Surf’s up at this Seattle getaway

We know Seattle as home to world-class hiking, skiing, and mountaineering, but did you know that it also sees its share of wave shredding? That’s right, if you’re jonesing for a clean Pacific set, just 2.5 hours from the city sits one of Washington’s most consistent surf spots—Westport. A rare sand beach along Washington’s rocky coastline, Westport is a popular spot for day trips and those looking to trade the confines of city life for the freedom of saltwater. As temperatures heat up, skip the usual lakes and rivers around the metro area and head to Westport for a day of surfing and sun (well, chance of sun) along the Pacific Coast.

Hitting the waves at Seattle's closest surf destination—Westhaven State Park; photo courtesy of Kitaro & Kiwauso
Hitting the waves at Seattle’s closest surf destination—Westhaven State Park; photo courtesy of Kitaro & Kiwauso

What: Westport’s surf spot is actually the Pacific side of Westhaven State Park, one of several in the Grays Harbor area. Formed by a rock jetty that juts out along the south edge of the Grays Harbor mouth, “Westport” is actually three surf spots, the most popular of which sits closest to the out-cropping and is known as The Corner. Westport is a sand beach and oft-considered the most reliable surf spot in Washington due to the rock jetty constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Looking towards The Corner on a steely afternoon; photo by Kade Krichko
Looking towards The Corner on a steely afternoon; photo by Kade Krichko

Where: 1.3 miles from the town of Westport and 2.5 hours from Seattle (130 miles) near the mouth of Grays Harbor in western Washington.

Stats: Westhaven State Park is a 79-acre day-use park with 1,215 feet of shoreline along the Pacific Ocean and Half Moon Bay. Surfers have ample shoreline to enjoy powerful waves where W and SW swells converge over Westport’s sandbars.

How to get there: From Seattle take I-5 South to 101 North, and then take 8 West to 12 West into Aberdeen. 105 South will lead you 20 miles farther west to Westport and the beaches at Westhaven State Park.

When to go: Waves are most consistent during the winter months between October and February. For those who want it a little warmer, good wind swell is still around for much of the summer, albeit a little less consistently.

What to bring: A wetsuit and your own food. The wetsuit should go without saying in Washington, but for those who forget it, there are rentals at The Surf Shop in Westport for $15 (grab a 4-3 or thicker). Boards can also be rented for $15. There are no boardwalk food options at the park so pack your own lunch unless you want to hoof it back to town with a sand-filled wetsuit.

Do: Get there early. The parking at Westhaven is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. You will need to buy a Discovery Pass to park, but at $10 a day and $30 for the annual pass, it’s a way sweeter deal than most state parks and beaches.

Don’t: Be dumb. Westport is home to several strong rip currents, so be aware of the dangers they present and surf with a buddy. Also the Grays Harbor area is home to a large timber industry, so pollution is sometimes an issue, especially after a big storm.

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