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5 Things That Make Washington's Coast The Best In The West

Coastal chillin' at its best.

By: Crystal Guthrie + Save to a List

Picture a trip to the beach...wind blowing on your face with a smell of salt in the air, the sound of waves crashing onshore, warm sun shining on your face, and the stillness of nature. The Washington Coast delivers on this experience, and much more!

1. Beautiful scenery, straight out of the movies

The Washington Coast is a temperate rain forest and home to towering Sitka Spruce that seemingly grow to the edge of the sand. These green giants can tower to over 300 feet tall and thrive in coastal Washington by absorbing the minerals from the ocean mist. You will often see Bald Eagles flying amongst the tree tops, and you may feel like you've been transported to a scene from Twilight, which was set in/near Forks, Washington.

Backpack Along Rialto Beach | Photo: Greg Balkin

2. Camp right on the beach

Unlike the beaches of California which are mostly locked up with sprawling multi-million dollar homes, the Washington Coast is home to Indian Reservations, National, and State Parks which have multiple options for camping on or near the beach. For the full experience, head to Third Beach near La Push (just off Highway 101 and 110). Once parked, you can set your tent up directly on the sand! At Third Beach, the further south you hike, the more secluded and peaceful your campsite will be. Campfires are permitted so be sure to pack some marshmallows for roasting. Bring a backup camp stove just in case the forest fire hazard is high. There is plenty of driftwood, so grab your hammock and sleep suspended under the stars one night.

3. Sunlight until 10PM

Misty mornings on the beach often yield to sunshine that can last late into the evening during the summer. With this amount of daylight, there are countless things to see and do. Start out your day cooking breakfast and head out to surf the waves of La Push. Go exploring at low tide and check out the tidal pools that emerge for a short time each day. Climb up one of the intertidal rocks for the ultimate beach summit photo. Play a game of beach soccer or cricket. You still have plenty of time to cook a delicious dinner and go for a sunset stroll.

Hiking to Shi-Shi Point of the Arches | Photo: Gemina Garland-Lewis

4. Abundance of hiking opportunities

Branch out from your basecamp to explore nearby trails. If you are looking for more adventure, you can work your way down the coast visiting different beaches and campsites each night. One of the prettiest destinations is Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, which are located on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula. They are accessible directly off of Highway 101 and have great Campsite/RV, Cabin and Lodge options.

5. Explore Olympic National Park

With 73 miles of protected coastline, the Olympic National Park is yet another reason why Washington Coast is the best in the West! From your beach basecamp, the Hoh Rainforest is a short drive inland and has amazing old growth forest as well as the milky blue Hoh River which is fed by glaciers on nearby Mount Olympus. Hiking along the Hoh River is a magical experience with towering trees, lush ferns and cascading moss. You will find a quiet stillness in this naturally sound-proof environment. Watch closely, you may even get to see a herd of rare Roosevelt Elk heading down to the river for a cold drink.

Cover photo: Ian Tyley

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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