Activities Conservation

A Visitor’s Guide to Enjoying the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area

Are you ready to escape to Washington’s Coast?

Your trip to Ocean Shores isn’t complete without a visit to the Oyhut unit of the Johns River Wildlife Area. The Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area is one of the region’s most popular birding and hunting areas. It’s also one of only four places in Washington state to spot a Western Snowy Plover (read on to learn more).

Read our full guide to visiting the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area before your next trip to the Ocean Shores Peninsula.

How to Get to the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area

You’ll find these 683 acres of wild bliss situated on the south end of the Ocean Shores Peninsula.

Access is via downtown Ocean Shores. From downtown, follow Point Brown Avenue south until you reach Toquin Avenue. Then, turn right.

The park is unassuming and features an undeveloped parking area with no restrooms or any other facilities.

What You’ll See at Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area

The Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area is a quiet spot on the southwest Washington coast. Vehicles aren’t allowed into the park, and there is no trail system in the wildlife area.

Because it’s quiet and the trails keep visitors out of habitats, it’s a great place to spot wildlife and waterfowl in particular.

A visit to the recreation area may include spotting:

  • Birds of prey
  • Marine birds
  • Eagles
  • Waterfowl
  • Wading birds
  • Songbirds
  • Deer
  • Small mammals

The jewel in the crown of this park is the Western snowy plover. Snowy plowers are small birds that spend their time on the shore, dashing in and out of the crashing waves like a small child at play.

When you see them running from the water, they’re not at play. Snowy plovers enjoy a diet of marine worms, mollusks, and crustaceans.

Snowy plovers love to nest on sandy beaches, but human interaction often disrupts their ocean-front lifestyle. As a result, their populations continue to decline.

Oyhut is one of four places in Washington that they have a safe breeding ground, and it’s the perfect place to spot them – from a distance.

Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out our post on the best things to do in Ocean Shores.

What to Pack for a Trip to Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area

Local birds are a huge draw for tourists, birders and general nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you arrive exclusively for birding or just hope to spot a few on your way, a few essential items will help you make the most of your trip to Oyhut and Ocean Shores.

Birding Tools

Enthusiasts and professionals alike will benefit from binoculars in the Oyhut park. Like many other parks in the coastal area, much of Oyhut serves as protected land for local birds.

Informational trails exist but are limited. Formal trails across the 683-acres aren’t in place. Unless you get lucky, much of the spotting you’ll do will be in the distance.

A pair of binoculars will help you catch a glimpse of some of the best birding the area has to offer. You don’t need to bring an expensive pair. Even your smaller, backup binoculars will do.

Your camera is also a must on any vacation. Unless you’re a professional who is shooting for publication, a superzoom camera should do the trick. Superzoom cameras are small, portable, and helpful for working with small objects in the distance.

Lighting and motion are a challenge, but checking the weather and sunrise forecast should offset some photography challenges.

If you have space in your luggage, bring a spotting scope to make life easier. More than one scope is always better, but if you’re flying to Washington state, packing a scope is optional.

Looking for the perfect birding guide to bring with you? The North Cascades Audobon Society recommends the following titles:

  • Peterson Field Guides/Advanced Birding
  • Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest
  • A Birder’s Guide to Coastal Washington
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
  • A Guide to Bird Finding in Washington
  • The Audubon Society of Encyclopedia of North American Birds
  • The Birder’s Handbook

What to Wear

Don’t forget to pack plenty of light layers. Summers can be warm but prepare for an ocean breeze and intermittent rain. The Washington coast isn’t as rainy as the interior, but waterproof outer layers never hurt.

Be sure to pack a day pack in your suitcase to carry your gear as well as any rain covers, water bottles, and charging packs for boosting up electronics.

Where to Stay

There’s no shortage of vacation rentals or beach homes in Ocean Shores and on the Ocean Shores area in general.

Looking for something quick and simple? Check into one of the hotels and lodging options in Ocean Shores.

8 Great Hotels in Ocean Shores

How to Choose the Best Ocean Shores Lodging for Your Family

Ocean Shores Restaurants to Experience

Want to camp on the beach in Washington? Try Ocean City State Park at the northern end of the peninsula for access to some great campsites with access to the beach.

Book Your Trip Today

When you’re ready for your next beach trip, Ocean Shores and the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area are waiting.

With historical sites, outdoor experiences, and some incredible birding options, Ocean Shores and the Ocean Shores Peninsula make for an incredible family vacation.

Are you planning your trip to Washington’s south coast? We’re here to help. Find all the best insider trips over on our blog.

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