When we think of Washington, we often think of rainy weather. So, is it a good spot to take a beach vacation? Well, if you’re looking for stunning landscapes and a variety of water activities, absolutely! Washington state offers a beautiful atmosphere with incredible beaches ideal for unwinding, getting active, and enjoying nature.
Washington beaches offer activities like kite flying, castle building, swimming, and much more. Many of these seaside spots are located within Olympic National Park surrounded by nature. Let’s take a look at the 15 best beaches in Washington state!
1. Long Beach
Located on the southwest coast of Washington, Long Beach is a vibrant city that offers more than enough opportunities for exploring. Whether you’re looking to take a family, solo, and romantic trip, Long Beach is a great place for it!
While strong waves and quickly changing tides make swimming unsafe at Long Beach, you can enjoy many other activities. Sunbathe (when the sun’s out!), stroll the beach, and hunt for seashells. Long Beach is also the perfect spot to fly a kite and you can even go horseback riding on the sand.
For more nature, explore the half-mile boardwalk trail. The Discovery Trail is also a cyclist’s favorite. It stretches from Ilwaco through Cape Disappointment State Park and ends in Long Park.
Wondering when the best time to visit Long Beach is? Go in July for the annual Sandsations sandcastle building competition!
2. Ruby Beach, Jefferson County
Named after the red ruby-like speckles found on the sandy shore, Ruby Beach is a gorgeous spot to enjoy a beach vacation. The beach is part of Olympic National Park and is located on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Active tide pools, rocky shores, and massive driftwood structures define Ruby Beach.
The magnificent sea stacks, including Abbey Island, create a picturesque scene at the beach. And, so does a spectacular sunset and reddish sand color! Observe aquatic creatures like spiny sea urchins, red, purple, and yellow starfish in the tide pools.
When you’re not at the beach, there’s plenty more to explore in the area. Go hiking, book a campsite, and catch views of wildlife like bald eagles.
3. Alki Beach Park, Seattle
Alki Beach Park is located in West Seattle, the excellent definition of an exciting vacation in the city. Throughout the summer, the park hosts thousands of visitors!
The beach stretches from Duwamish Head to the Alki Point House that has been standing since 1913. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars along Alki Avenue SW, parallel to Alki Beach, which offers a relaxed beach vibe.
The best time to visit Alki Beach is during winter when the area is full of fun activities like volleyball and beachcombing. The beach is among the Lake Washington beaches that allow campfires – perfect for hanging out into the night and catching colorful sunset views. You can also see the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, and a parade of ferries, boats, and yachts.
The 2.5-mile pathway that runs along the water allows for activities like walking, running, jogging, cycling, and rollerblading. There are also picnic tables and restrooms.
4. Shi-Shi Beach, Clallam County
Shi-Shi Beach, one of the Olympic National Park’s treasures, is a scenic and remote wilderness offering views of sea stacks. The Marca Tribe owns the beach, and there’s no road to it. To reach the shores of Shi-Shi Beach, be ready to take a well-worth-it hike (8 miles round trip).
Since camping is allowed all along Shi-Shi Beach, you can enjoy a night under the stars. However, make sure you get your wilderness camping permit beforehand. You can also easily take a day trip to Shi-Shi Beach to enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet.
Some amenities to enjoy at Shi-Shi Beach include restrooms situated in designated areas along the beach and the trailhead. Parking is at the trailhead and for daytime use only. However, there’s private parking about a mile away where you can park your vehicles overnight at a fee.
Something to keep in mind – you can bring your pet along with you on the trail but not past the National Park Boundary and to the beach.
5. Rialto Beach, Clallam County
Also situated within Olympic National Park, Rialto Beach is near the mouth of the Quillayute River. Rialto Beach is known as one of the most gorgeous Washington Beaches with incredible sunset views, peaceful trails, and rocky shores.
While you’re at Rialto Beach, be sure to walk through the Hole-in-the-Wall, volcanic cliff faces with holes. Keep in mind that this is only accessible during low tide.
You can also enjoy hanging out in tide pools and checking out the driftwood along Rialto Beach, which you can use to light up a fire at night if you’re camping out. Be sure to grab your permit before camping!
Due to its remote location, Rialto Beach offers the ideal spot for tranquillity. Most trails in Olympic National Park don’t allow dogs, but this one does up until Ellen Creek. Two beautiful sea stacks provide an excellent spot for picturesque sunset views.
6. Cama Beach, Camano
Step back in time at Cama Beach, located on Camano Island in Cama Beach Historical State Park. Cama Beach is a historic fishing resort about an hour north of Seattle.
