Ocean Shores is also the place to go if you want to ride a horse along the beach, and you’ll find bike rentals too. If the hotel zone is not your thing, you can wander farther down the beach and find quiet places, or venture out to the jetty at the far southern end of town to see big waves rolling in as you stand on the rocks.
Westport is known for a herd of elk that graze nearby, and it’s close to a few cranberry bogs you can drive by and see. Instead, the planned community is made up of immaculate rental cottages and homes paired with some well-placed amenities: a Town Hall for things to do, a pool, a park and game courts.
Any time of year (but it’s better in warmer weather), you’ll find any number of other activities from golfing to exploring nearby lighthouses. Peep into tide pools and bring your camera along to get the best shot of the giant rock formations.
Keep an eye out for the rock cairns visitors tend to leave behind, or build your own to add to the cool atmosphere. Better yet, pair the beach with a stay at Keillor Lodge just 10 minutes south and add in some exploration of the Olympic National Park and other nearby shorelines.
Jordan Siemens/Getty Images If you prefer a quieter beach, you’ll find most of Washington’s Pacific shoreline to be pretty laid back and isolated. The sandy stretch reaches 2.5 miles so there’s plenty of room for a waterfront walk either on the sand or along the paved path nearby.
Just like the ocean beaches, the Puget Sound is pretty chilly at 46 to 56 degrees year round, so swimming is not likely at the top of anyone’s list, but the sandy beach is perfect for a game of volleyball, sunbathing or exploring. Ocean beaches along the Pacific Ocean range from wild and without civilization anywhere near them, to mildly developed.
But no matter where you go, knowing some best beaches to spend time on is the perfect way to bond with the amazing waterfront places within Washington’s bounds. Neither the Pacific nor the Puget Sound warms up much all year long, so count on some time on the sand or donning a wetsuit if you choose to take a dip.
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.
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. *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. (Alternatively, take the Edmonds ferry to Kingston if you’re starting north of Seattle).
Make sure to download The Dirt, the largest campground sourcing app on the market! We have the pro version, which gives us access to offline maps and their road trip planner that helps us track the best campground spots along our route, and honestly, it’s worth every penny.
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. Twin Harbors State Park : Explore the tall dune grass, walk along the driftwood-covered shoreline or even storm-watch in winter.
Ocean Shores is a little vacation town, perfect for slow family getaways. If you’re craving some ocean time, this town has plenty of sand real estate to go around.
Here, you can rent mopeds and drive them across the sand, fly kites, search for seashells, and even dig for clams! 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. Spend a night at the Keillor Lodge and soak in all the activities this Washington state beach has to offer.
The Keillor Lodge has bluff cabins, each with a full view of the Pacific Ocean right from the west side windows! This place is named Ruby Beach for the red ruby-like speckles you can find throughout the sand here.
On all three beaches, you can discover sea stacks, driftwood, and miles of open shore. You can easily access tide pools, and explore near a prominent sea stack close to shore.
Here, you can explore Lake Odette, hike to the coast, camp in one of their 15 secluded sites, and enjoy the pristine Washington scenery. 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. 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.
Below we’ve included a Google map of the bestoceanbeaches 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.
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.
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.
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.