Guest blog: A two day stay at Twin Harbors State Park

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Looking for a comfortable way to enjoy a state parks stay in the unpredictable weather of western Washington? Be like Stacy and book a cabin at Twin Harbors State Park.

Many thanks to Tacoma travel writers Brandon and Stacy for sharing their Washington coastal mini getaway to Twin Harbors State Park and beyond! Note: This blog has been shortened and edited. Enjoy the full blog, stunning photos and many more wonderful Washington wanderings at their blog site Pacific North Wanderers.

May 23, 2019

Quickly becoming a favorite part of the state to us, we took our third trip to the Westport, Washington area for two nights.

Renting a cabin at Twin Harbors State Park as our temporary home base, we explored the town of Westport and two other nearby Washington state parks over the weekend. Beaches to lighthouses to a colony of sea lions, we saw a lot!

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

— ALDO LEOPOLD

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You are sure to get some great coastal views when you stay the night at Twin Harbors State Park.

Twin Harbors State Park

We previously visited Twin Harbors State Park on two other occasions, one of them being an overnight stay in one of the five cabins they have available. With the weather forecasted to be cold and rainy, and with fond memories from our previous stay, we decided to rent out the same cabin for this trip.

We arrived around 3 p.m., to clear, sunny skies. We quickly unpacked and began hiking the Shifting Sands Trail, which starts near the park entrance. There are signs along the trail that tell a short story of a field mouse who began a journey on this very trail. The further along you trek, the more you learn of the story. Continuing along this trail takes you to the beach. However, there are many other intersections and trails that continue south, through the woods.

We slowly combed the sands of the beach, our path arcing further inland when the waters pushed too close. The receding waters revealed rocks and sand dollars and the stuff of the sea. Nearer the dunes, we found driftwood, bits of fishing tackle and floats that were once attached to nets or traps. In some places, there were massive tangles of driftwood containing trees and poles. We climbed over such a pile as we accessed a trail through the dunes leading back to camp. 

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sand dollar

The interpretive tale of the Shifting Sands Trail is fun for kids of all ages. And "following the money" is way more fun when it's sand dollars! Remember, though, never take these "treasures" off the beach! Removing man-made debris from the beach is ok, but taking anything nature left on the shore, such as driftwood, rocks or shells, is against state law.

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?What do you see, sea lions? You can see them catching a few rays at the Westport Marina. You will only want to get close up with that telephoto lens, however.

The next morning, we drove into the town of Westport. Last time we were here, we saw a lot of sea lions sunbathing at the Westport Marina, so we thought we’d drop by and check it out again.

Sure enough, there must have been 30 to 50 of them out there again, barking away at each other. Noses pointed skyward, members of the colony jostled for space as the odd stray sea lion surfaced from beneath the water and attempted to squeeze itself into the existing mass of animals. The noise of their spirited barking echoed off the nearby sea wall and neighboring boats making quite the clamor.

So far the day had been cloudy and windy with off and on rain. This wasn’t going to stop us from our explorations, which brought us to the Westport Viewing Tower next. We did the short climb to the highest level but didn’t last long with the high winds and cold temperatures.

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The boardwalk at Bottle Beach State Park is also a fun, easy hike to try when you visit the Westport area.

We made the short drive into what was formerly known as Westhaven State Park, but has since merged with the nearby Westport Light State Park and now goes by that name. We started off at Half Moon Bay. Covered in shells and small gravel, this stretch of beach is a delight. The jetty protects this portion of shoreline, so the waves are calmer here.

After reaching the west side of the bay, we made a short climb up the sand dunes and began walking along the Westport Jetty. Here we had a beautiful view of the Pacific, nearby ships and a handful of surfers braving the water. We climbed down the jetty’s boulders to the sandy beach of Point Chehalis. From all of our previous visits, we know one thing for sure — sand dollars are never in short supply on this beach.  Remember, though, take only pictures — never shells. Taking nature-made “souvenirs” from the beach is illegal.

We spent about 30 minutes here walking the beach. With each step, we spotted another sand dollar and charted our path in alignment with these ocean treasures. It was breezy and cold, but we were being graced with glimpses of sunshine and blue skies through the clouds. We stood and watched the surfers for several minutes as the waves on this side of the jetty are a lure for such activity.

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A stop by the Grays Harbor Lighthouse — also known as Westport Light — is a must-see on a trip to the Westport area.

Final Thoughts

Our intended explorations complete, it was time to journey home. We saw and did so much on this trip to Westport. Trails and shoreline, marshlands and museums, wildlife and history, rounded out our adventures. As has been our sentiment every visit to Westport, we’re grateful for the new memories!

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