10 Reasons to Road Trip to Pacific County in the New Year

Dec 18, 2023 | Road Trips

The new year is a time for resolutions. It’s a time to look forward to the new memories you’ll make in the year ahead. And few things are more exciting than planning your future getaways. With easy access, exceptional seafood, and expansive outdoors, there are plenty of reasons to road trip to Pacific County in the new year. So, say goodbye to the past and usher in your next adventure.

Location, Location, Location

One of the best reasons to road trip to Pacific County is its location. Pacific County is a hop, skip, and jump from Portland or Seattle. Your easy and beautiful drive from either location can be done in mere hours, which makes it an ideal weekend getaway.

2. Reasons to Road Trip Location - credit Walter Dorsett

Image Courtesy of: Walter Dorsett

The roads to our towns are smooth drives with beautiful scenery, especially on the US-101. Stacked forests in shades of jade embrace the roadway. Occasional webs of mist lazily drift between the boughs. Depending on the weather, the glow of sunshine or a patter of rain will dance along your windshield. The drive itself becomes one more reason for the trip. After all, the journey is part of the destination.

And what a destination it is. We hug the coast and wind through the forests. We line the bays and flourish in the farmlands. Pacific County is a patchwork of scenery stitched together with the sea air.

Dogs Welcome!

When you have dogs in your family, getting away can be challenging. But your dogs are even more reasons to take a road trip to Pacific County. Visiting here is a breeze because you can bring the whole family, including your pooch! Our coastal and farm towns are also open-armed to the furry friends in your family.

3. Reasons to Road Trip - Dogs

Stroll down our streets or along the water; you’ll see happy pups around every corner. Many of our hotels are dog-friendly, and a few proudly include dog treats and puppy blankets at check-in. It’s not unusual for lobbies to boast photos of their favorite fuzzy guests. Dog bowls pepper our sidewalks and patios for thirsty hounds. And our wide-open beaches are practically howling for paw prints.

The Beach

4. Reasons to Road Trip - Beach

Speaking of the beach, did you know we have the world’s longest contiguous beach? Those 28 miles of reasons to road trip to Pacific County are waiting for you. Incredible sand stretches toward each end of the peninsula, creating a ribbon of shoreline you’ll lose sight of. In addition to being long, the beach is also broad, which makes for breathtaking imagery as the wet sand takes on a mirrored image of the sky. Billowing clouds and endless heavens reflect against the rolling waves and damp shore in a way that makes your breath catch in your throat. You can sit for hours as the tide rolls in and out, taking in the majesty of the Pacific Ocean. Toss off your shoes and enjoy a peaceful stroll along the water. Or fly kites in the headwinds along the dunes. When the beach is your road trip destination, every moment spent there is priceless.

Seven State Parks

If you’re like us, you love to hike and traverse the land. We have seven state park reasons to road trip to Pacific County in the new year. Grab a Discover Pass and explore them all.

5. Reasons to Road Trip - Seven Parks - credit Corey Dembeck

Image Courtesy of: Corey Dembeck

The most popular of the parks is Cape Disappointment. You can spend an entire day there and still have things to do. Visit both weather-beaten lighthouses and marvel at the historic sentries that guided ships to shore in the 1800s. Discover the magical Dead Man’s Cove and snap photos of its lone, peaceful sea stack tree when the tide is out. Hike the numerous trails that wind you through the forests and the shore. Stand near the driftwood at Waikiki Beach and watch the crashing waves batter the cliffs. Or visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center with its incredible artifacts and breathtaking views 200 feet above the sea.

And if you’re a history buff, be sure to visit the 618-acre Fort Columbia State Park. Considered one of the most intact coastal defense sites in the United States, visitors can walk through bunkers and get close to the fort’s gun batteries. Stunning ocean views are punctuated with wildlife spotting, creating an exceptional afternoon.

Fishing, Clamming, and Crabbing

We are proud seafaring folks, and the legacy of our fishing heritage is evident in our ports, lighthouses, and coastlines. Seasonal crabbing, clamming, and fishing are more reasons to road trip to Pacific County.

