Top 10 Edition: The Best Beaches in Washington for Every Season
BY Sarmind SafiFeb 19, 2024
There are many different beaches in Washington, including those on the Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean, peninsulas, lakes, and islands. Washington beaches feature grassy dunes, pebbles, rocks, or sand and offer activities like swimming, boating, wildlife observation, tidepool exploration, and gathering driftwood or seashells. Beachgoers may be kept on the shore by the chilly water, but sunsets on Washington's west coast provide the ideal cap for a day at the beach.
The most prevalent type of beaches in Washington, Puget Sound, are gravel ones, though they can also be found along the coast (such as the Willapa Bay side of Tokeland). Small-stone beaches aren't great for volleyball, but they tend to attract more marine life because they offer hiding places from raptors. They're a favorite among crabs, and harbor seals graze on mixed gravel beaches.
Beaches in Washington
If you are looking for the best beaches in Washington, then we are listing some of your top options here. So, look at all the names we are dropping.
Golden Gardens Park, Seattle
With views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the 80-acre Golden Gardens Park is home to one of the largest beaches in the Seattle area. Swimming is available at the sandy beach, and hiking, volleyball, and fishing, as well as water sports like sailing, canoeing, and kayaking, are all very popular. On the beach, there are fire pits and a one-acre dog off-leash area available.
Read More: The Best Mountain Getaways In Washington: Where To Stay, What To Do, And How To Relax
Green Lake Park, Seattle
This urban park is about five miles to the north of Seattle's downtown. Visitors can enjoy the grass and sand areas, and lifeguards are on duty during the summer. In addition to tennis courts, an indoor pool, picnic areas, equipment rentals, restrooms, and a historic bathhouse, the park has basketball courts. A 2.8-mile path encircling the lake is popular among bikers, skaters, walkers, and joggers.
Madison Park Beach, Seattle
Northeast of Seattle's downtown, this little park on Lake Washington's edge offers a small sandy beach, grassy area, parking, tennis courts, restrooms, and lifeguards in the summer. There are benches and a walking path nearby, and guests can go shopping or eat at neighborhood eateries.
Alki Beach, Seattle
Alki Beach is a 2.5-mile sandy beach located on Elliot Bay in West Seattle, along with a corresponding long pedestrian walkway. One of the eight lighthouses on Puget Sound is a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and it is open for tours. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, beach fire pits are open. There are picnic tables, parking, as well as restrooms.
Madrona Park, Seattle
Madrona Park, which is on Lake Washington's western shore, has picnic spaces, a bathhouse, a swimming beach, and parking. Together with a grassy shoreline, hiking trails, and views of Mount Rainier, there's a jogging path alongside the lake. During the summer, lifeguards are on duty, and the beaches are open until Labor Day. Madrona Park is one of the least explored beaches in Washington.
Jackson Beach, San Juan Island
Approximately two miles from Friday Harbor's downtown, this lengthy sandy beach is open all year round. A small dock, volleyball courts, fire pits, barbecue grills, restrooms, and a picnic area are all present. The presence of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, which glow in the dark when a kayak paddle touches them, is an exciting feature. This phenomenon is only available to guided groups. Individuals must make reservations for evening events as the park is closed to visitors.
Fort Worden, Port Townsend
The sandy beach, which is part of Fort Worden State Park on Puget Sound, has access to a boat ramp, kayak and canoe rentals, and views of the Northern Cascades. Part of the original concrete fortifications still stands from the once-powerful military fort that once guarded the city. So, the exhibits at the Marine Science Center are open to visitors in the summer. There are campgrounds close by, and you can see the lighthouse from the outside.
Long Beach, Long Beach Peninsula
Long Beach calls itself the "World's Longest Beach." It stretches 28 miles along its shoreline and is in Washington's southwest. Hikers, bikers, as well as walkers can enjoy views of the surrounding landscape and art installations along the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail. A half-mile boardwalk leads down to a grassy dune.
The broad, level sands of the peninsula taper off to the horizon in both directions. It is battered by Pacific waves that are nearly always too erratic and too chilly for swimming. It boasts the best boardwalk in the state. The 8.5-mile Discovery Bike Trail meanders among sand dunes, public art, and the restored whale bones.
Long Beach's fine, soft sand is created by the addition of clay and silt from the Willapa Bay’s large mud flats. It is paler than beaches in Washington near river mouths because of its higher quartz concentration.
Cape Disappointment State Park, Long Beach Peninsula
Sandy beaches in Washington, with breathtaking views of Baker Bay and the Pacific Ocean, can be found in the park. Two operational lighthouses, a military fort, as well as the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, which tells the history of Cape Disappointment, are all part of the historic area. In addition to building sandcastles and driftwood forts, beachgoers can hike through coastal forests and explore tidepools. The water is a little too cold for swimming, but there's still plenty to do.
This miniature version of Waikiki Beach seems to have welcomed all visitors since it opened. Despite how beautiful the cove and black river sand are, the name doesn't refer to a paradisiacal place but rather to the passing of a Hawaiian sailor who lived nearby.
Half Moon Bay, Westport Light State Park, Westport
The 560-acre day-use park has grassy dunes and beaches on Half Moon Bay and the Pacific Ocean, as well as picnic areas, restrooms, grills, a lighthouse, and a coastal forest. Moreover, Half Moon Bay and the Pacific Ocean have a 1.3-mile paved path dividing them. Activities nearby include fishing, surfing, as well as exploring the Westport Lighthouse. Moreover, on the beach, dogs are welcome, and camping is available close by.
