The Best Beaches in Washington State

Olympic National Park Beach
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With 157 miles of shoreline (make that 3,000 miles if you count the shorelines of the Puget Sound and lakes and rivers), Washington state has no shortage of beaches. Ocean beaches along the Pacific Ocean range from wild and without civilization anywhere near them, to mildly developed. Don’t expect anything along the lines of larger California beaches, or even Oregon’s bigger beaches.

Meanwhile, beaches on islands along the Puget Sound and even on lakes provide some diversity to the state’s beach scene. But no matter where you go, knowing some of the best beaches to spend time on is the perfect way to bond with the amazing waterfront places within Washington’s bounds. Also, no matter where you go, chances are the water will be cold. Neither the Pacific nor the Puget Sound warms up much all year long, so count on some time on the sand or donning a wetsuit if you choose to take a dip.

01 of 08

Ocean Shores

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Shores Washington

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Ocean Shores is one of Washington’s most popular beaches. Located about three hours from Seattle, the town of Ocean Shores is a bit quieter than similar Oregonian cities, but has the requisite oceanfront hotels, seafood restaurants, places to buy saltwater taffy, and family fun. Of course, it also has a beach—several miles of beach, actually. The beaches along the hotel zone allow cars on the sand, so you’ll be able to park right by the surf if you want.

Ocean Shores is also the place to go if you want to ride a horse along the coastline, and you’ll find bike rentals, too. If the hotel zone is not your thing, you can wander further down the beach and find quiet places, or venture out to the jetty at the far southern end of town to see big waves rolling in as you stand on the rocks.

Ocean Shores, WA, USA
02 of 08


Photographer takes picture near sea edge, sunrise

Greg Jacobs / Ascent Xmedia / Getty Images

Westport and Ocean Shores are on two opposite sides of North bay. Like Ocean Shores, Westport has a jetty and allows cars on the southern part of its beach. It's a little less commercial, though, and has fewer hotels. The city is a great spot if what you want to do is enjoy Washington’s beaches for the finest they have to offer—namely deep sea fishing, crabbing, razor clamming, or enjoying nature. Westport is known for a herd of elk that graze nearby, and it’s close to a few cranberry bogs you can drive by and see.

Westport, WA 98595, USA
03 of 08



karen / Flickr

Seabrook is a Washington beach town that does things a little differently. You won’t find a strip of hotels here. Instead, the planned community is made up of immaculate rental cottages and homes paired with some well-placed amenities: a Town Hall for things to do, a pool, a park, and game courts. Some cottages are right along the water, but most are set back; the beach is never very far away. Go beachcombing, sit in the sand and watch the waves, or find your own adventure. Of all of Washington’s beaches, Seabrook is one of the most picturesque due to its adorable Cape Cod-like vibe.

Seabrook, WA, USA
04 of 08

Long Beach

Gateway to beach at Long Beach, Long Beach Peninsula, Washington State
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Long Beach isn’t kidding around about being long. The beach stretches for 28 miles, but of course, most of it isn’t lined by hotels and things to do. Still, if you have a hankering for a really long beach walk, this is the place for you. In Long Beach, you can enjoy walking along a wooden boardwalk, rent a bike or go-kart, take a horseback ride, or explore the town. Like most of Washington’s ocean beaches, during the season, you can go crabbing, clamming, or fishing. Throughout the year, you’ll find any number of other activities from golfing to exploring nearby lighthouses. But, of course, sometimes the best thing to do is just hang out on the beach and bring your kite along and relax.

Long Beach, WA 98631, USA
Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach
Danita Delimont/Getty Images

While Washington has a few quintessential beach towns, where the state really excels are wilder beaches that lack amenities and are all nature all the time. Case in point: Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park.

Ruby Beach is rocky and rugged and built for exploring. Peep into tide pools and bring your camera along to get the best shot of the giant rock formations. Wear good shoes or sturdy sandals to explore as the beach is rocky. Keep an eye out for the rock cairns visitors tend to leave behind, or build your own to add to the cool atmosphere. Better yet, pair the beach with a stay at Kalaloch Lodge—just 10 minutes south—and a hike or two in Olympic National Park.

Ruby Beach, Washington 98331, USA
06 of 08

Rialto Beach

Man on Rialto Beach, Forks, Washington, USA

Francesco Vaninetti Photo / Getty Images

One of the top attractions within Olympic National Park, Rialto Beach features massive driftwood logs; wildlife like sea lions, otters, whales, and eagles; and impressive sea stacks. Be sure to hike the 3.3-mile, out-and-back trail to the Hole-in-the-Wall arch during low tide; along the way, you'll be met with tide pools housing starfish, sea anemones, crabs, and other aquatic creatures. You can camp nearby at Mora Campground; reservations are required for those visiting during the summer high season, but sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis any other time of year.

Rialto Beach, Washington, USA
07 of 08

Alki Beach

A view of Alki Beach in West Seattle, Washington on a windy day.

gmc3101 / Getty Images

Of course, not all beaches are along the Pacific Ocean. Seattle is home to one of the best urban beaches in the state: Alki Beach. The sandy stretch reaches 2.5 miles so there’s plenty of room for a waterfront walk either on the sand or along the paved path nearby. Just like the ocean beaches, the Puget Sound is pretty chilly at 46 to 56 degrees year-round, so swimming is not likely at the top of anyone’s list; however, the sandy beach is perfect for a game of volleyball, sunbathing, or exploring.

Alki Beach, Seattle, WA 98116, USA
08 of 08

Mocrocks Beach

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Mocrocks Beach, located in the town of Moclips, stretches from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Indian Reservation. This is a great location to keep an eye on razor clam digs and other more natural pursuits like birding. Camp nearby at Pacific Beach State Park, which offers 18 standard campsites, two yurts, and 41 partial-hookup sites for RVing.

Moclips, WA, USA
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The Best Beaches in Washington State