One of the amazing views from the Olympic National Park coast

The Top 14 Beaches on the Olympic National Park Coast

The Olympic National Park coast offers an abundance of natural landscapes, exploration, and opportunity to disconnect from the modern world. It’s truly a mesmerizing place that people should circle on a map and aim to visit.

Four hours outside of Seattle, in the middle of pretty much nothing, sit incredible Olympic National Park beaches. Visitors can see sea stacks, tidepools, never-ending beaches with no development, and epic rock formations. It’s a gem of gems and only found in the state of Washington.

So, as you plan out your trip to the PNW and Olympic National Park, make sure you spend some time at these beaches soaking in the views, watching the sunset, and finding interesting ocean life. I promise you, there’s something for everyone here.

Your Guide to the Top Beaches on the Olympic National Park Coast

Shi Shi Beach

Epic views on the olympic national park coast at shi shi beach
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Shi Shi Beach

This is one of the most epic of the Olympic National Park beaches. It’s also one of the least visited, tucked away in the upper left of the state near Cape Flattery and Neah Bay. It requires a two-mile hike to the beach – pretty straightforward, albeit muddy – to reach the beach, and once there, your adventure begins.

If you hike all the way to the Point of Arches, you’ll have to walk another two miles on the beach, making it an eight-mile hike in all. But let me tell you, it is so worth it, and you’ll love your time here!

(Note: Pronounced Shy-Shy.)

Cape Flattery

a hiker walks on the cape flattery trail near the olympic national park beaches
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Cape Flattery Trail

This is the most northwestern point in the state of Washington and the lower 48. It’s a pretty lovely trail—about 1.5 miles round trip—that is good for families and hikers of all skill levels.

If you want a nearby beach to hang out, visit Hobuck Beach. But it’s on tribal lands, not Olympic National Park.

Ruby Beach

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach is a gem on the Olympic National Park coast. It’s just south of the Hoh Rainforest turnoff and about 30 minutes from Forks, making it a doable drive for sunset if you so choose.

Once you arrive, you’ll need to walk about .33 of a mile downhill to the water. Once you are on the sand, the beach is your oyster. You can walk both north and south to see the sights!

Tree of Life

The Tree of life on the Olympic Coast. This was day 2 of our Olympic National Park itinerary.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is actually on Kalaloch Beach, somewhere between 2 and 3, right off the campground. I thought it would be harder to find/require a further walk, but it’s right as you get onto the beach.

So, what makes the Tree of Life so special? Well, it’s giving gravity the middle finger and staying alive even though the ground underneath it has completely eroded. Now, it’s held up by its root, which spreads from one side to the other.

Kalaloch Beach’s 1, 2, 3, and 4

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Olympic National Park coast

The Kalaloch Beaches span some 5-10 miles along the southern part of the Olympic National Park Coast. It’s a beautiful section of coastline with hardly anything other than nature. There is lodging at Kalaloch Lodge and groceries at Kalaloch Mercantile, but no gas until you get on the Quinalt Reservation and the town of Queets.

First, Second, and Third Beach

One of the amazing views from the Olympic National Park coast
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Olympic National Park beaches

These three beaches are all on the way to La Push and are 15-20 minutes from Forks, making them perfect places to bring dinner and enjoy the sunset. I’ve only been to Second Beach, about a .75-mile walk from the trailhead.

I remember it being pretty easy, but it was so stunning once you reached it.

La Push/Quileute Beach

The olympic national park beaches at sunset offer magical views.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Olympic National Park beaches

La Push isn’t technically a beach, but it’s the small town/area at the end of the road. Quileute Beach and First Beach are the same or run into each other at some point on the coastline.

This part of the area is beautiful, and I highly recommend it. It’s also super accessible and doesn’t require a long walk to see the views or reach the water. Unfortunately, there is not a wheelchair-accessible route.

We grabbed dinner from Rinconcito Del Sabor in Forks (okay Mexican food) while enjoying the sunset views.

Rialto Beach

This is just north of La Push but on the other side of the water. Getting to Rialto Beach is also easy, about 21 minutes from Forks, and gives you miles of coastline to explore. Aim to hike north along the coast for awesome views!


Hole in the Wall is on Rialto Beach and requires a 1.5-mile flat walk to reach it (3 miles round trip). This trail is best done when it’s sunny and during low tide so you can experience the tidepools and rock formations in the area. The last time I was here, I could hardly see 100 feet in front due to heavy fog.

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Things to know about the Olympic National Park Coast and Beaches

How long is the Olympic National Park coast?

