Discover the Canterbury Inn at ocean shores
By Jennifer Coleman
There’s something special about Washington’s Coast. Wide open spaces, grass covered dunes and the lulling sound of waves welcome visitors year-round. During fall and winter you can walk for miles along the grey-sand shores combing the beach for treasures and being amazed by the power of the ocean. During this season, solitude can be found on Washington’s coast, and now is a great time to go explore.
Ocean Shores has long been known for its Pacific beach access and family-friendly vibe. To the north of town, the shore pines and dunes of Ocean City State Park are a haven for migratory birds. To the south, Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area and Damon Point are nesting sites for snowy plovers and sometimes snowy owls. A series of lakes and canals extend throughout the entire town, offering calm freshwater options for visitors looking to paddle and explore away from the ocean beach.
On my recent visit to Ocean Shores, I found myself at one of the best vacation getaways on the coast. The powder-blue Canterbury Inn is ideally located off Ocean Shores Boulevard with direct beach access. A giant wood carved crab, dubbed Sir Canterbury DePinchy of the Sea, welcomes you with open claws.
The Canterbury Inn was opened in 1966, built by Dr. Canterbury who was a dentist in nearby Hoquiam. There are 45 units onsite, each of them individually owned and decorated with a northwest beach theme. Many comforts of home can be found within the varied unit types – individually selected units on all floors are dog friendly, depending on the unit owners preference.
If you’re looking for views of the ocean, ask for a 3rd floor room. The second floor has dune views, and the first is ideal for those with dogs or families seeking direct access out to the beach. With an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, it is easy to see why people return to vacation at The Canterbury year after year. It should be mentioned, The Canterbury Inn won AAA Best of Housekeeping in 2021 – that’s the top 10% of 20,000 hotels!
Drawn by the sounds of the surf and knowing that there would be people out on the beach digging for razor clams at sunset, I grabbed my boots and headed out. From The Canterbury it is just a few minutes to walk to the beach. The ocean breeze carried the briny scent of the sea in the air, the sandy beach was firmly packed and easy to walk down towards the surf. I saw small groups of people geared up with headlamps, shovels, clam tubes and nets, digging for their limit of razor clams.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has announced many approved and tentative dates for harvesting the coveted Pacific razor clam this season. Be sure to check their website here for the most up-to-date info.
As the last rays of sunset began to fade, I headed out to dinner at Oyhut Bay Grill & Loft located just 5ish miles south in the Oyhut Bay Seaside Village. This walkable community combines residential homes and vacation rentals along with amenities like the restaurant, market, bike rentals, playground and more onsite. Nestled up to the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area at the mouth of Grays Harbor, this vacation community is thriving, and the Oyhut Bay Grill is serving up fabulous food and drinks in a cozy atmosphere. I went for the chef’s special: bacon wrapped scallops with roasted brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes – SO good!
If you are looking for a less sandy experience in Ocean Shores, be sure to check out the Weatherwax Trail located just a couple of miles east of the beach, on the shores of Duck Lake. The 1.2-mile loop trail is an easy ramble through the coastal forest of the Weatherwax Preserve. This important wetland ecosystem skirts along the edge of Duck Lake and is home to abundant wildlife and a beautiful coastal forest. The relatively flat trail is easy to navigate and well-marked with signs. I saw a massive, moss draped tree in this unexpected little gem of a trail.
If you are looking for a getaway this fall or winter, consider Washington’s gorgeous coast. Ocean Shores has just what you need to escape the daily, breathe deeply and reconnect with yourself and your family. This season is great for storm watching, beachcombing, clam digging and unwinding. Picture yourself enjoying fireside sunsets from the cozy Canterbury Inn at Ocean Shores.