Editor’s Note: Remember, crowded parks lead to closed parks during the COVID-19 emergency. We encourage you to continue good physical distancing and avoid crowding the beaches.
When the summer sun heats up it’s the perfect time to head to the coast for some rest and relaxation. Whether you prefer a quiet stretch of pristine sand or a traditional beach town, the Washington coast delivers.
If you’re looking for a great place to relax, sink your toes into the sand and breathe in the sea air, head for Long Beach. Located on the Long Beach Peninsula in the southwest corner of Washington state, the 28 miles of pristine sand is the longest continuous beach on the Continental West Coast.
It’s not a crowded beach, but you’ll find bike rentals, horseback riding, golf courses, and fishing charters. This isn’t the place for swimming though. The water in this area is treacherous.
There are seven places you can access the beach, and a half-mile-long boardwalk stretches over the dunes.
Steady breezes make Long Beach a haven for kite flying. It’s even home to the Washington State International Kite Festival (watch for it to resume in 2021).
Another stretch of sandy beach is located three hours north at spectacular Kalaloch, one of the most-visited areas of Olympic National Park. Seven trails lead to the ocean from Highway 101.
This is a picturesque area to hike, camp, and bird watch. Keep an eye out for nesting tufted puffins.
Ride the Waves
Located three hours west of Seattle, Westport has become a popular surf destination. The Jetty at Westhaven State Park is a good place for beginners. More experienced surfers can check out The Groins, three fingers of jetties nestled near the marina on the northern edge of Westport.
If you need gear, The Surf Shop, a fixture in Westport for more than two decades, offers everything you need to get started, from equipment sales and rentals to expert advice.
Beach Fire Fun
If you enjoy a good beach fire to end your day, a great destination is Ocean Shores, where you can build a fire on the beach and gather driftwood to build it.
Another spot to enjoy a beach fire is Pacific Beach, a small camping park northwest of Aberdeen. With 2,300 feet of ocean shoreline, you’re sure to find a spot to cozy up for an evening fire while listening to the ocean waves.
Explore Tide Pools
When the tide goes out, a whole new world opens up, with spiny sea urchins, anemones and sea stars exposed on rocks. Two of the most popular tide pool areas on the coast are at Kalaloch’s Beach 4 and Hole in the Wall, a dramatic rock arch.
Be sure to practice proper tidepool etiquette, and carry a tide chart so you’re not surprised by a rising tide. You can check the tides online as well. The best time to arrive is 30 minutes before the lowest tide.
Ride the Wind
Several beaches, including Long Beach, South Beach and North Beach in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, now allow kite buggies, BloKarts, kite boards and other wind/sand sailing recreational vehicles. Sand & Sails H2o in Ocean Shores offers rentals of the BloKarts, which look like cross between a go-cart and a small sailboat.
A Traditional Beach Town
We may not be traveling by plane this year, but you can get your beach fix in Ocean Shores. There you’ll find bike rentals, horseback riding, and fishing charters. It’s also home to family fun like go-karts, ice cream shops, souvenir shops, and mini golf.
Collect Shells and Sea Glass
Washington beaches offer up treasure in the form of shells and sea glass. If you’re looking to find sand dollars, head to the area of the North Jetty on the Ocean Shores Peninsula. At Point No Point Beach in Hansville you’ll discover shells like limpets and dogwinkles.
North Beach and the appropriately named Glass Beach near Port Townsend are hot spots for sea glass, broken pieces of blue, green or clear bottles worn smooth by the ocean.
Lend a Hand
Finally, if you’re feeling ambitious, grab a trash bag and clean up a patch of coastline. The Ocean Conservancy, which sponsors the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day, offers an app called Clean Swell. Using the app, you can track the type of trash you collect, the total weight of that trash and your total distance cleaned. Kids may get a kick out of earning badges based on the trash collected.
Kalaloch beach image by davelogan
Long Beach Kite Festival image by Omegaforest