The Olympic coastline is 73 miles of absolute beauty. This protected environment allows visitors to see life before industrialization and modern life. It also allows visitors to see wildlife in their natural homes.

The Olympic National Park beaches are honestly one of the best sections Washington has to offer!

What is the most scenic beach in Olympic National Park?

Few people travel this far north, but Shi Shi Beach is the best beach on the Washington coastline, in my mind. You’ll encounter hardly any other hikers up there, and the views are majestic. Make sure you read my guide and wear waterproof boots.

The trail is super muddy getting there, but it’s amazing once you reach the beach!

magical views in from the olympic national park coast in washington
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch – Olympic National Park beaches

Is Ruby Beach or Rialto Beach better?

Both of these are really nice beaches on the Olympic National Park coast. I partially like Rialto Beach next to La Push Beach), but Ruby Beach is a gem, too. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy/moody for me when I visited, so we didn’t get the full A+ experience.

When is the best time to visit the Olympic National Park Coast?

This depends on your preferences, as each season offers something unique and worth going for.


This is a BEAUTIFUL time to visit the coastline. I went in April 2023 and had phenomenal weather the entire trip. The crowds are still sparse, meaning shorter lines and less expensive lodging rates. And the days are getting longer, letting you maximize your vacation.


Visiting during the summer means you’ll have super long days that go well past 9:30 with lovely temperatures. But you’ll have to contend with plenty of visitors and long lines. We waited 45 minutes to get into the Hoh Rainforest on a Saturday afternoon. (However, your Olympic National Park beaches will be less congested than the Rainforest.)

Green ferns inside the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


This time of year can be hit or miss. The transition to fall can be quick or slow, allowing you better weather before the rains hit. I went in the fall after a big rainstorm and saw almost no one else there during the week. So, it could be a nice place to enjoy without crowds.


Winter has the shortest days and the fewest crowds. It’s also when the Olympic National Park coast is the wettest. While this isn’t great for the coastline views, it makes the forest vibrant and lush. I always tell people to visit after a rainstorm.

How many days do you need in Olympic Park?

I always recommend spending at least three days in Olympic National Park. But if you add a fourth day, you can explore without feeling pressured to rush through the beautiful landscapes.

With an average of 3.5 hours of drive time from Seattle to the Olympic National Park coast, you’ll spend a good chunk of time driving to and from the area. Because of this, you want enough time at the top spots, and having three full days can make this happen.

olympic national park hiking
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Do you need a car to get to Olympic National Park?

Yes, you do. Olympic National Park has no shuttle system, so you’ll need to rent a car or campervan to explore its magical forests and beaches.

Check out Escape Camper Vans or Moterra Campervans

Where to Stay When Visiting the Olympic National Park Beaches


There are A LOT of campsites in the area – both NPS and others.

The following campgrounds require reservations in the National Park.

These are first-come, first-served (no reservations allowed). Generally, if you show up Sunday through Thursday, you’ll be able to get a spot. Weekends are challenging and tough if you aren’t there by noon.

  • Deer Park
  • Graves Creek
  • Heart O’ the Hills
  • North Fork Quinault
  • Ozette
  • Queets
  • South Beach


Forks is the closest town to the Olympic National Park beaches. It’s a pretty small town with only a handful of hotels/motels and restaurants, but it gets the job done!

We stayed in the Forks Motel, which was a nice, quiet spot.

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Port Angeles

This is the biggest city on the Olympic Peninsula. It’s not huge, but it offers nice food and lodging options and is close to Hurricane Ridge. If you’re doing a multi-day trip to the Olympic National Park coast, it’s a good spot to spend one night to cut down your drive time.

On a random note, if you want to see Victoria, BC, you can hop on a ferry from Port Angeles. I did this in 2017 and had a fun afternoon across the strait!

Other Areas on the Olympic Peninsula

We’ve stayed in Forks, Port Angeles, and had good experiences camping with HipCamp. They have a nice spot near Lake Crescent and plenty of other spots. I would suggest taking a look at the availability there, especially if the National Park campsites are booked out.

Final Thoughts on the Olympic National Park Coast

This region of the Olympic Peninsula is pure magic, and every outdoor enthusiast and nature lover should experience it. While the Hoh Rainforest and Hurricane Ridge command much attention from visitors, the Olympic National Park beaches and coast are also a must-see.

So, as you plan your trip, don’t skip these magical locations where the ocean meets the land.

Until next time, adventurers, take care and be safe.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside