About halfway up the coast of Washington lies Ocean Shores, a little coastal community positioned happily on the Pacific Ocean and North Bay. Its location on a thin peninsula puts it out of the flow of interstate traffic but close enough to the bigger cities to make a day trip feasible. Opt for one of these top Ocean Shores vacation rental locations and enjoy all facets of nature, from hiking to swimming, or just relaxing with your family. Here are the top 9 Ocean Shores vacation rental locations you need to check out!

1. Ocean Shores

If you want quick beach access, get a vacation rental on or to the west of Ocean Shores Boulevard in Ocean Shores. You can walk out your back door onto the windswept beach or take one of the many public access roads down to the sand. Once there, build sandcastles with the kids, swim in the cool salt water, or just lounge in the sun. Take a picnic basket filled with family favorites out to the beach, or stop by Our Place or Porthole Pub Bar and Grill.

2. Duck Lake

On the east side of Ocean Shores runs Duck Lake Drive, which provides access to Ocean Shores’ North Bay. Many houses on the water are equipped with docks, so bring your family boat along, or rent one from a local retailer. You can also use the boat landing on Duck Lake to launch your watercraft whenever you’re ready to explore the forested islands.

3. Marine View Drive

On the south side of Ocean Shores, along Oyhut Bay, runs Marine View Drive. While some rentals on Marine View Drive boast water or beach access, the real draw is its proximity to Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area. The 683 acres of land offers hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing. In fact, the snowy plover is a popular bird found in this area. As a threatened species, its habit of nesting at Oyhut makes the area a special place for nature lovers.

4. Point Brown Avenue and Canal Drive

Source: Flickr/Nickay3111

If you can’t find an available rental on either the ocean or bay side of Ocean Shores, think about getting one along Point Brown Avenue or Canal Drive, both of which run parallel to the canal that runs south through the middle of the town. You can kayak up and down the canal to teach your kids how to handle a small vessel before taking the kayak out onto the bay. Take the Point Brown Avenue a little further north to find all the best eateries in the city, from Los Hermanos and The Lighthouse to Home Port and Ocean Beach Roasters.

5. Oyehut-Hogans Corner

Source: Flickr/Keith Tyler

If you want access to ample green space, head north to Oyehut-Hogans Corner, a township that’s just a few minutes from Ocean Shore’s best eateries. Spend hours at Ocean City State Park, where you have easy beach access. Clamming is a popular activity in the area. You can also launch your family boat, fish, or go birding. After a long day at the beach, head south for a game of golf at Ocean Shores Golf Course.

6. Grays Harbor City

Source: Flickr/jc.winkler

Grays Harbor City is also a great location for nature-lovers and water-lovers. Enjoy some water skiing, and then take a quick boat ride over to Ocean Shores for some lunch. You can also take the family for a visit to Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Every year in Grays Harbor City, the Shorebird Festival takes place, an event that educates people about the owls that nest in the refuge. You can give your kids an educational experience and then take them to the local fair for crafts and activities.

7. Aberdeen

Source: Flickr/Avi

If you want a little more big city action, get a vacation rental at Aberdeen, located on the east coast of North Bay at the mouth of Chehalis River. Split your time between swimming, boating, and enjoying urban life. Take your kids to the Aberdeen Museum of History, and then do a little shopping before heading back out into nature. The sloughs, Bents Island, and Chehalis River Surge Plain Natural Area Preserve are all east of the city and provides natural beauty galore. Hike along the trails, keeping an eye out for bald eagles and osprey.

8. Markham

Markham is located on the bay and close to Johns River. The Johns River Wildlife Area consists of 1,500 acres of salt marsh and freshwater cedar swamp. Combined with forested hills, the area boasts waterfowl and shorebirds, elk, deer, black bears, muskrats, and more, making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Fish, hike, and hunt, or just view the wildlife and birds. Take a family trip to the Ocean Spray factory in Markham, where cranberries are turned into delicious drinks.

9. Westport

Source: Flickr/Wayne Parrack

At the southwest end of the bay, just a channel south of Ocean Shores, is Westport, a town that sits on North Bay and South Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Here, water access is easy to come by. Westhaven State Park boasts beach access, and you can spend a day camping and swimming at the park. Take advantage of the small town vibe by walking along the quaint streets, shopping at the boutiques, and visiting the local eateries.