A new year is upon us, and with it comes hope and resolutions. For many, gym memberships and the elimination of bad habits take priority, while others vow to spend more time with their families or explore the region.

Luckily, for those of us who live around Grays Harbor County, we can be active, spend more time with our friends and loved ones, and get healthier and happier by spending time in the great outdoors. To help get started, we give you seven reasons to go outside this coming year and a destination for each month of the year, helping make 2019 your best year yet.

Seven Reasons to Go Outside

Get to Know Your Backyard

There is no better way to forge a lifelong connection to the region than by exploring it every month of the year. From the coastline to the forests, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, going outside is part of what makes living in Grays Harbor County so great.

Clouds over Wynoochee
Explore the beauty of Grays Harbor all year, rain or shine. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

See the Seasons and Share the Region

Grays Harbor is one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest, with each season being more stunning than the last. Thanks to Instagram and other social media tools, we can now share the beauty of each season with everyone. Fall, winter, summer or fall, explore them all and share the region we call home with others via photos.

Improve Thinking and Creativity

A study has shown that people immersed in nature for numerous days boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50 percent. With many city, county, state and national parks around, you can’t help but find ideal and inspiring landscapes to reset your mind.

Get Stress Relief

The world is a stressful place, and for most of us, 2018 was rough. While 2019 may be better, being proactive about stress management will make life easier. Time in nature has been proven to help reduce stress and increase happiness, which is easy to believe when you explore our backyard.

Colonel Bob
Stand atop Colonel Bob Peak and see nearly the entire Olympic Peninsula beneath you. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

You’ll Get Fit

Grays Harbor has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, giving you a lifetime of adventures in our backyard. The best part of all of these trails is that they will help you get into shape without forking over the cash for a gym membership!

Boost Your Immune System

A study in 2010 concluded that “…forest environments have beneficial effects on human immune function.” Going outside does amazing things to your body, and the impact is just now being discovered. Make this the year you see how wilderness makes you feel better.

Get More Sleep

Studies have shown that going outdoors not only makes you healthier, but it also helps you sleep. Spend some time each day outside and watch your sleep cycle improve, thanks to the relaxing qualities and mental boost that nature provides.

Wynoochee Lake
Escape to Wynoochee and discover (or rediscover!) this stunning landscape. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

A Destination a Month for 2019

This January, kick off the new year by rediscovering local parks. Whether you head to the trails at Lake Sylvia State Park or take in the views at Friends Landing, the parks around Grays Harbor are the perfect places to go this winter.

While it may be the shortest month, February is a month great to dodge the rain and wander the rainforest. A local favorite is the Quinault Rainforest Trail, where you can wander through towering trees and past picturesque falls.

Once March comes along, we invite you to head to the North Beach and walk Copalis Beach. The best short hike at Griffiths-Priday State Park is to walk all the way to the mouth of the Copalis River.

In April, head to Bowerman Basin and enjoy the trails while taking in the Shorebird Festival at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you will see hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, hawks, and other wildlife.

May is a perfect time to head out and explore the waterfalls of the region. Whether you see one, or see all the waterfalls in Grays Harbor, this is a fantastic time to go out and see them.

When the warm weather starts returning in June, go out to Buck’s Bikes at Seabrook to learn to skimboard, go on a hike, and rent a bike for the trails.

In July, head back to Buck’s and sign up for a kayak paddle adventure to the Ghost Forest along the Copalis River.

Quinault Rainforest Trail
Wander the Quinault Rainforest Trail, perfect for families of all hiking abilities. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

As the sun continues to shine in August, we invite hikers to climb Colonel Bob for a breathtaking view from above Lake Quinault of nearly the entire Olympic Peninsula.

Once the crowds die down in September, head north and wander the path around Wynoochee Lake.

As the colors begin to turn in October, head back to the Quinault region and explore the autumn season in the rainforest. Whether you drive the loop or take in hikes, this whole region is perfect, highlighted by these 10 stops.

As the year starts to wind down, go out in November see salmon in the rivers. Whether you fish for the salmon or just go and watch, this experience is memorable and amazing.

Finally, in December we suggest you go out and go storm watching along the coast. There is nothing quite like seeing the power of nature next to the mighty Pacific Ocean.

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