Washington

Aberdeen is a city in Washington State, known as the Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, and noted for attractions including the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park.

Guitar sculpture in the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park in Aberdeen, WashingtonGuitar Sculpture in the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park
Photo by Mik Watson

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

If you're driving the Pacific Coast Highway then you have to go through Aberdeen as it's where Highway 101 crosses the Chehalis River on the Chehalis River Bridge.

Aberdeen's notable as it's at the confluence of two rivers. The Wishkah flows into the Chehalis right by the Chehalis River Bridge, and the Chehalis then flows on into the Pacific Ocean.

Aberdeen has a population of about 17,000, making it the largest city in Grays Harbor County and its main industries are fishing, timber, and tourism.

The Best PCH Guide
We've read lots of guides to the Pacific Coast, and easily the best one is the Moon Handbook. You can read our review here, or buy it through the Amazon link below.

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Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula

Aberdeen is described as the Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, and it makes a convenient place to stop before Highway 101 enters the peninsula and does a loop around it.

There's plenty of accommodation on the Peninsula itself, but some of the more characterful and historic places can get booked up quickly, in which case Aberdeen is a nearby and affordable option. It's only an hour's drive from here to Lake Quinault, for example.

Backpackers in the Olympic National ParkBackpackers in the Olympic National Park

When to Visit Aberdeen

Although it's a long way from Southern California, Aberdeen still has a relatively mild climate. They do get some snow in winter, but never usually very much, and it normally disappears quickly.

Our Pick of Washington Guides

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If you travel between about October and March you may well experience some rainfall, as that's when most rain falls. June to September are probably the ideal months to visit Aberdeen, when the city is at its driest and warmest. Average temperatures in those months are around the 60F mark (16C), but there have been record highs to as much as 105F (41C), so be prepared for anything.

What to See and Do in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Museum of History

This local history museum is worth a visit if you're spending a day or two here, though not worth stopping off for to pay a special visit. It's the usual local collection of artefacts, documents, old photos, and so on. facebook.com

Bottle Beach State Park

Bottle Beach State Park is a 64-acre day-use park with 6,000 feet of shoreline on Grays Harbor. The mud flats in the area support a rich supply of invertebrates, which in turn attract shorebirds as they migrate from Central and South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

Bottle Beach State Park in Aberdeen, WashingtonBottle Beach State Park
Photo by ECTran71

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

High tide is a good time to visit, and also in the spring, when this is the best place in the state to see red knots. You'll also find sandpipers, dunlin, and semipalmated plovers. parks.wa.gov

Chehalis River Bridge

This local landmark and major transport route was built in 1955.

Kurt Cobain Memorial Park

Kurt Cobain Memorial Park (also called Kurt Cobain Landing) was the first official, full-scale memorial to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in his hometown. He was born at the Grays Harbor Hospital in 1967, and several of his relatives were musicians. He began singing at the age of two and playing piano at the age of four!

kurt-cobain-memorial-park-aberdeen-graffiti-photo-by-thayne-tuason-cc4.jpgKurt Cobain Graffiti
Photo by Thayne Tuason

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The small park sits at the foot of the Young Street Bridge, which was the inspiration for the song "Something in the Way". The park features a small concrete dam and a small waterfall that flows into the Wishkah River. Underneath the bridge is a collection of graffiti, and in the park you'll also find photos of Cobain, a guitar sculpture, and an amusing sculpture of his air guitar.

Kurt Cobain's Air Guitar in the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park in Aberdeen, WashingtonKurt Cobain's Air Guitar
Photo by Kira Picabo

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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