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Ocean Shores is a little-known small beach town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula in the United States. While it is a great place during the winter for cool storms and beachcombing, it is most popular during the summer when Seattleites and other Washington residents come to enjoy the slower pace and the miles of beach. The main tourist season is from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and the city is conveniently located about 2-1/2 hours from both the Portland International Airport (PDX) and Sea-Tac (SEA) International Airport.
Some of the best restaurants in Ocean Shores are Alec’s by the Sea (get the razor clam chowder), Homeport (the salmon is particularly good, love the salad bar, and the Snickers pie is a wonderful dessert), and Mike’s Seafood (excellent crab, and the best fried halibut I’ve ever had). For Mexican food Las Maracas offers some very appetizing plates, while Lucky Dragon Restaurant has some excellent Chinese food. If you want a higher end meal, the restaurant inside the Shilo Inn is absolutely wonderful and has oceanside views. Their steaks are quite excellent as is their cioppino. If you’re looking for pizza, then Dugan’s is your top choice. To get a break from summer heat, head over at Murphy’s Ice Cream. Not only is the ice cream good, but it’s a family-run shop that gives local kids a great job opportunity. They also have a wonderful assortment of chocolates.
If you’ve come for the July 4th celebrations, you will not be disappointed. An ocean view room will give you some of the best viewing spots. My favorite beachfront hotel is the Shilo Inn. Most of the rooms have small balconies giving you views of the ocean and beach below and also have gas fireplaces. The heated indoor pool and Jacuzzi are also nice treats, especially if you’ve decided to spend any time in the cold Pacific Ocean. Another good option not far from town is the Quinault Lodge & Casino. If you’re looking for cheaper accommodations, it’s hard to go wrong with the local Days Inn. The rooms are spacious, nice, and the hotel is within easy walking distance of the beach. The customer service is phenomenal as well.
One of the things that makes Independence Day so special in Ocean Shores is that people gather up and down the beach to light fireworks. On a clear day, you can see the public shows from nearby Ocean City as well as across the harbor in Westport, but the real joy is having them whizz above your head while friends and family toast marshmallows in campfires. The three most popular spots are on the beach by the Quinault Lodge & Casino, the public beach next to the Shilo Inn, and “the jetty” which is located south of the town center. Fireworks are illegal anywhere else within city limits, so make sure you are only lighting them on the beach. If you plan on purchasing quite a bit, or are just looking for a really good deal, take the 45-minute beautiful drive to the Quinault Reservation. Buy some salmon while you’re there. Quinault blue salmon is absolutely the best.
Other handy items to have for your July 4th on the beach are lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, jackets (it may be summer, but it can get really chilly at the beach here at night), and refreshments and snacks.
If you happen to be in or near Washington around Independence Day, you owe it to yourself to make the trip to Ocean Shores. It could very well be your most favorite July 4th ever.