Washington beaches offer miles upon miles of sandy and sometimes rocky refuges where visitors can treat themselves to waterfront strolls, view fascinating wildlife and simply take in the beautiful coastal scenery. In places like Olympic National Park, ruggedly picturesque beaches offer some of the best sightseeing opportunities, and island groups like the San Juan Islands provide their own scenic and recreational allure. Worth noting is that there are dog friendly beaches in Washington State where your four-legged friend can savor the atmosphere alongside you, and for the camping crowd, there are beaches where you can set up your tent and treat yourself to a rewarding camping experience. Here, we highlight some of the best Washington beaches in an attempt to give you an idea about what Washington beach vacations can be all about.
Visit the glittering city of Seattle, and you can treat yourself to some quality time on the sand. Just head to West Seattle, which is where you will find Alki Beach. This beach is the closest thing that you will find to a Southern California beach in Washington, offering a paved path that runs along the sand. This path can be used for walking, in-line skating and biking. Alki Beach also offers proximity to affordable restaurants and places to purchase sunglasses and other beach-appropriate sundries.
Cape Disappointment Beach
Cape Disappointment Beach
Found in southwest Washington not far from Oregon is Cape Disappointment Beach. Contrary to its name, this beach on the Long Beach peninsula is anything but disappointing. Part of Cape Disappointment State Park, Disappointment Beach extends for two miles and is a great place for beachcombing. Other things that visitors to this state park can enjoy include hiking trails, an interpretive center and a pair of lighthouses. Be sure to check the events calendar in nearby Ilwaco and Long Beach. These coastal towns offer all kinds of special events and festivals from spring to fall.
Ocean Shores Beach
Situated along the Pacific Coast near the city of Aberdeen, Ocean Shores Beach is one of the most popular beach vacation destinations in Washington. Awaiting visitors to Ocean Shores Beach is a large expanse of sandy shoreline where you can dig for clams, beachcomb to your heart’s delight or perhaps watch winter storms roll in. Playing volleyball, flying a kite and stepping out on the sand to see the nighttime stars are just some of the other options for things to do. Accommodations, shops and restaurants are in good supply in Ocean Shores, and there is no shortage of ways to stay busy in the general area. Bring your clubs and even add some golfing to the mix.
Cape Alava Beach
Cape Alava Beach
No other point in the contiguous United States is located further west than Cape Alava. This destination in Olympic National Park is also the western terminus for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and comprises a good portion of the 9.4-mile Ozette Triangle. The Ozette Triangle is considered to be one of the best hikes along the Olympic Coast, and the ocean scenery has a lot to do with this. Sea stacks add to the scenic allure along the coast, and once you get to Cape Alava Beach, chances are pretty good that you will spot sea otters, sea lions, eagles or other wild creatures. This might just be the wildest stretch of coastline in the United States outside of Alaska.
Shi Shi Beach
Shi Shi Beach
Many of the best Washington beaches are found in Olympic National Park. Shi Shi Beach, to the north of La Push, is one more example. The northernmost beach that you can access in the park, Shi Shi Beach is a favorite among beach lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike. The scenery is rugged and exceptional, and you don’t have to leave once the sun goes down. Shi Shi Beach has campsites that are located either in the forest or scattered along the beach itself. Permits for camping at Shi Shi Beach can be obtained in person at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles or at the Forks Recreation and Information Center. It can get pretty crowded at Shi Shi Beach during the summer, so warm weather visitors should expect company, especially on the weekends.
The coastline in the unincorporated resort community of Kalaloch offers miles of tempting beaches and is a haven for thousands of marine species. This is a place where you can truly get in touch with nature while also treating yourself to some relaxing beach exposure. Providing an ideal base for such pursuits is the Kalaloch Lodge. This lodge overlooks the beach and ocean from its bluff-top perch and offers a variety of accommodation options. The Kalaloch beaches are trail-accessible from the lodge, and Highway 101 passes through the area, making it easy to get to. Tide pooling, strolling, birdwatching, checking out the driftwood, fishing, clamming, and whale watching are some of the most popular activities along the miles of Kalaloch beaches.
One of the most notable Washington beaches in the Kalaloch area and Olympic National Park is Ruby Beach. Notable for its abundant driftwood and scenic sea stacks, Ruby Beach is named for ruby-like crystals that wash onto the sand. Much like the other beaches in Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach is dramatically rugged. Where it differs from some of these other beaches has to do with its relative ease of access. Just a quarter-mile hike is required to reach Ruby Beach. You can’t camp at Ruby Beach, but you can treat yourself to a picnic and/or barbecue. And, it’s fun to play or simply sit on the driftwood, which includes fallen trees that have been sandblasted and bathed in waves for decades, making them smooth and comfortable. Ruby Beach, by the way, is one of the dog friendly Washington beaches.
South Beach Washington
Another beach in the Kalaloch area that is a favorite among visitors is South Beach. Here, a campground with 55 sites awaits. These sites feature fire rings and tables, and you can collect firewood from the beach.
So many other fantastic Washington beaches provide residents and visitors alike with excellent places to enjoy some coastal exposure. This is a big state with more than its fair share of coastline, and there are plenty of Washington State beach hotels to select from, as well as spots for beach or RV camping. The Washington beach hotels include some wonderful oceanside lodges, such as the Kalaloch Lodge and the Quileute Oceanside Resort, where you can leave the busy world behind and find plenty in the way of peace and relaxation. Complementing the lodges are your more typical hotels. Charming bed and breakfasts are also in good supply near the sea, and if a money-saving motel is what you have in mind, there are options there as well. Rounding things out in the Washington beach lodging department are cabins, condos and other rentals.