There are lots of adventures around the park including opportunities for fishing, swimming, and bird watching. There are opportunities for wildlife viewing, toy boat building, and picnicking, too. There are also 15-miles of nature trails to go for a hike or biking excursion.
With so much to enjoy, the park offers camping and cabin rentals for visitors to stay the night. Pets are also welcomed in designated areas.
7. Ocean Shores Beach, Grays Harbor County
If you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches in Washington state, check out Ocean Shores Beach on the Pacific coast. It’s approximately three hours from Seattle and unlike other Oregon coast towns, Ocean Shore is a quiet place to unwind.
Ocean Shores Beach runs for several miles along the hotel zone and even allows cars on the sand. You can even ride horses on the beach! Other fun activities to enjoy at Ocean Shores Beach include kite flying, swimming, and clamming. It’s also one of the few Washington beaches that allow campfires on the beach.
Away from the beach, the Ocean Shores area offers plenty of vacation activities. Local events, incredible dining, and ample shopping keep visitors busy.
8. Owen Beach, Tacoma
Just an hour south of Seattle sits Owen Beach with beach access in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park. As with many Washington state beaches, Owen Beach is beautiful with a pebbly surface, so bring along your shoes and camera!
The crystal clear waters at Owen Beach give the perfect exposure to sea creatures like crabs and fishes. It’s also great for kayaking and you can find kayak boat rentals at the waterfront park.
Bring your pet along to enjoy walking along the 3-mile shoreline and spectacular views of the Vashon Islands. The beach is also an awesome spot to relax, swim, and have a picnic.
9. Golden Gardens Park, Seattle
Golden Gardens Park is among the most beautiful Seattle, Washington beaches in the Northwest. It’s also one of the most famous parks in Seattle. During summer, expect a crowd of people enjoying the sun, sand, and incredible views.
For a romantic trip to Golden Gardens Park, explore idyllic trails throughout the park. Make sure you bring your camera along to capture the picturesque sunset and views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. On nice evenings, you might even catch an outdoor concert at the park.
The park also boasts a wide selection of restaurants, independent shops, and chic cafes. Children love the pirate-themed playground at the park.
10. Jetty Island Park, Everett
Jetty Island Park is a two-mile, human-made island and incredible beach. Its remote, untouched location is only accessible by a short ferry ride. Get ready for ultimate relaxation!
Over a century ago, Jetty Island Park started as a rock jetty designed to provide a navigation channel and a protected harbor. Although you’re not permitted to collect or burn driftwood, you can bring wood for a beach bonfire. However, there’s no overnight camping at the beach.
While dogs aren’t invited to the park, windsurfers are and love the consistent wind patterns. Swimmers also appreciate the warm, shallow waters and tide pools. Kiteboarding and birdwatching are other popular activities at Jetty Park Island.
11. Hobuck Beach, Clallam County
Covering just the tip of the Olympic Peninsula is Hobuck Beach which runs along the West of Makah Reservation and the Pacific Ocean. It’s in Neah Bay, which is a popular spot for fishermen. Hobuck Beach is also one of the best beaches in Washington state for kayaking and hiking.
Hobuck Beach is a sea kayaking launch point and a great spot for surfing. The beach and the trail to Cape Flattery offer incredible hiking opportunities. At the beach, enjoy birdwatching, swimming, and fishing.
Visitors enjoy Hobuck Beach all year long with various events, including a surf-paddling festival known as the Hobuck Hoedown and youth surf camps.
If you’re looking to stay overnight, there’s camping on the beach. You can also check out the Hobuck Beach Resort, located close to the water. Be sure to witness a beach sunset on your trip!
12. Dungeness Spit, Clallam County
A part of the National Wildlife Refuge, Dungeness Spit is a haven for birds and other wildlife. It moves into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and allows you to view shorebirds, explore the sandy beach, and relax.
The Spit provides many opportunities for relaxation and recreation. Since birding is a popular activity at Dungeness Spit, you won’t regret carrying binoculars to view over 250 bird species in the area, including shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds.
The sand that makes up the Spit allows for a memorable hiking experience, too. At approximately 5.5 miles down the beach is the new Dungeness Lighthouse. There are volunteer keepers at the Dungeness Lighthouse there to help you navigate the tower and the museum while educating you on the history of the Spit and Lighthouse.
Pass through the restaurants and cafes in Sequim and order some take-out for a picnic at the beach. Stay into the afternoon for an incredible sunset panorama as with most Washington beaches. And, don’t be surprised if you spot marine and land mammals on the sandy shores. You might even get to do some seal or whale watching.
