to and well known.
Further south down the beach, you’ll find Pacific Boulevard Beach Access and Ocean Lake Way Beach Access. These two spots are better than the first two options, as they get less visitors and therefore offer a higher chance of finding washed up floats, as well as an occasional agate.
Once you get down to the Taurus Boulevard Beach Access, your chances for better beachcombing finds start to increase. Taurus, Butterclam Street and Marine View Drive Beach Access points are much wilder than the northern options and are usually only explored by a handful of locals. You’ll also start to find more untouched gravel bars here, as well as more floats and a potential to come across some ocean burps.
The North Jetty, can offer great beachcombing treasures. It is common to find floats and other large objects washed up here, especially after storms. Occasional gravel bars will poke out from the sand, giving you a chance for some unique rocks and other flotsam. The jetty is popular, so to have the best beachcombing possible, get here as the tide has been going out for an hour or two.
We end at Damon Point, which may be the best place to beachcomb in Ocean Shores, if not the entire Washington Coast. Damon Point is a peninsula on a peninsula, the last line of land between the Pacific and Grays Harbor. What makes this spot so incredible for beachcombing is the gravel bars that are found along the entire point. Each storm that rolls through mixes up the beach, tossing a new layer on top of the old, picked over rocks. Wandering here after a storm can lead to dozens of agates found, floats of all shapes and sizes, and even the allusive glass ball floats from Japan. Damon Point also has a lot of driftwood, helping to trap more of these finds from washing back out to sea. Be aware that this area is quite popular, but is always worth the trip. In the winter, this area is also fantastic for birding, giving an added bonus to an already fun day at the beach.