Griffiths-Priday Ocean State Park, Ocean Shores
The mouths of the Copalis River and Connor Creek are where you'll find this state park on the Pacific Coast. Walking trails, a boardwalk, and grassy sand dunes all lead to the sandy beach, which is frequently empty. Seashells, migrating birds, and the neighboring Copalis National Wildlife Refuge are all attractions for nature enthusiasts. Many people come here to dig for shellfish, and dogs are welcome. There are picnic tables and restrooms.
Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island
Nearly a mile of Lake Washington waterfront is available for swimming, boating, and fishing at this 77-acre park. There are walking trails, tennis courts, picnic areas, grills, a kids' playground, and restrooms (during summer). From October through April, dogs on leashes are welcome on the beach. Mercer Island also offers off-leash areas. You can check out Luther Burbank Park if you are looking for quieter beaches in Washington state.
West Beach and Sunset Beach, Washington Park, Anacortes
Located in Washington Park on the western tip of Fidalgo Island along the Swinomish Channel, there are two beaches- West Beach and Sunset Beach. There are picnic areas, restrooms, a playground, a boat launch, and beachside fire pit barbecues at Sunset Beach. It comprises 220 acres. West Beach has campsites, a small rocky area, tide pools, and breathtaking views.
Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah
This day-use park has a playground, walking trails through forests and wetlands, and two lakefront beaches. At Tibbets Beach, you can rent equipment for water sports, reserve an outdoor kitchen, and have a picnic area. This 530-acre park hosts annual events, including boat parades, concerts, and nature walks. Dogs on leashes are allowed in the park but not on areas designated as swimming beaches. If you are looking for beaches in Washington, Lake Sammamish is another option.
Idylwood Beach Park, Redmond
The Idylwood Beach Park is on the northwest coast of Lake Sammamish and has a lot to offer. It has a bathhouse, swimming beach, picnic tables, restrooms, a small boat ramp, a fishing pier, and picnic shelters. The park sprawls over 17 acres of land. It provides the only free recreational access to Lake Sammamish. This popular park also has playground equipment, volleyball courts, fishing, and barbecue pits.
On Camano Island, the beach is all about boats. The most well-liked sound-front spot has a parking lot uphill and is hidden from view. Situated near the water, the Center for Wooden Boats and its vintage vessels take center stage. It is encircled by luxurious cedar cabins that resemble a sleepaway camp. The place rents out boats and hosts weekend workshops for building toy boats. Because of the extremely rocky shoreline, transport by sea is the preferred option.
This park on San Juan Island, like many other beaches in Washington, is home to bleached-white driftwood. It forms a barrier between a grassy bluff and dark, dense sand. Guided groups are usually the only ones allowed after the park closes at dusk. North Bay, located just south of Friday Harbor, just outshines everything else. At night bioluminescent dinoflagellates light up the water when in contact with a kayak paddle, making the trip even more memorable.
Kitsap County Park's Beach
This Kitsap County park's beach is a three-quarter mile walk (all downhill, but that means an ascending stroll on the return trip). The waves are very calm because Vashon Island feels like it is almost touching the narrow finger of Colvos Passage. The required hike keeps the beach comparatively deserted.
Imagine the craggy islands along Washington's coast, minus the ferocious waves. The most striking areas of this county park on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula are tucked inland. Moreover, it has old military bunkers buried deep under the overgrown forest, and many of them are concealed behind overgrown trails. Tide pools form the eastern end of the water, and a sandy stretch hugs the relatively calm Crescent Bay. Far off in the distance is Vancouver Island.
Quileute Oceanside Resort
Sea stacks, or little islands with a few scraggly trees at the top and basking sea lions at the base, are due to rock columns just offshore. About two miles north of Rialto's parking lot, Hole-in-the-Wall is a naturally occurring sea arch in a headland on this section of the national park that is only accessible at low tide. The Quileute Oceanside Resort is next to La Push's dully named First Beach, south of Rialto.
Olympic National Park
Even with its magnificently isolated beaches, the Olympic National Park still has some gems near the parking lot. Ruby Beach's broad sands are just a quarter mile from Highway 101, and the distance between pavement and dunes at Kalaloch, to the south, is just a few feet. In addition, the Tower of Wisdom is collapsing. It's one of the few spots in the park where dogs are allowed, so keep an eye out for bald eagles and look down on leash-wearing pets.
Smugglers used the hotel's hidden spot behind the fireplace to hide undocumented workers, and there are plenty of antiques and rooms with floral wallpaper in this 127-year-old establishment. The Victorian-era farmhouse is one of the few businesses in a quiet residential waterfront community, and it looks out over the serene, kelp-filled coast of Willapa Bay.
The Depot restaurant is a welcome diversion on a coast popular for bins of saltwater taffy and hand-caught razor clams rather than for fine dining. The old Clamshell Railroad station has a lot of tables, with chef as well as owner Michael Lalewicz cooking up local oysters as well as combining wild razor clams and Willapa Bay clams for a flavorful chowder.
Washington's beaches, with their unparalleled beauty and ecological significance, stand as a testament to the delicate balance between human joy and environmental responsibility. So, whether you're drawn to the windswept shores of the Pacific or the calm bays of the Salish Sea, Washington's beaches invite all to connect with nature and savor the timeless allure of the coastal landscape.
The unmatched beauty, as well as the ecological significance of Washington's beaches, serve as a testament to the fine line that must be drawn between environmental responsibility and human enjoyment. Therefore, beaches in Washington invite everyone to connect with nature and enjoy the timeless allure of the coastal landscape, whether they are drawn to the windswept shores of the Pacific or the serene bays of the Salish Sea.
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