I usually try to find the cheapest places to stay on a vacation, even if it means I have to go a little out of my way. But a few weeks before this vacation began, I snagged a pretty good deal on a hotel room in Ocean Shores, Washington. Spending the night on a beach seemed like a great highlight to the trip. But as soon as I reached Ocean Shores — on the remote peninsula near the opening of Grays Harbor — I realized the evening wasn’t going to be quite how I pictured it.
My hotel was nice enough. The room at the Ocean Shores Inn and Suites was older, but clean, and for some reason had an immensely large bathroom (in comparison to the actual living quarters of the room, which were somewhat tight). Unfortunately, it was on the opposite side of the road from the Pacific Ocean, so I had to walk across the street and through another hotel’s property to get to the shore.
The weather was the problem. Just as I arrived, clouds and sea fog rolled in from the ocean. Daylight disappeared, and I begrudgingly admitted that there would be no spectacular sunset. After dark, I tried to make their way over to the ocean, but all I could find were long trails through dunes and seagrass. I could hear the ocean that night, but I never did see it. With almost no light I walked for what felt like at least a half-mile before giving up and turning back.
The next morning, the weather wasn’t much better. I drove down to a public access point and walked out to see the ocean…
… but it was tough to tell where the sky ended and the horizon began. Everything here was gray. I’m sure it’s more beautiful on a sunny day, but I knew the clouds weren’t going away anytime soon.after a short walk on the beach, I headed back to the car. After all, I had a long drive ahead of me up US 101.
Leaving Ocean Shores, you’re driving into a vast, empty land, alternating between dense trees and clear-cut forest. There is almost nothing to see along this stretch of road until you get to Quinault, aside from the uniquely named town of Humptulips.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Ocean Shores, Washington, headed north on US 101: