The Best Pacific Northwest Beaches
Thanks to endless miles of protected coastline, the beaches in the Pacific Northwest are some of the most breathtaking in the U.S.
Photo By: rickberk
Photo By: tonda
Photo By: modrocker
Photo By: Omegaforest
Photo By: tomwachs
Photo By: JDPhotoPDX
Photo By: Witold Skrypczak
Photo By: nesneJkraM
Photo By: Claudia_Kuenkel
Photo By: DeSnurb
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Olympic National Park, Washington
You really can’t go wrong with any of the protected beaches in Olympic National Park, about a two-hour drive from Seattle. It’s worth the trek to Shi Shi Beach, an untouched paradise famous for its Point of Arches sea stack. It’s also popular for camping. Ruby Beach is equally breathtaking and a shorter walk, but just know it’s a rocky shoreline. Rialto Beach is the easiest to reach, and you can even walk to the Hole-in-the-Wall rock arch during low tide. Whichever you choose, you’re likely to encounter sand dollars, driftwood and anemones; if you’re lucky, you might even spot eagles, whales, dolphins and more.
Manzanita Beach, Oregon
Long Beach Peninsula, Washington
Almost 30 miles of wide white sand awaits just across from the Oregon border. Dangerous rip tides make this beach unsafe for swimming, but there are plenty of diversions. I mean, how many places offer a World Kite Museum? Plus, it goes without saying that kite lovers should plan on attending the International Kite Festival, a week-long fest and competition held every August. Meanwhile, runners and cyclists will love the 8.5-mile trail through sand dunes, while horseback-riding enthusiasts will find this is one of your best bets in the state for that bucket list beach ride.
Bandon’s Beaches, Oregon
Southern Oregon is peppered with remote beaches known for their rugged beauty. The beaches in Bandon are among the best examples, and you’re unlikely to encounter tourist hordes here. Visit Bullards Beach for its lighthouse, Face Rock for its Tufted Puffins, or take your pick from a handful of other worthy contenders. As with much of the coast, the region is protected by the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which means the odds of spotting everything from sea lions to falcons are pretty good. Fun Fact: Bandon is considered one of the best places in the world to watch storms.
Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington
Myers Creek Beach, Oregon
Deception Pass State Park, Washington
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon
Cobble Beach, Oregon
The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is indeed outstanding and home to Cobble Beach, named for the smooth black stones that are a holdover from an ancient lava flow. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot harbor seals, sea lions and whales from shore. At the very least, common murres (birds with penguin coloring) are a common sight in the spring and summer. Take time to examine the tide pools, which are abundant with starfish, crabs, sea urchins, anemones and mussels. You can even take a guided tour of Yaquina Head Lighthouse, the tallest one in the state.