The Draw of Razor Clams and a Tasty Clam Chowder Tour of Ocean Shores



Can You Dig It? 

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Knowing Your Clams

Ocean Shores has long been known for its razor clams. Dedicated razor clam eaters and hunters flock to the beaches during open seasons to be the first on the shores for the hunt. Because of their popularity and local notoriety, razor clams and clam chowder are usually on the menus of a number of local restaurants.

Pacific razor clams are prized shellfish to both commercial and recreational harvesters. Razor clam harvesting (digging) is authorized by the state of Washington and is only open during specific seasons to not only protect our wildlife but our natural environment.

Little Necks And Razors

In Washington we have little neck clams and Pacific razor clams. Little necks you can find by raking away gravel on some of our local beaches, though many folks are unaware of how and where to find little necks.  Ask one of our local guides for more information about little necks.

As for the more popular Razor clams, you have to look for and definitely work for, these clams. You’ll find them close to the surface of the sand, near the edge of the water. You don't need to necessarily go into the surf, but the water may lap at your feet and you may want a good pair of calf high boots.

To find them, you’ll need a good eye to see the silver dollar size impression in the sand that may have water spurting out of the sand from the clam. To catch one, you use a clam gun (a long metal tube with a handle) and drive it into the sand where the impression is and pull up fast.  If you have trouble figuring out this process, ask another clammer on the shoreline or be observant to the best methods.

Another favorite clam shovel has an arc built in to the blade to get under the clam . . . if you are quick. Hopefully you will have lots of company digging, as this is a very popular activity for the entire family. You can count on getting your feet wet and generally your coat and hair as well. The limit is 15 clams a day per person.

Eating Clams Is The Best Part

Razor clams are commonly battered and fried in butter. They can also be used to make clam chowder. Butter clams or little necks are usually steamed and served in broth and wine or with linguine. These clams also make good chowder and combine well with other seafood for a sweetly flavored ceviche. And in the offseason, some of our Ocean Shores restaurants serve frozen local razor clams, if they have any left!

A Taste of Ocean Shores and Enjoying Chowder

Fall is the time for a great cup or bowl of clam chowder.  And what better way to experience some of the best clams in the world by enjoying them with some of the best clam chowder around!  A fun with family and friends is the chowder tour of Ocean Shores restaurants. A Clam Chowder Tour is a fun and rewarding experience for kids and adults alike!

 We have selected eight restaurants who serve clam chowder below to give you the options to taste and compare. This is great for both individuals and couples or friends who will be in the shores for a couple of days. Like most things in this world, doing things together is more rewarding than going at it alone.

To plan your Clam Chowder adventure, go through our list below and decide which restaurants you’ll be  ordering take-out, and which restaurants you’ll be dining at in person. Smaller groups might want to in person, but in reality, there are no real hard and fast instructions and the rewards are a fun gathering and good food. If you get down to your favorite two or three restaurants, please jump onto our facebook or Instagram page and share with us your thoughts and feedback!  You might just decide this has to be a yearly activity!

What Wine Goes with Clams?

An excellent pre-step for a clam chowder adventure is to stop by one of our local establishments that sell wine. A great wine bar stop is Sipping Serendipity Wine Bar & Shoppe at 749 Point Brown Ave NW, Ocean Shores, WA 98569. You can expect them to be open during busy weekends and more throughout the year, but The Wine Shoppe is not always open, so you’ll want to check their hours before stopping by.   Sometimes they open for limited hours and post the times on Facebook. -

Clams Without Wine Is Just Not Right

Bill Daley of the Chicago Tribune recently suggested, "A white wine will give you the refreshing crispness to stand up to the full-throttled clam flavor, while a sense of fruitiness -- a touch of sweetness, even -- will flatter the chowder's innate saltiness.”  Alternative options to pair with clams might be Champagne or a sparkling wine, for those who don’t like white. Prosecco goes really well with Prosciutto, so should do well with both fried clams and chowder.

Sipping Serendipity also has two excellent wines for your chowder:

1. NHV Guinevere 2017 - Naches Heights Winery in Yakima, Washington is a recommended gewürztraminer for clam chowder.

2. Silvara Sauvignon Blanc - A 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Silvara Vineyards in Chelan, WA.

In addition, they might also suggest Radical Vine Pinot Gris 2015. 

Our recommendation would be to buy a bottle or two to have with the clams or chowder your purchase for take-out, and then return after your clam chowder adventure to discuss your findings and plan your next wine pairing with their sommelier.

And if Sipping Serendipity is not open during your trip, the Ocean Shoes IGA located at 101 E Chance a La Mer NE, Ocean Shores, WA 98569, a full service grocery store, also offers a wide wine selection, but there is no sommelier on staff to make recommendations. Sticking to a Sauvignon Blanc from Washington State is always a good pairing for Clams! And if you’ve visiting one of our great restaurants in person, ask your server for recommendations on wine pairings with clams or chowder.

The Chowder Tour

Sunny Beach Cafe - 687 Point Brown Ave NW, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-0217

Homeport Restaurant & Lounge - 857 Point Brown Ave NW, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-2600

Bennett's Fish Shack - 105 W Chance a La Mer NW, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-2847

Alec's By the Sea - 131 E Chance a La Mer NE, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-4026

Viet Hoa Restaurant - 806 Ocean Shores Blvd NW, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-2818

Mike's Seafood - 830 Point Brown Ave NE, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-0532

Galway Bay - 880 Point Brown Ave NE, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 289-2300

Shilo Inn Restaurant - 707 Ocean Shores Blvd, Ocean Shores, WA 98569-9345 - (360) 289-0567

The Lighthouse - 850 Point Brown Ave NE, Ocean Shores, WA 98569 - (360) 940-9020

* Viet Hoa does not offer a clam chowder, but they have a fish soup that you might enjoy.

Your First Chowder Adventure

If you’ve never been to Ocean Shores or have yet to try clams here, then Clam chowder is a good introduction to our local restaurants. After trying out the chowders and looking over the menus, you should feel comfortable returning and enjoying a full meal. Many of the restaurants also have beer or wine to accompany their chowder and meals.

And if you’re lucky enough to go clamming and bag your fifteen razor clam limit per person, you are in for a real treat. Just make sure you’re clamming in the right season and checking the latest information for open beaches here:

Clamming For All In Ocean Shores

You might want to add the third weekend of March to your calendar for our Ocean Shores Razor Clam Fest and Seafood Extravaganza. This annual celebration of local beach life, culture and the great bounty of the sea features our famous razor clam “digs.” It’s free admission for clam diggers and food lovers.

Whether it’s your first time or 100th time, many people make sure they have an Ocean Shores room booked with a kitchen, so they can dig their clams, clean them and then either pan-fry them and serve with lemon and tartar sauce and/or make their own chowder while they are here.  Usually they don’t even change their clothes until after dinner as the aroma and draw of the fresh air and butter clams beckons you in. And if you’re not quite brave enough to go hunting for clams on your own or are here in the wrong season for digging them yourself,  visit one of our friendly restaurants where you’ll be treated with hometown comforts and extremely hospitable people. From cooking your own fresh razor clam chowder or dining at The Shores, you will sleep the night away with sweet (and salty) Ocean Shores dreams.


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