Discover the Canterbury Inn at ocean shores
By Anne Erickson
Nothing beats falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. Canterbury Inn at Ocean Shores provides that lullaby every night. And slipping away to that sound is even more delicious here, thanks to how hard this hotel works to make customers feel welcome and comfortable.
The 45 units here are individually owned, there is no cookie cutter ‘one room with two doubles’ experience here. Instead you get full kitchens, small balconies, and lots of space; no two rooms are alike but they’re all spotlessly clean, recently updated, and decorated with all things ocean. Mine, 314, didn’t just have a king bed - it also had a king crab from Adak, Alaska on the wall. Crab is kind of a thing here, there’s a gigantic wood crab out front that’ll give you the ultimate seaside photo op.
Canterbury is dog friendly, and is also the only hotel in Ocean Shores with a resident bearded lizard. Stop in the lobby and meet Lord Falkor Alowishus - he joined the staff this spring and if you time it right you’ll catch the lucky lizard sunning on his window shelf.
After checking in I headed straight to the beach, along a trail that was a magical tunnel through greenery. There’s nothing but nature between this hotel and the Pacific, and that’s by design. The dunes and grasses are a habitat for wildlife and a buffer from big waves. Find the passage on the north side of the hotel, the trek to the beach is a less than a quarter mile (drive up beach access is about a block further north of the hotel at Chance A La Mer State Park). Ocean Shores’ wide beach is the perfect place to fly a kite, take a walk, or just sit in the soft sand and take it all in. My friend and I chose the walk option, and took a long one, because beaches are the best way to get those 10,000 steps.
We were handed a list of local restaurants when we checked in, which is a nice touch, and opted for Oyhut Bay Grill - a newer restaurant down by the jetty with upstairs dining, an inspired cocktail menu and seafood for folks who want more ambitious fare than the region’s ubiquitous fish and chips. When we were there, ahi tuna, seared scallops, and honey garlic salmon were on the menu. They also offer gourmet burgers and steak. I had smoked gouda mac and cheese and split a slice of peanut butter chocolate cake for dessert, beach walking is hungry business! It was all delicious, flavors you’d find at a high end city restaurant, with generous serving sizes you generally don’t find in those urban restaurants.
Back at the room, windows open to the sound of the ocean, sleep came easy. Next morning, after enjoying a real pot of coffee in our room (thanks for the java and the regular-size coffee pot Canterbury!) we walked on the beach instead of the sidewalk to breakfast. Because we could.
After heading north along the beach, we walked State Route 115, another beach access road, into town (not gonna lie, Ocean Shores could use more sidewalks). Ocean Beach Roasters roasts their own coffees, bakes incredible pastries and even serves beer and wine. I ordered the EBC: a croissant with egg, bacon, cheese, tomato, spinach and pesto mayo sandwiched between a house-made croissant. It was mind blowing. Next time I’ll get a Nutella and cookie-butter croissant - they sell out early, and I want at least three.
You can find T-shirts, souvenirs and salt water taffy all day long in Ocean Shores. But there are a few more places you should know about in this town:
Ocean Shores Soapworks has their own line of small batch soap and body products handcrafted in Washington. Their store has dozens of colorful bars, made from natural ingredients and scented with everything from lavender to beer.
Nate’s Vintage is a small shop on the way into town; step through the door and be transported back to the kitsch of your childhood. Treasures I spotted: Star Trek glasses featuring Spock and Uhura. A whole rack of Hawaiian shirts. A clown shelf. And a big eyed “I Love You This Much” figurine. Owner Nate and his wife opened this place after leaving Seattle at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Ocean Shores is lucky to have this gem.
The IGA - the main grocery store in Ocean Shores - smokes their own brisket right in the back of the store. It’s available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You’re welcome.
Ocean Shores gets booked out on summer weekends, and there are many festivals that attract crowds. But after doing a two night mid-week stay in June, I’m hooked. I had Damon Point all to myself for a sandy stroll, no meal reservations were needed and I was able to explore the coast along SR 109 with no traffic. And after every mini adventure, The Canterbury Inn welcomed me back to relax, turn on the fireplace, pour a glass of wine, and listen to those waves hit the beach.