Best beach on the Washington state Pacific Coastline?
April 14, 2008 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Best beach on the Washington state Pacific Coastline?

Taking a looong day-trip (rain or shine) to the Pacific Coast this Saturday from Seattle. Anyone have any recommendations for the best beach with access on the Washington coastline?

Also... I want to head South (Olympia) to the coast and come back through the North (via Bainbridge ferry) on the way home to Seattle. Anyone ever done this? Is this crazy to think to do (by simply driving and not stopping very much) in one day?

(Any suggestions as to good eateries/sights that can be easily accessed en route to or from the coast are welcomed as well.)
posted by bamassippi to Travel & Transportation around Washington (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Ruby Beach, on the very north end of the stretch of 101 that runs along the coast in Olympic National Park, is a really beautiful, isolated, wild Pacific coast beach. Totally worth the drive, but from Seattle it's a long haul (emphasis on the long). We used to drive there from Olympia, getting up really early & getting home late. If you go, bring a picnic - there's not much up there.
posted by gyusan at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2008

Here you go - the whole trip: google says it's almost 9 hours ... I've driven from Oly to Port Townsend in one day, the long way 'round, but it was a real slog.
posted by gyusan at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2008

I like Ruby Beach.

Yes, you can do the loop in one day. I'd recommend doing it the other way 'round, though, to make sure you don't end up coming back too late for the ferry. Assuming shine, you'll want to spend sunset on the beach, after all, and the drive from the coast to Bainbridge is like three and a half hours. If you stop for dinner on the way back, you could easily find you have missed the ferry (last one's about 1 AM IIRC).

Plus, the drive to the coast via Bainbridge is damn scenic and does not deserve to be done in the dark.
posted by kindall at 2:55 PM on April 14, 2008

I've heard that Copalis Beach is fun in the summer when the folks with planes fly in for tailgate (or the aircraft equivalent) parties.

I decided to do the drive around from here (Silverdale/Poulsbo) South through Aberdeen, then North along the coast from Pacific Beach toward Cape Flattery, then back around through Port Angeles. I got tired of driving and I only made it a bit past Pacific Beach, not quite half way. It took longer than I thought. The coast highway is pretty, but slow going.
posted by ctmf at 3:01 PM on April 14, 2008

I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and must recommend second beach above all others. It has a short 2.4 mile hike to get down to the water, which weeds out a lot of the RVers and noisome brats. And of course, it's just georgous, rough, and misty, the best beach for just standing in awe at the majesty of etc. And all the parking is free.

Also, depending where in Seattle you are heading back to, the Edmonds-Kingston ferry is faster, has much less traffic can be a real time saver vs the hooha of BI. And I am biased, but if time is getting too pressed, just take the north route to the beach there and back. Stop at Sunny Farms in PA on your way out and buy a picnic lunch. I could go on, but one shouldn't give away too much in a public forum.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 3:23 PM on April 14, 2008

You may not be aware that large parts of the Washington coast line are privately owned or otherwise protected. Most of the northern half of the coast is included in either the Washington Islands Wilderness or the Copalis Rock National Wildlife Refuge. A lot of the south coast is private property. Your choices will be pretty limited; it isn't so much a matter of the "best beach" as of finding one you're permitted to visit at all.
posted by Class Goat at 3:31 PM on April 14, 2008

I love the beach at La Push. Last time I was near Second Beach there was a sign asking non-Quileutes not to go there -- I don't know if that's been resolved.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:23 PM on April 14, 2008

Second Beach (on the road between Forks and La Push) is the quintessential NW coast beach. Absolutely stunning. The hike down to the beach is amazing, too.

If you can possibly spare one night, you should spend the night out there. It's a long haul and you will spend most of your time in the car if you want to do it all in one day. It's possible, but doesn't sound like fun. If you can stay one night, I bet you can find a cheap place to stay in Forks (near Beach 2).

Have fun!
posted by tk at 5:25 AM on April 15, 2008

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