Conde Nast Traveler just named the Olympic National Park beaches in Washington State among the “8 Most Beautiful National Park Beaches in the U.S.” This doesn’t surprise me, having just spent the past year traveling these beaches while writing my travel guide to the Olympic Peninsula.
Though most of the Olympic National Park is inland, making up the wild and dense Olympic National Forest and Wilderness areas, there is a stretch of the park that lies along the northwest coastline of the peninsula. It starts at rocky, mystical Shi Shi Beach in the north down to Kalaloch Beach to the south, where it is bordered by the Quinault Indian Reservation.
I’ve recently hiked at Shi Shi, Cape Alava, Second Beach, Ruby Beach and Kalaloch, all stunning! As a child, this was our playground with endless driftwood logs to play on, ice cold surf to swim in and stretches of cool sand where we could run our little hearts out.
Though you could feasibly come for the day from Seattle to any of these beaches, it’s a long trip and better to find a place to stay for at least one night or the weekend. Here are a few recommendations.
The most accessible place to stay and easily reached from U.S. Highway 101 is rustic Kalaloch Lodge. Cabins with kitchens for families, the historic lodge with rooms looking out to the Pacific Ocean, or campgrounds that are right on the beach, this is a great place to land for your stay. A “Certified Green” restaurant with a focus on local cuisine and products, it is a perfect place for your anniversary dinner or a birthday get-away. During the summer you can sit on the patio and watch the sun set over the ocean while sipping a glass or two (or three) of a Washington State wine, a truly magnificent thing to do on a warm summer evening. In the morning you can walk or run for miles along the sand in the ghostly fog. http://www.thekalalochlodge.com
Hobuck Beach Resort
If you want to hike into one of the most photographed beaches in Washington and the Pacific Northwest, then Shi Shi Beach is waiting for you, and the best place to stay is Hobuck Beach Resort in one of their loft cabins facing the sea. Getting to the resort is part of the destination as it includes a drive along the twisting and scenic two-lane Highway 112 which skirts the coastline from west of Port Angeles to Neah Bay.
Hobuck Resort is on the Makah Indian Reservation, but access is open. You do need to stop and get a pass for the duration of your stay at the Makah Museum (worth a visit) on the way into town, or at the one little grocery store. Can’t miss it!
While you’re here, you can also visit Cape Flattery, the tip of the U.S. jutting out into the sea. Spectacular! http://www.hobuckbeachresort.com
Rates at both places vary from season to season, and depending on which cabins or rooms you choose. The Hobuck Beach loft cabins will run you around $200/night in the summer months. Check the websites above for your dates. Of course, camping is a complete bargain: Around $20/night for most campgrounds.
These are just a few of the many wildly beautiful places on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. If you live in Washington and haven’t been to the Olympic Peninsula, it is high time to go!
For more ideas about weekend excursion to the Olympic Peninsula, see my recently published guide: