Washington is a state located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is best known for its rainforests, mountains, and beaches. The state has over 150 miles of coastline and is home to some of the best beaches in the country. These beaches offer a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kite flying, and windsurfing. And the best part is that many of these Washington beaches offer breathtaking sunset views.
I toured the state last summer in search of the best beaches in Washington, and I have to say, it was tough to narrow it down to just a few. But after much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be Washington’s best beaches.
1. Long Beach Peninsula, Long Beach
A trip to Long Beach Peninsula is a great way to spend a few days exploring the best of what Washington’s beaches have to offer. This 28-mile stretch of coastline is home to six different state parks, each with its own unique attractions.
This beach is renowned for its dramatic beauty and diverse wildlife. In addition to being a great place to swim, surf, and sunbathe, this beach is also popular for birdwatching, beachcombing, and clamming. However, the main attraction in Long Beach is the Boardwalk, which stretches for over a mile along the shore. Along the Boardwalk, you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions, as well as the famous Long Beach Carousel.
For those looking for a little more excitement, the Long Beach Peninsula is also home to several festivals and events throughout the year, including the annual Sand Castle Contest, kite flying competitions, and the popular Jazz on the Beach festival.
Long Beach is a great place to visit for the day or an extended stay. With its wide range of activities and quaint atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Long Beach is one of Washington’s best beaches.
2. Alki Beach, Seattle
Alki Beach is one of Seattle’s most popular beaches, located in the city’s West Seattle neighborhood. The two-and-a-half-mile stretch of beach offers breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline, the Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound.
Alki is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with plenty of opportunities for walking, biking, and rollerblading along the beach’s flat paths. The beach is also popular for picnicking, sunbathing, and playing in the water.
During the summer months, Alki is crowded with locals and visitors alike, and is a great place to people-watch. On warm evenings, the beach is often lit up with bonfires, making it a perfect place to enjoy the sunset.
In addition to its natural beauty, Alki Beach is also home to a number of historical landmarks. These include the Alki Point Lighthouse, built in 1887, and the Statue of Liberty Plaza, which features a replica of the Statue of Liberty given to Seattle by the people of France in 1954.
All in all, Alki Beach is a great place to enjoy the best of what Seattle has to offer, from its natural beauty to its vibrant beach culture. Therefore, be sure to add it to your list of the best beaches in Washington that you must visit.
3. Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park
Shi Shi Beach is a secluded spot on the northwestern coast of the United States, located in Washington’s Olympic National Park. The beach is only accessible by foot, and the hike to get there is considered moderate to difficult. However, the effort is well worth it, as this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Washington.
This beach is known for its dramatic coastline, with towering cliffs and sea stacks that create natural tunnels and arches. There are tide pools to explore, and the ocean is rich with marine life. However, this is not a beach for swimming or sunbathing, as the currents are strong and there are no lifeguards on duty. Your trip here will be all about communing with nature and enjoying the stunning scenery.
4. Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park
Ruby Beach is one of the best beaches on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It’s well known for its dramatic coastline, tide pools, sea stacks, and a large stretch of beach to explore. The picturesque setting of Ruby Beach makes it one of the best beaches near Washington for photography.
In addition to its natural beauty, Ruby Beach is also home to several miles of hiking trails that wind through the forest and provide access to a secluded lagoon. The beach is located in Olympic National Park, which is a great place to explore if you’re looking for more than just a day at the beach.
The best time to visit Ruby Beach is during the summer when the weather is warm and dry. However, the beach can be visited all year round, although winter weather can make conditions more challenging. In the summer, there are also a number of ranger-led programs and events that take place at Ruby Beach, such as tide pool walks and beachcombing tours.
5. Pacific Beach State Park, Pacific Beach
Do you love to surf? If so, you’ll want to check out Pacific Beach State Park. This beach is a surfer’s paradise and is one of the best beaches in Washington to catch a wave. Many surfers consider this beach to be one of the best spots, thanks to its consistent waves. And you don’t have to be a skilled surfer to enjoy this beach; it’s also a great place to learn how to surf.
