Grays Harbor is home to several noteworthy state parks, each with their own inviting features and back stories. Bottle Beach State Park located off of Highway 105 near Bay City is a great location to see birds and other wildlife, a slough, and an expansive tide flat. Check out these five things to do on an outing to Bottle Beach.

Bring binoculars and go bird watching

Grab a friend and a pair of binoculars or better yet, a camera with a good zoom, and explore the habitats all throughout the tidal flats and wooded areas. First opening as an official park in 1995, Bottle Beach was the first Washington State park specifically dedicated to protecting a bird habitat. This was due to the valiant efforts of bird watchers Ruby Egbert and Bob Morse, along with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the University of Washington, and several others. Adventurers are in for a treat when visiting the conservation area with more than 100 different kinds of avian species that come through each year and over one million birds migrating through the park every spring. So bring a notepad and pen and jot down as many bird species as you can identify for a fun and educational experience.

bottle beach boardwalk
Enjoy a short and educational 0.7 mile walk at Bottle Beach State Park. Photo credit: Amy Potter

Walk the boardwalk and trails

The boardwalk and trails that go through this 75-acre state park is one of the most scenic places in Grays Harbor to up that step-count for the day with the easy navigable 0.7-mile trail. There are several interpretive signs along the way that keep walkers actively engaged with the environments surrounding the area, letting them know which birds they may be likely to see and also providing glimpses into the park’s history. There are also the tide flats themselves with over a mile of shoreline to wander. The trail is ADA accessible with designated parking spaces at the trail front and also has three different viewing platforms for people to take a break or view the wildlife without disturbing any creatures that may be passing through.

Learn about the area’s history

The park by itself is an area of stunning natural beauty and it has a history just as rich. Back in the early 19th century when Ocosta was first being developed and became a boom town, it had everything from a post office, to hotels, churches, and a school. But those went away as fast as they had come after a huge downturn, ultimately leaving remnants of what once was behind for people to see glimpses of today. For instance, those out wandering Bottle Beach’s tide flats will see what little is left of a dock that was built in 1890 before the location became a complete ghost town. There’s a lot more to learn, like that Ocosta first got its name from the Spanish word meaning “coast” with the extra “o” added later for easier intonation. So make sure to take the time and take in the local history on an adventure out to Bottle Beach.

Bottle Beach redman slough
Bring a pair of binoculars and see if you can spot wildlife at Redman Slough in the park. Photo credit: Amy Potter

Take a closer look at Redman Slough

Those venturing out on the boardwalk to make it to the shoreline will go through the captivating Redman Slough. Redman Slough is named after Reuben Redman who was one of the first European Americans to settle in the area way back in the late 1850s. Within the slough, a keen eye will see that it is absolutely teeming with life and also plays an important role in the local ecosystem. The marshy wetlands attract everything from different frog species like the northern red-legged frog to red-winged blackbirds out looking for their next meal. This is another great place to use binoculars to take a closer look and spot other wildlife.

Make it a beach day

From the small parking lot, a brief walk down the boardwalk leads to the open area of the tide flats that stretch for over a mile down the shoreline. The tall trees bordering the shore along with driftwood make it a cozy place to put down a blanket and read a book or simply just relax. The short walk also makes it an easy destination to bring along items for a picnic, flying kites, or tools to build sandcastles for the little ones. Although it’s not recommended to venture out into the water here, there is still plenty to see and do while taking a deep breath of the ocean air.

Bottle Beach State Park is located at 33 Ocosta 3rd Street in Aberdeen. The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk and requires a Washington State Park Discover Pass for access or $10 for a one-day pass. There is one restroom on-site at the trailhead and no dogs are allowed within the park.

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