Clam Digging in Washington

What's Clam Digging?

Clam digging is a favorite pastime among many Washington residents, including our guests at The Glenacres Inn. Essentially, you are searching for clams hidden underneath the sand at the beach.

While clams aren't mobile like fish and have no way to fight back against somebody who is searching for them like a crab, clams have one tool that makes them tricky to catch: their ability to hide. The search for these mollusks is what makes clam digging a fun, social activity (kind of like fishing)!

People from around the country visit Westport because they love clamming, and now you can too!

Clamming License

But don't get too antsy! Before you can head to the beach for your living buried treasure, you need to buy a clamming license. In Washington, you can buy a clamming license from the same website that you buy a fishing license from. The kind of license you buy depends on whether you want to fish as well, your age, and your residency.


Annual Combo (Shellfish/Fishing): $55.35
Youth (15 and under): $8.05
Annual Razor Clam: $14.10
3-Day Razor Clam: $9.70

Annual Combo (Shellfish/Fishing/Clamming): $124.65
Youth (15 and under): $8.05
Annual Razor Clam: $21.80
3-Day Razor Clam: $9.70

Clam Digging Limits

In an effort to keep the clam population safe, the Washington government has placed a daily limit on all clam species.

While this may seem underwhelming for one clam digger, if you are digging with more than one person, you still have a lot of clams to collect.


Butter - 40 clams
Eastern Softshell - 40 clams
Horse - 7 clams
Manila - 40 clams
Razor - 15 clams

When can you dig for clams in Washington?

Washington clam season typically runs from early fall to late spring. This includes all species–even the popular ones like razor and butter clams. There are benefits to clamming in the fall/winter and the spring.

Fall and Winter

If you decide to clam dig in the fall or winter, there will be the same number of clams with a fewer number of clamming competitors. The weather may be rougher, but it can pay off big time. Those who LOVE clam digging may want to visit at this time of year.

Spring and Summer

On the other hand, spring and summer clam diggers will enjoy the better weather, but a LOT more people will be on the beaches, meaning you'll be less likely to get a ton of clams. If you prefer warmer weather to maxing out your clamming chances, spring and summer is for you.

Clam Digging Tips

1. Look for small holes in the beach sand that are about the size of a quarter. This is usually where the clams are hiding.

2. Dig for clams at low-tide. There will be more opportunities to find potential openings mentioned in step 1.

3. Don't give up if the digging is tough. Clams can be anywhere from 6-12 inches in the sand. Once you start digging, they may try to dig deeper to avoid you.

4. Wear a pair of closed toe shoes. As tempting as it may seem to go bare-foot, it can be bad if you are using shovels and rakes.

Clam Digging Tools

Obviously, the most common tool has to be the old-fashioned shovel. They are easy to pack, relatively cheap, and easy to use. Getting a longer shovel with a more narrow head is probably the way to go.

One important tool for scraping areas where a clam could be hiding. You'll be able to feel when something solid (like a big rock or a clam) is caught in the tool.

Clam Gun
A newer invention that is incredibly ingenious is the clam gun. It can create small holes that are perfect for pulling clams straight out of the ground. It's a little pricey, but makes your job EASY.
Clamming is the perfect way to spend your vacation in Westport, WA. We hope you choose to stay at The Glenacres Inn if you want to be close to the beaches where clam digging happens.