In addition to being a great place to surf, Pacific Beach State Park is also a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the incredible views. And if you happen to be visiting between the months of March and May, you’ll also be able to see migrating whales from the shore.
Camping is also available at this state park, so you can make a whole weekend out of it. This includes both RV hookups and tent camping sites. And the best part is that you have the option to light a small bonfire on the beach, making it the perfect place to spend a summer night. There are also several hiking trails in the area, so you can explore the park’s lush forest.
6. Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park
If you’re looking for a truly unique beach experience, a visit to Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park is a must. This secluded beach is a favorite destination for couples and families looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the best things about Kalaloch Beach is its dramatic setting. The beach is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, providing stunning views of the coastline. The sunset views from this beach are truly breathtaking. I was here last year, and I can attest to the fact that it is definitely one of the best places to watch the sun go down. There are also several hiking trails nearby, making it easy to explore the surrounding area.
If you wish to spend the night, there are a few camping sites located just a short walk from the beach. However, you will need to obtain a permit before setting up your tent.
Overall, Kalaloch Beach is the perfect destination for those looking for a relaxing beach vacation. With its stunning setting and wide range of activities, it’s no wonder it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Washington.
7. Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park
If you’re looking for a more natural setting, Rialto Beach is a great option. This beach is located in Olympic National Park, and it’s known for its dramatic coastline and lush forest.
The beach is best accessed by a short hike from the parking lot, and once you arrive, you’ll find yourself surrounded by towering trees and dramatic sea stacks. Rialto Beach is a great place to explore tide pools, look for agates, and watch for wildlife.
Swimming is not recommended here due to the strong currents and risk of getting struck by driftwoods, but it is a beautiful place to stroll along the shoreline and take in the scenery.
Camping is also allowed on Rialto Beach, and there are several designated sites located just back from the shore. However, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the Olympic National Park Ranger station before setting up camp.
Overall, Rialto Beach is a stunning place to visit, and it’s a great option if you’re looking to get away from the crowds. Its natural beauty and isolation make it one of Washington’s beaches that truly offers a unique experience.
8. Cama Beach State Park, Washington
Another one of the best beaches in Washington is Cama Beach State Park. This beach is located on an island in Puget Sound and can be accessed by ferry from the town of Camano.
This island was once home to a fishing resort area, and now the state park offers visitors a chance to experience a taste of that history. The beach is lined with old-fashioned cottages that can be rented for overnight stays, as well as a general store.
In addition to swimming and sunbathing, visitors can enjoy beachcombing, crabbing, kayaking, and fishing. There are also a number of hiking trails in the state park which offer stunning views of Puget Sound.
Another highlight of Cama Beach State Park is the opportunity to visit the Center for Wooden Boats. This museum is dedicated to the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest and features a large collection of historic wooden boats. Admission to the museum is free, and it is open year-round.
9. Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park
Rosario Beach is a beautiful beach located in Deception Pass State Park, just north of Seattle. The beach is known for its dramatic cliffs, tide pools, and sea stacks.
Rosario Beach is a great place to explore the intertidal zone, with its many tide pools teeming with marine life. The best time to explore the tide pools is at low tide when the water recedes and exposes the rocks. The beach is also a popular spot for fishing, with good opportunities for catching crab and salmon.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous beach experience, Rosario Beach is also a great place to go exploring. The cliffs and sea stacks offer a variety of hiking trails with stunning views of the water. Plus, the Deception Pass State Park is also home to a number of other attractions, including the nearby Rosario Head Lookout and the Deception Pass Bridge.
With its dramatic cliffs, tide pools, and sea stacks, Rosario Beach is a must-visit for any beach lover visiting Washington.
10. Seabrook Beach, Seabrook
Seabrook Beach is a beautiful beach located in the town of Seabrook, Washington. The beach is the closest sandy beach to Seattle and is a popular destination for city dwellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle.
