The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Hwy-105: Westport and Tokeland
Between Hoquiam and Raymond, US-101 cuts inland from the coast, while an alternative route, Hwy-105, loops to the west past miles of cranberry bogs (and occasional wild elk) through the salmon-fishing town of Westport. Once called “The Salmon Capital of the World,” and still a prime place for watching migrating gray whales, Westport is a very busy port—and one of Washington’s few good surfing, clam-digging, and surf-kayaking beaches. The whole place really comes to life during the Labor Day seafood festival, but any time of the year the best stop is Brady’s Oysters (3714 Oyster Pl., 360/268-0077), at the foot of the Hwy-105 bridge from Aberdeen, where you can buy fresh-shucked bi-valves by the half-gallon.
At the south edge of the peninsula, absorb more coastal character at the Tokeland Hotel (100 Hotel Rd., 360/267-7006, $55-65), off Hwy-105 on the north shore of Willapa Bay, a truly historic landmark that has been welcoming visitors since the 1880s. Expect old-fashioned lodgings (shared bathrooms), a cozy family-style dining room serving classic dishes (pot roast with mashed potatoes, and suchlike), and unforgettable ambience.