If you’re looking to make a vacation of it, The Dungeness Bay Cottages are a unique place to stay. Settle into a cozy cottage and unwind.
13. Jackson Beach, San Juan County
Jackson Beach is located about 20 minutes from Friday Harbor, a charming historic town well worth checking out. It’s also one of the dog-friendly Washington beaches so you can enjoy the ocean with your pet.
At the beach, enjoy awesome eastern views of Lopez, Griffin Bay, and Dinner Island. The Port of Friday Harbor owns and maintains Jackson Beach. Some other fun activities to keep you entertained at Jackson Beach include kayaking, beach volleyball, and beachcombing. There are also picnic areas, restrooms, and a free boat launch.
If you’re looking for some adventure, there are several water activity businesses along the beach to book kayaking or paddleboarding excursions.
14. La Push Beaches, La Push
On the Pacific coast in La Push are a series of 3 beautiful Washington beaches. Two require hiking to while one is accessible by car.
La Push First Beach is located just a few miles from the Quileute Nation and it’s the only La Push beach that you can get to by car. The beach features incredible coastal scenery despite being outside of the Olympic National Park boundary.
First Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Washington state. Major attractions at First Beach include fishing and surfing (in spring), hiking (in summer), and storm watching (in fall and winter).
Along First Beach are accommodations and restaurants if you’re looking to stay awhile.
Second Beach is the flattest and longest of the three. It requires a short hike through the woods to get to. Once you arrive, you’ll find a quiet, broad sandy beach.
Once you’re at the beach, enjoy viewing seals and bald eagles. The sea stacks and ocean scenery are incredible!
If you’re looking to stay the night, camping is allowed at Second Beach. You can also have a campfire for the full camping experience.
A 1.4-mile trail to Third Beach is a hiker’s paradise as you come across shelf fungi and other interesting organisms like moss and lichens. At the beach, you’re able to step away from the crowd and enjoy relaxing with seaside solidarity.
Camping and campfires are allowed along the beach for overnight stays. You can also find beach hotels nearby.
15. Seahurst Park, Burien
Enjoy the scenery of the Olympic Mountains at Seahurst Park Beach, a saltwater beach on Puget Sound. The 178-acre park is located in Burien and features a 2,000-foot long beach. Other natural features include streams, wetlands, and forests.
The park is home to a variety of wildlife like marine creatures and seabirds, eagles, owls, and herons. You can also explore nature along various trails. The park also offers picnic areas, a playground, and restrooms.
It’s easy to spend a day here and the summer months get crowded. In the spring, photographers love Seahurst Park Beach for the many blooming flowers.
Have more questions before you head to the Washington coast? We’re happy to answer them!
Does Washington have good beaches?
Absolutely! Although rainy days are common in Washington, there are plenty of sunny days. Not to mention, there are tons of beautiful Washington beaches up and down the coast. You can find ample opportunities for watersports, hiking, and photography.
Can you swim at the beaches in Washington state?
Waters on the Washington coast can be a bit chilly and the waves can be strong. Be sure to check the conditions and swim only if it’s safe. With that said, Washington beaches are great for surfing, kayaking, and other water adventures. Many beaches also have tidal pools for splashing around.
When is the best month to visit Washington state?
Good news! July and August are the least rainy months and the warmest – perfect for the beach! With plenty of sunny days and temperatures in the 80s, Washington offers an incredible summer vacation experience.
Why does Washington have rocky beaches?
While beaches on the east coast are usually sandy, west coast beaches are rocky. With that said, there are some sandy beaches in Washington with opportunities for walking and relaxing by the water. And, the rock formations along the Washington coast make the perfect photo-op.
So, why all the rocks? Many years ago streams from glaciers formed deposits of sand and gravel which has resulted in unique rocky shores.
What else can I do on my vacation to Washington?
If you’re looking to take a vacation to a bustling city with a wide range of activities, Seattle is the place to go. For a more lowkey destination where you can hang out on the beach and explore nature, Long Beach is the best Washington city for that.
When you’re not exploring beautiful beaches in Washington, there are many other attractions to check out. Olympic National Park is one of the most iconic sites in the state and many beaches are found there, too.
Ready to plan your Washington beach vacation? We hope our guide to the best beaches in Washington has inspired you. Whether you’re taking a solo trip to relax, enjoying a beach trip with friends, or planning a family vacation – there’s something for everyone in the beautiful state of Washington!