Seabrook Beach is known for its dramatic cliffs, crashing waves, and beautiful sunsets. The beach is also a popular spot to enjoy the outdoors, with plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, walking, biking, and picnicking.
Seabrook Beach is open year-round and is free to the public. Parking is available on site, and there are also several restaurants and cafes located nearby.
If you wish to stay overnight, Seabrook Beach also offers a number of vacation rentals, including cottages, apartments, and houses. This makes it one of Washington’s best beaches for a relaxing getaway.
11. Seahurst Park, Burien
Seahurst Park is a quiet, nature-oriented beach located in the city of Burien, just south of Seattle. The park has a long, pebble beach with plenty of space for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The park has several trails that wind through the woods, providing great views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The beach is also a great spot for wildlife watching, as it is home to bald eagles, ospreys, and herons.
I suggest arriving early in the day if you want to find a spot on the beach, as it can fill up quickly as the day goes on. Parking is limited, so it’s best to carpool or take public transit if possible.
This beach is also a popular spot for a sunset stroll or picnic. During my visit, the beach was full of families and groups of friends enjoying the warm evening weather. And the sunset didn’t disappoint, casting a beautiful pink and orange glow over the water.
You can also spend the night at Seahurst Park, as there are several campsite options available. The campsites are located in the woods and have access to bathrooms and showers.
12. Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park
Owen Beach is a great place to enjoy the best of both worlds: Puget Sound and the forest. The beach is situated in a cove surrounded by trees, and the water is calm and shallow, making it a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. There’s also a playground, a picnic area, and a concession stand for snacks and drinks.
In the summer, Owen Beach is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the warm weather. Many people come here to sunbathe, read a book, or have a picnic. A paved promenade runs along the edge of the beach, and there are several places to sit and take in the view.
In addition, Owen Beach is a great place to see some of the amazing wildlife that lives in Point Defiance Park. Deer, raccoons, and squirrels are common visitors to the beach. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go for a hike in the park. The Five Mile Drive takes you to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, or you take a stroll through the beautiful Rhododendron Garden.
All in all, Owen beach is among the most beautiful beaches in Washington and a great place to enjoy the outdoors. So pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, picnic lunch, and head down to the beach for a day of fun.
13. Golden Gardens Park, Seattle
Next on my list of the best beaches in Washington is Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. This beautiful park is situated on the Puget Sound waterfront and offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.
The park has a long history, dating back to the early 1900s, when it was created as a private beach for the wealthy citizens of Seattle. In the 1970s, the park was transformed into a public space, and today it is one of the most popular parks in the city.
Golden Gardens Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with plenty of space for picnicking, swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. There is also a nature trail that winds through the woods and offers views of the water.
During summer evenings, the park comes alive with a lively concert series featuring local bands playing various genres. The concerts are free and open to the public. Therefore, you should expect large crowds on summer weekends.
14. Dungeness Spit, Clallam Count
Dungeness Spit is the world’s longest natural sand spit stretching over five miles. It’s located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and is part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
A visit to this Washington beach is more of an adventure than a relaxing day at the shore. There are no lifeguards on duty, and there are no services or amenities. The spit is mostly filled with driftwood, Rocks, and a few patches of grass. There is no sand to speak of, but the views are stunning.
Be on the lookout for seals, elephant seals, and orcas that frequent the waters near Dungeness Spit. There are also a variety of bird species that call the spit home, including eagles, ospreys, and herons.
Fun fact: Dungeness Spit grows approximately 15 feet every year. This is due to the accumulation of sand and sediment brought in by the tides. So, in a way, the spit is alive and always changing.
There are many great beaches in Washington, DC, but these 14 are definitely the best of the best. From family-friendly spots to beaches that are perfect for a romantic getaway, there’s something for everyone. And with so many things to do, you’re sure to have a great time no matter which beach you choose.