Time your visit right, and you can enjoy one of the city’s frequent music festivals, featuring styles as far-flung as Celtic flutes and country riffs. Just south of the Olympic Peninsula, the small town of Westport is one of the loveliest places to visit along the Washington Post.
On top of taking in the beaches, you can visit sites adjacent to the water, like Grays Harbor Lighthouse surrounded by towering pines. Of course, what really sets Westport apart are the waves: bring your own surfboard when you visit, or rent and take lessons from Bigfoot Surf School.
Located on the northeastern reaches of the Olympic Peninsula, there’s a reason Port Angeles is nationally regarded as one of America’s best small towns : it’s got a little of everything. The rural location near the woods and ocean provides you with a peaceful atmosphere during your visit, but venues like Wine on the Waterfront and First Street Haven adds some refinement in town.
To the north is the vast expanse of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which you can experience by the bay or on the beach at the Edit Hook Reservation. The tiny town of Mo clips is home to just a few establishments and a few secluded neighborhoods, and that’s how locals (and vacation rental guests) like it.
Take in the natural beauty at one of the pebbly beaches running between the John Wayne Marina and Washington Harbor. Just south of town, Sequin Bay State Park features breathtaking waterfront views as well as docks for boating, trails for hiking, and space for baseball and basketball games in the fresh ocean air.
Known for its lack of amenities, there are only a few small towns scattered along the way, leaving you alone with the elements, able to experience solitude, serenity, and the intensely gorgeous scenery along the shores of the Evergreen State. While a lifetime could easily be spent uncovering every isolated nook and cranny along the Washington Post, the following 11 destinations will whet your appetite and provide a great taste of what this gorgeous strip of coastal paradise has to offer.
Cape Disappointment is one of Washington’s State Parks, offering eight miles of hiking trails and a campground complete with yurts, RV and tent sites. Said to be one of the foggiest places in the Unites States, the cape and its trails are amazing during the winter months, as giant storm surges transform the area into a chaotic and beautiful coastal wonderland.
With sand dunes and driftwood, museums, kite flying and gorgeous sunsets, Long Beach is the perfect place to go and relax along the Pacific Coast. Known for incredible fishing, breathtaking sunsets, and a rich seafaring culture, Westport offers an historical glimpse at life along the Washington Post.
Small shops line the boardwalk, while local parks give you access to miles of walking along the windswept dunes. Douglas Scott Across Grays Harbor from Westport, Damon Point rests at the end of the Ocean Shores Peninsula, giving incredible views of the entire region.
As the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier rise up to the east, the mighty Pacific extends to the horizon to the west, allowing a breathtaking vista under soaring bald eagles. With seals commonly seen offshore and the occasional snowy owl in the winter, wildlife watching makes for another great reason to visit this off-the-beaten-path destination.
Douglas Scott Once you enter Keillor, where the rainforest meets the ocean and where sea stacks slowly decompose into the never-ending onslaught of waves, the true rugged beauty of the Washington Post begins to take hold. Douglas Scott Just a few miles north of Keillor Lodge on Highway 101, one of the most spectacular beaches on the entire west coast is waiting to be discovered.
Full of sea stacks and driftwood, incredible views and bloody sunsets, Ruby Beach is one of the most impressive and accessible coastal areas in the National Park Service. The beach is gorgeous and offers the perfect introduction to the 73 miles of wilderness coast in Olympic National Park.
Douglas Scott One of the classic coastal hikes of Olympic National Park, Second Beach can be found west of Forks, near the small tribal town of APUSH. At just four miles round trip, the hike to Second Beach leaves most hikers breathless with the incredible views of sea stacks, pounding surf, tide pools, and wildlife sightings.
Highlighted by the arch stretching to the north and the Quilpué Needles offshore, this is an ideal place to relax, set up camp, and watch a spectacular sunset. This is typically the first stretch of multi-day backpacking trips along the Olympic Coast and has plenty of opportunities to see eagles, sea otters, seals, and even whales.
