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North Beach: Enchanting isolation

The North Beach covers the 60-some mile area on Grays Harbor’s coastline from Ocean Shores to Taholah. The expanse of shoreline often wanders into scenic timber and windblown pines, to peek back out on to the expanse of the ocean.

The coast is home to many vacation rentals, many directly on the beach, which offers plenty of recreational, fishing and clamming opportunities — the possibilities are endless. It’s also a great place to seek solitude, especially in the off-season when fireplaces and storm watching beckons.

Quinault Indian Nation

The stretch of Highway 101 is home to rich Native American history — the names of many of the areas such as Copalis and Moclips originated from the Native American language of the Quinaults.

The Quinault tribe had several villages along the coasts, and today those that remain are Queets and Taholah. In 1855, the Quinault River Treaty was signed by Chief Taholah of the Quinault Nation, forming the triangle-shaped boundary reservation with the Pacific Ocean and Lake Quinault. The Quinault Indian Nation consists of the Quinault and Queets tribes and descendants of five other coastal tribes: Quileute, Hoh, Chehalis, Chinook, and Cowlitz .

The Quinault Indian Nation is one of the largest employers in Grays Harbor County, employing some 700 people in its various enterprises, including the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino en route to Ocean Shores and Quinault Pride Seafood. The casino hosts bands, entertainment and special events throughout the year. The is also guiding fishing and bear hunting available on tribal lands. For more information, visit www.quinaultindiannation.com.

Moclips

The Museum of the North Beach is located in Moclips somewhat centrally on the North Beach. It’s an excellent, unexpected stop on the side of the highway. Visitors will first notice a quaint building, with a false storefront, decorated with antique signs and beach items such as floats and pots. The false storefront style was used back in the day to cover the pitched roofline, making the front of the building larger and giving it room for advertising.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Monday. There is no cost to enter, but donations are greatly appreciated. Be sure to sign the guestbook! For more information on the museum, visit its website at www.moclips.org.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is a quaint beach town that features wonderful hilltop views on the side of town, as well as boutique shopping and dining opportunities. The beach is lined with vacation rentals, some of which boast extra beach flair with floats hanging from the fences. The Pacific Beach State Park offers unobstructed 10-acre camping with 2,300 feet of ocean shoreline. To make reservations, call (888) 226-7688.

Seabrook

In 2004, developers began building a new seaside village just south of Pacific Beach. Its a new town designed to look old and maintain a charming cottage get-away feel complete with numerous trails and wild open spaces. A community pool is open to all residents and renters, restaurants, a market, and wide variety of charming shops complete the experience. Plus plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking and beachfront access. Visit www.seabrookwa.com.

Ocean City

Contrary to its name, it’s a tiny town that can be missed if you’re not looking. It is located at mile post 18 on Highway 109, and what could be called the city center, is the intersection of the S curve on the highway and beach approach road, Second Avenue.