What is now the City of Ocean Shores covers the entire Point Brown peninsula on the Washington coast. If you look at a map of Washington, much of Grays Harbor County looks like a big open mouth facing west - with Ocean Shores as the upper "jaw", Westport as the lower "jaw" and Aberdeen as the "throat". Long before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the peninsula was used by the various local tribes for trading and other purposes. The Chinook, Chehalis, and Quinault tribes used the area, as well as others that now make up the Quinault Indian Nation.
On May 7, 1792, the first recorded non-native person (Captain Robert Gray) sailed into the bay and called the area Bullfinch Harbor. Later, Captain George Vancouver renamed the area Grays Harbor after Captain Gray. The first established white settler on the Point was Matthew McGee, who settled in the early 1860s. Mr. McGee sold the southern portion of the peninsula to A.O. Damon in 1878 for a trading supply center (with a big dock for ships). A.O. Damon took over the entire peninsula from McGee, and the land was passed along to his grandson, Ralph Minard, who used the area as a cattle ranch from 1929 until he sold to the Ocean Shores Development Corporation in 1960 for $1,000,000.
In 1903, William E. “Bill” Boeing (yes, of THAT Boeing family) left Yale University during his third year. He had inherited some land out here. The land was a several hundred acres of timberland in Grays Harbor County, plus a strip of oceanfront land located in what now makes up more than one-third of Ocean Shores. It was reported in several accounts that Bill Boeing enjoyed hunting, and the ocean front land was used primarily for that purpose. It is kind of a weird twist of fate that during a significant period of Ocean Shores' history, a prominent area citizen essentially used part of Ocean Shores as his personal hunting reserve but now the city completely forbids hunting.
At the time the Washington State legislature was considering legalizing some forms of gambling. In expectation of a huge casino development, the Ocean Shores Development Corporation opened their sale of lots in a travel trailer parked in the dunes. Lots began at $595 and were sold sight unseen. As the numbers of lots sold rose, the prices rose. Property lots were staked and numbered only as the road construction crews began to lay out the massive road system. Even though the first roads were only 20 miles (32 km) in length, the downtown area had mercury vapor lights to show that this was a booming city. In the first year 25 homes were constructed and their owners had charter membership certificates in the Ocean Shores Community Club.
By December 1960, 25 miles (40 km) of canals were planned, a six-hole golf course was drawing players, and the mall shopping area was ready for the 1961 Ocean Shores Estates construction boom. The mall, 100 motel units, three restaurants and an airstrip sprang up from the sandy ground, with the marina opening in 1963. The SS Catala was brought up from California to become a "boatel" and charter fleet office. Two years later a southwest winter storm drove her into the sand and for many years she was the most famous shipwreck on the Washington Coast. In 1966 the gates to the city were installed.
Pat Boone became a local resident in 1967 as a stockholder in Ocean Shores Estates Incorporated, and promotion of the development was sped along by the Celebrity Golf tournaments hosted by Boone.
Now, Ocean Shores is a mix of vacation homes and retirements homes (for the most part). It's a beautiful place with a variety of types and styles of places to live. It is most definitely not a cookie-cutter subdivision with mile after mile of identical tract homes. While certain styles and floorplans have been popular and re-created a number of times, it is common to see a three-story home next to a ranch-style rambler next to an A-frame next to a geodesic dome. Anything goes in Ocean Shores, as long as it meets the building codes for safety and stays within its own property. There are some reasonable limitations, of course, but none of those rules that are common in some communities ("thou shalt only paint thy home one of the three approved colors", etc).
Browse through what's available and marvel at the diversity...
Ocean Shores Homes (Residential)
Ocean Shores New Construction
Ocean Shores Homes Under $250,000
Ocean Shores Condominiums
Ocean Shores Vacant Land