With magnificent sunsets and the steady sound of the crashing waves pushing tons of rocks with each churn, this is an ideal place to relax and forget about the problems of the world. Accessed from the Make Reservation near the very northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula, the eight-mile round trip trek to Shi Beach and Point of the Arches is a geological coastal wonder, offering unique sea stacks, incredible rock formations, and fantastic tide pools overflowing with life.
The first three miles of the trail can be muddy, as they work their way south on the bluff, but the slog is worth every step once you reach the spectacular scenes awaiting you at the coast. Following the trail, which is just 1.5 miles in length, experience the majesty of coastal forests while walking over cedar-planked raised walkways.
Off the coast, whales are frequently spotted swimming where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As you stand on the edge of the country, gazing out into the blue horizon, the spirit of the Pacific Northwest can be felt in full force.
More information these and other destinations long the Washington Post can be found in the author’s guidebook, the Definitive Guide to Olympic National Park and Peninsula. Luckily, Washington has plenty of beautiful towns that can be explored in a single day, and some of them sit right on the water.
While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. Check out Fort Wooden State Park, take a walk on the waterfront and enjoy a meal at one of the many tasty restaurants before heading back home.
It's pretty much impossible to spend a day in La Conner without falling in love with it. Admittedly, it would be difficult for anyone not living in Southwest Washington to make a day trip to Ocean Shores.
But if you're one of the lucky ones who can make the drive in under 3 hours, you can enjoy a beautiful beach day in this quiet coastal community. This tiny town sits right on the Columbia River, and for a place so small, it has plenty of things to do.
And if you grow tired of the antique shops, galleries, wine, spirit and cider tasting rooms and the delicious restaurants, you can drive up the road and hike at Beacon Rock State Park. Kennewick's historic downtown area has gone through a recent revival, and Columbia Park offers plenty of riverfront land to enjoy.
Our capital city is located at the southern end of Puget Sound on Bud Inlet. It's bursting with charming neighborhoods, waterfront parks and marinas, and more outdoor activities than anyone could possibly do in a day.
Want a taste of the laid back British Columbia lifestyle without crossing the Canadian border? Blaine is the closest you can get without bringing your passport, and the Semiahmoo Bay Area is absolutely beautiful.
Located on the Hood Canal in Mason County, Welfare is a total gem. If you're lucky enough to live near Mutilated, you can hop a ferry to Whitney Island and spend a beautiful day in Langley.
With plenty of shopping, dining, wine tasting, beach walks and island drives available, you may decide to make a weekend of it after all. Jessica Wick is a writer and travel enthusiast who loves exploring new places, meeting new people and, of course, beautiful Big Sky Country and every part of Washington State.
While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. From the scenic boardwalk to the Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Westport embodies all there is to love about a little beach town.
Twin Harbors Beach State Park is the perfect spot for enjoying nature. It’s often labeled one of America’s greatest small towns by travel magazines, but sometimes Washingtonians pass up Port Angeles in favor of better known spots like the San Juan Islands.
This little city can hold its own when it comes to food and entertainment, offering kayaking, antique shopping and wine tasting in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula. A word of caution: Sometimes when people visit Port Townsend, they fall in love and end up wanting to live there.
Many people use Anacortes as their gateway to the more popular San Juan Islands, but this scenic little town has a lot to offer. With clean, sandy beaches and one of the largest tide flats in the state, this is a great place to dig for clams and oysters.
Its spot on a scenic bluff means it has some incredible ocean views, which you can enjoy from your choice of walking paths and trails. You’ll find Pacific Beach in Grays Harbor County south of Mo clips and 34 miles north of Ocean Shores.
There’s never a bad time to visit, but if you can go at the end of February you’ll catch the Chocolate on the Beach Festival, which is as amazing as it sounds. Jessica Wick is a writer and travel enthusiast who loves exploring new places, meeting new people and, of course, beautiful Big Sky Country and every part of Washington State.