If what you seek is a quiet and peaceful beach destination, then Pacific Beach, Washington, is perfect. There are a few places to stay, a few places to grab a bite to eat, and a few shops for necessities and browsing. What you won't find: crowds or major infrastructure (for beaches with more going on, look to Oregon's beaches). Use Pacific Beach as a rustic launch pad to explore Olympic National Park, or spend time razor clamming and flying kites.
Pacific Beach is about 90 minutes by car from the capital city of Olympia, and between two and three hours from Tacoma and Seattle, depending on your starting point. It’s possible to take a day trip out to the area to go fishing or enjoy some time on the beach, and it’s equally possible to create a little local getaway to this beach community as well.
If Pacific Beach doesn’t have quite enough amenities, base yourself in Seabrook, which is a planned coastal community where you’ll find more development. The small town of Moclips is also nearby.
What to Do
While Pacific Beach is a pretty low-key destination, it’s a veritable playground if you enjoy the outdoors. Its perfect location near the water and forest alike opens up outdoorsy fun galore.
Clamming and crabbing are popular up and down the Washington Coast, and Pacific Beach is no exception. And while crabbing involves getting out on the water, just about anyone can go clamming. All you need is a clam gun (like a cylinder that helps you tunnel after the clams), a little knowledge about how to spot the razor clams' hiding spots, and a quick check to see if the beach is open for clamming. You can find out by checking the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website. And then, of course, you need to be prepared to cook up or grill the yummy razor clams.
Spending time on the beach is a given if you’re visiting Pacific Beach. If the weather is nice, take a walk, fly a kite, or build a sandcastle. But also be prepared for windy storms, especially in the fall and winter.
One perk of visiting Pacific Beach is its proximity to nearby towns. For more small-town appeal, Moclips is just to the north. For something quaint and cute with more restaurant options, visit Seabrook just a mile south. Seabrook is a master-planned community and its super cute. It’s an ideal place for a stroll if you enjoy ducking into shops or dining out.
In Pacific Beach, Seabrook and other coastal towns, always look at festival schedules. From Chocolate on the Beach in Pacific Beach to the Gnome and Fairy Festival in Seabrook, you’ll find a little bit of everything throughout the year.
Pacific Beach State Park is also located in Pacific Beach; wander its beautiful shores, fish along the water, or dig for clams. If you don’t want to stay in one of the local hotels, you can also camp here and build a fire on the beach at dark.
If you love fishing, hiking or wandering old growth forest, visit Olympic National Forest, which is within a short drive of town.
Restaurants and Shops
Make no mistake – Pacific Beach is no bustling metropolis. You won’t find tons of shops or restaurants, but there are a few to make sure you have some options in town and close by. Pretty much all of the town’s markets, shops and restaurants are located on Main Street.
Paddie's Perch Restaurant at 41 Main Street serves classic breakfast and lunch items and desserts, but closes for dinner. As far as restaurants go, this is really your only option in Pacific Beach proper. For more options, head to Seabrook a mile to the south. There are also a couple small markets on Main Street; one has a little teriyaki joint inside.
Hi-Fliers Kite Shop is the place to go if you don’t own a kite or want to find a more unique one. The owners are well-experienced and even have videos playing in the shop to demonstrate kite-flying techniques. You can also get an espresso here. The shop is located at 55 Main Street.
Hi-Tide Resort Gift Shop is inside the Hi-Tide Resort and offers the usual t-shirts, gift items and the like. The shop and resort are located at 4890 Railroad Avenue in Moclips.
Gull Wing Inn & Antiques at 4852 Pacific Avenue in Moclips has a small antique shop inside that’s worth a peek if you’re in Moclips.
Sandphifer Gallery is at 102 1st Street N in Pacific Beach and is a newer addition to the local scene. The gallery primarily showcases driftwood sculptures by owner Stephen Phifer.
Wacky Warehouse at 48 Main Street in Pacific Beach sells books, gifts, clothes, and other interesting items. You might catch some entertainment, too. Local vendors, performers, and even the store owner himself spend time singing and playing piano outside the shop.
Hotels and Other Accommodations
Pacific Beach has a small but diverse range of places to stay, including bed and breakfasts, rental homes, and hotels. Most are small; you won’t find giant, sprawling resorts anywhere near here.
Joey's Beach House: This large, pet-friendly beach home has amazing views of the water, and modern and beautiful décor. 6 Duke Lane
Pacific Beach Inn: Pacific Beach Inn offers 12 simple, casual, and comfortable rooms. Some units have kitchenettes and views. 12 First Street S
Sand Dollar Inn: Sand Dollar Inn has both rooms and cottages for rent, some with kitchens, just two blocks from the beach. Select units are pet=friendly. Central and 2nd
Clipper Inn: Clipper Inn has one- and two-bedroom rooms for rent, just two blocks from the beach. 45 Main Street
How to Get There
Pacific Beach is an easy drive from Western Washington. From I-5, take Highway 8 W/US-12 W toward Aberdeen and the ocean beaches. In Hoquiam, follow signs for US-101 N, which will turn into Ocean Beach Road and take you directly to Pacific Beach. When you see a sign at a road split pointing toward Copalis Beach to the left and Moclips on the right, go straight and you will see a sign guiding you into Pacific Beach.