6 Reasons to Road Trip - Fish

Join a charter and experience the thrill of fishing for salmon, halibut, tuna, and sturgeon. Pull in crab pots teeming with Dungeness crab. Or grab a clam gun and dig on the beaches during razor clam season. Plan a road trip to Pacific County in the new year and enjoy the seafood you’ve caught with your own hands. Licenses and conservation restrictions depend on the season, so plan accordingly.

And if you’d rather enjoy the fare without the fuss, our restaurants and markets are stocked with treasures from the ocean surrounding us.

World-Famous Oysters

Speaking of treasures, if there were only one reason to road trip to Pacific County, it would be the pearls of our shore. We’re talking about our oysters.

7. Reasons to Road Trip - Oysters - credit Stephanie Forrer

Image Courtesy of: Stephanie Forrer

Willapa Bay oysters are famous for being some of the best in the world. One in every four oysters eaten in the United States comes from our oyster beds. And it’s easy to understand why. Our waters are some of the cleanest estuaries on the coast. They are churned by Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean, creating a pristine, nutrient-rich bathing ground that nourishes our tender oysters as they grow.

You’ll find these succulent morsels in most restaurants in our county and our seafood markets, taverns, and roadside stands. You haven’t experienced heaven until you’ve shucked and slurped a Willapa Bay oyster, which makes it an excellent resolution for the new year.

Breweries, Coffee Shops, Distillery, and Winery

8. Reasons to Road Trip - Breweries - credit Adrift Hospitality

Image Courtesy of: Adrift Hospitality

Road tripping and oyster slurping is thirsty work. If you’re looking for more reasons to road trip to Pacific County, our small towns are renowned for their watering holes. We have plenty of places to wet your whistle. Try any one of our independent coffee shops for a pick-me-up. Visit the local breweries, distillery, winery, and soon-to-be cidery. Or pop into one of our numerous neighborhood taverns or pubs. Your sipping options are abundant.

Foodie Paradise

In addition to being a libation utopia, we’re also a foodie paradise. If you appreciate exceptional food made with locally sourced ingredients by culinary artisans, add this to the reasons to road trip to Pacific County.

9. Reasons to Road Trip - Foodie

Some of the most creative chefs in the country helm our restaurants and dining rooms. Farm-to-table and ocean-to-plate are the backbone of most of our menus. High-end dining mixes with casual fare. Roadside eateries blend easily with historic pubs. Intimate restaurants sit side-by-side with waffle windows. Our towns offer a choose-your-own-dining adventure for the epicurean explorer.

Find Your Zen

Finding a slice of Zen is also in order. Taking time to destress is usually on most people’s resolution list, giving another reason to take a road trip to Pacific County in the new year. Studies have shown that mindfulness and purposeful relaxation can improve mental and physical health. We’re fortunate to have a myriad of mindful outlets in our coastal towns. Yoga, meditation, spas, and sound baths sprinkle our forests and shores. Enjoy a Finnish dry sauna deep in the woods. Or stretch yourself into nirvana while overlooking the sea. Decompression is in any of the numerous classes and studios that grace our communities.

10. Reasons to Road Trip - Find Zen

And what’s more peaceful than the great wide open? Bliss awaits in the quiet, gentle landscape surrounding you. The rhythmic ocean undulations, the lilting of birds in the trees, and your soft, sodden footsteps in the thickets all create a symphony of serenity waiting to welcome you.

Small-Town Charm

To take a road trip to Pacific County is to leave the hustle and bustle of the big city behind. Our quaint coastal and farm towns have the delightful charm of a beloved storybook. Tiny cottages, narrow streets, and limited stoplights can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. The charm extends to the locals you’ll meet. Our neighbors and friends are generous people with delightful stories that they love to share.

11. Reasons to Road Trip - Small-Town

Make Your Road Trip Resolution

With so many reasons to road trip to Pacific County, your next visit should be on top of your resolutions. Start the year off right with new adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Grab your overnight bag (and your dog!) and meet us at the beach.

Feature Image Courtesy of: Danelle Dodds

10 Reasons to Road Trip to Pacific County in the New Year

By: Danelle Dodds

Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.




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