Best Washington Coast Beaches

Carole Stephens
• Saturday, 26 December, 2020
• 8 min read

While the Washington coast doesn’t have the sunbathers, surfer dudes (unless you’re in Westport), or a lot of sunshine, it makes up for it with drop-dead gorgeous scenery. On any of our Washington beaches, you are likely to encounter iconic sea stacks, incredible hikes, and some of the moodiest scenery in the Pacific Northwest.

beach shi washington wa point arches
(Source: www.onlyinyourstate.com)


In this post, we’re sharing 10 of our favorite Washington beaches and how you can experience this amazing part of the state for yourself. We’ve specifically arranged these Washington beaches starting from the most southern Washington beach to the most northern point of the Washington Post.

*Northbound Washington Beach Trip: Begin in Portland and work your way up the coast, with optional stops in places like Ocean Shores, Forks, and Port Angeles. *Southbound Washington Beach Trip: Begin in Seattle and take the ferry from downtown to Bremerton.

This is a unique area in Washington where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. This area got its curious name from English explorer John Aires who failed to locate the Columbia River’s entrance.

With rich diversity in landscape, you can explore tide pools, go whale watching, hike old-growth rainforests, and even camp in this amazing Washington state park. This coastal area of Washington was originally used by Native Americans in the summer, and was given the name “vis-à-vis” meaning “place of sand”.

Half Moon Bay has 1,215 feet of shoreline and sizable waves perfect for west coast surfers. Westport is even home to the surf competition, Clean Water Classic, held annually.

washington state beach ruby
(Source: flickr.com)

Twin Harbors State Park : Explore the tall dune grass, walk along the driftwood-covered shoreline or even storm-watch in winter. Twin Harbors also has a great selection of cabins, yurts, and camping spots for rent at any time of year.

For the more active beach lovers, we recommend exploring the North Jetty, or braving the cold Washington coast waters and going bodyboarding. North of the Keillor Lodge, you’ll find the most spectacular example of life on all the Washington beaches.

A tree hangs on for dear life, with erosion taking away all the soil out from underneath it. What’s left is the tree, stretching its branches to hang on to both sides of the bluff, suspending its roots in the open air.

You can easily access tide pools, and explore near a prominent sea stack close to shore. There are endless opportunities to photograph wildlife, take a hike, and discover stunning rock formations.

Note: Overnight backpacking here requires an Olympic National Park Wilderness Permit. They are $8 per person per night, and you can visit the Port Angeles or Lake Pinault Ranger Stations to obtain one.

beaches washington state beach long cliffs peninsula north states united park head lighthouse attractions coastal cape cnn
(Source: www.cnn.com)

Alternatively, you can visit the Port Angeles Wilderness Information Center for more details. If you plan to obtain a permit, come prepared to pay on the spot, and make a copy of your itinerary for the rangers.

We are planning a summer backpacking trip and will report back with more information. While there is technically no beach access, there are several viewing platforms that provide stunning vistas of off-shore sea stacks, islands, and the Pacific Ocean.

At the very end of the trail, make sure to look out to Tattoos Island and spot the offshore lighthouse! This is an area of the coast that opens the Puget Sound to the rest of the Pacific Ocean.

Below we’ve included a Google map of the best ocean beaches in Washington state to help you in your planning. Throw a rain jacket in the back of your car just in case the coast decides to change its mind.

Leaving a fresh change of clothes in the car will allow you to not hold back on any adventures you may come across! There are plenty of accommodations along the Washington state coast that can fit anyone’s budget and comfort level.

washington beach second state usa beaches places wa amazingplacesonearth
(Source: www.amazingplacesonearth.com)

These national park locations (Point of Arches, Shi Beach, Odette Triangle, Rialto Beach, and Keillor to name major areas) all require a National Park Pass for a day visit. For example, Cape Flattery is located on the Make Tribe land, and they require a $10 day fee.

Long Beach is actually considered an official highway, with 28-miles of shore that stretch from Gray’s Harbor to the entrance of the Columbia River. If you decide to purchase a product or service we recommend here, we may receive a small commission.

Though its Coney Island–style amusement park was removed in the 1910s, Ali remains a prime hangout spot, with volleyball nets, a Statue of Liberty replica, and a historic bathhouse. Today Seattle’s parks department washes the existing grains with a mechanical sifter, but it generates so much dust that it only comes out once a week during summer.

The beach is nicknamed Kiki for its popularity among the city’s lesbian scene, but this tiny piece of Lake Washington waterfront, along with Howell Park just to the south, usually hosts more men than women. Maybe the toddlers padding toward the tiny waves caused by Lake Washington motorboats and the lifeguards who oversee the roped-off swim zone.

Sand strips are short but sweet on the Eastside, but the green acres of Lake Sammamish Park spread wider than the longest possible Frisbee throw. A curved bathhouse evokes retro style but dates back only a few years, housing concessions and showers, plus a rain garden on the roof.

washington coast places dream something wa must onlyinyourstate magical
(Source: www.onlyinyourstate.com)

Strict adherence to a nineteenth-century treaty gave the tip of this Canadian peninsula to the U.S. (these five square miles are south of the 49th parallel), and its four beaches, mostly rocky, are less popular with visitors than the cheap gas and American mailing addresses. Still, Maple Beach on the east side lets you country hop with impunity past a plaque that denotes the national border.

If the spooky tunnels that burrow beneath the beach bluffs aren’t haunted, local ghosts should be ashamed of themselves. Snag a Make recreation permit at the local museum or gas station; state park passes don’t work on this Indian reservation, and beachfront cabins at Ho buck Beach Resort beg a longer stay.

Search the long beach’s south end, far from the surfers, for a hidden trail that ducks over a headland to a smaller expanse of tide pools. South of Rialto, the Quilpué Oceanside Resort abuts La Push’s boringly named First Beach.

The wide sands of Ruby Beach are only a quarter mile from Highway 101, and at Keillor, to the south, there are only a few feet between pavement and dunes. Built as a vacation community in 2005, Seabrook looks like a New England hamlet that sprung up on a mossy bluff overlooking the Pacific.

Otherwise, it’s a quiet waterfront bordered to the north by Iron Springs Resort, some of the poshest rental cabins on the coast. Sand 101: The beach at Half Moon Bay was formed by the construction of a jetty in the early 1900s that caused the shore to erode away into a crescent.

seattle washington beach alki
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Sand 101: Gravel beaches are the most common kind in Puget Sound, but they can also be spotted on the coast (like on Toke land’s Willa pa Bay side). Though they suck for playing volleyball, the small-stone beaches tend to support more marine animals, since they provide hiding spots from predators.

On a coast better known for hand-caught razor clams and bins of saltwater taffy than fine dining, the Depot restaurant is a welcome diversion. As idyllic as the cove and black river sand are, the name comes not from paradise comparisons but the death of a Hawaiian sailor nearby.

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