Washington State Beaches

Sitting on the coast of the Pacific Ocean means Washington has plenty of fabulous Washington State beaches.

The state's Pacific Ocean beaches are physically divided into two distinct areas – north and south.   

The Washington State beaches in the north are mostly rocky and rugged, except for a few beaches along the Cranberry Peninsula, North Beach area and Ocean Shores, which are wide and sandy.

The beaches in the far north are mainly located in Olympic National Park, and on Indian Reservations. The tribal beaches are private property. You need a special permit to enter these areas.

Village of La Push

The quaint village of La Push is one such area. It is home to the Quileute Indian Tribe, and you must have their permission to enter the land and use the beach.

This isn't difficult since the tribe is very friendly and welcomes all visitors. However, you must obey their rules and regulations.

Kalaloch Area Beaches

Kalaloch Creek Sunset - Olympic National Park. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of MJardeen on Flickr

If you're not interested in a long hike to reach the beach, then the Kalaloch area beaches are the perfect choice for you. Here you will find six glorious beaches that you can easily walk to from the road along a short path.

You can even drive right on the beach in some areas of Ocean Shores and along some of the other northern beaches not located in Olympic National Park.

There is also a resort plus a campground able to accommodate RVs up to 21 feet long. The campground fills up quite quickly, so you may want to make a reservation.

Just south of the Kalaloch area, take highway 101 inland to Lake Quinault. The rain forest makes this a very unique and picturesque area on the Olympic Peninsula. It lies at the foot of the Olympic Mountains, just a short distance inland from the Pacific Ocean.

The lake is surrounded by the Olympic rain forest. In several areas around the lake you can see ancient trees in the most amazing old growth forests in Washington.

The North Beach Area

North of Grays Harbor is the area known as North Beach. You take highway 109, which starts off of highway 101 just west of Hoquiam. The highway runs north along the Pacific coast on North Beach for about thirty-seven miles.

This stretch of highway offers some of the most glorious scenery and the best Washington State beaches.

Northwest of Aberdeen and Hoquim lay the towns of Copalis Beach, Ocean City, Moclips and Pacific Beach. The area was developed around 1900s. Today, it is a very popular vacation destination with a wide variety of activities and accommodations.

Ocean Shores

Washington highway 115 is a short highway that runs south down the northern edge of Grays Harbor peninsula to the city of Ocean Shores.

The city has the most tourist facilities of any city on the Washington Coast, attracting approximately four million visitors a year.

Ocean Shores has a wide variety of motels, hotels and fabulous convention facilities. The city continues to develop and grow, becoming a premier oceanfront city.

The Cranberry Peninsula

Washington highway 105 is an alternate route off of U.S. highway 101 south of Aberdeen. The highway loops west towards the southern point entrance to Grays Harbor.

It then runs south along the west side of Cranberry Peninsula. Along this stretch of highway you will find one of the most beautiful Washington State beaches.

Westport, Washington

Aside from miles and miles of beautiful beaches, the fishing village of Westport offers many other fun and exciting things to do. The are fantastic antiques shops, an aquarium, bird watching opportunities, RV parks and much more.

The major industries in Westport are charter-fishing, tourism and whale watching tours.

Grayland, WA

SunRise Grayland Beach State Park. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of Michael D Martin on Flickr

This area is know as the Cranberry Coast, because of the cranberry bogs. The land was settled about 150 years ago by Finnish cranberry farmers.

The farmers built the cranberry bogs and created the area's cranberry industry. Tourism and cranberries are the main income sources of the area.

Tokeland, WA

This small shore side community is home to the Shoalwater Bay Casino. The Shoalwater Indian Tribe operates the casino. The unique Tokeland Hotel is actually an old farmhouse transformed into an inn.

The inn is now registered in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tokeland is one of the small villages south of the state park located on a small peninsula that juts off into Willapa Bay.

Southern Washington State Beaches

Southern Washington State beaches are located on the Long Beach Peninsula. The beautiful peninsula gets its name from the long and wide sandy beach, which runs the entire twenty-six miles of the west side of the peninsula. Long Beach claims to be the longest beach in the world

You won't find the usual touristy things like a row of motels, hotels or a string of restaurants. In fact, if you arrive from the north, you will feel more like you are in a rural area than a touristy beach town.

The area is home to six unique communities, Oysterville, Nahcotta, Ocean Park, Long Beach, Seaview and Ilwaco.  

The fastest route is to take U.S. highway 30. However, the slow and windy Washington highway 4 offers a much more scenic and delightful drive.

Long Beach Peninsula is located just north of where the Columbia River flows out into the Pacific Ocean. It runs north from the Columbia River and forms a physical barrier for Willapa Bay.

The Columbia River washes a lot of sand up the west coast, causing the beaches to continually fill. Grounded ships from the late 1800s are almost completely hidden by sand and now sit far from the shore.

Driving is allowed on the beach. Visitors and locals have been driving on the Long Beach Peninsula beach ever since the automobile was introduced to the northwest.

Most of the beach is open to motorists all year long, but there are a few closed areas. The beach is heavily patrolled and the 25 mph speed limit is strictly enforced.

Washington State beaches are extremely popular, so be prepared for plenty of crowds.

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