Most people think beach fun equals summer, but think again. Winter is a great time to enjoy the Pacific Northwest Beaches. Winter storms create their own unique beauty and the area is quiet without the summer tourist crowd.
Rather than the misty drizzle that envelopes most of western Washington in the winter, the coast experiences stormy weather. Expect rain, wind, crashing waves, seafoam lined beaches and lots of driftwood. January is a great time to curl up with a warm cup of coffee and watch the storms roll onto the mainland.
Long Beach is a three-hour drive south west from Seattle. On the way you will pass through Raymond, a logging community known for the whimsical metal artwork that lines the street. The world’s longest driveable beach, 28 miles, is in Long Beach. This is the perfect homebased for storm watching on the coast. The beach is also a state park that includes a boardwalk that follows the dunes.
Just 3 miles south is Cape Disappointment State Park in Illwaco. The park includes a beach, strewn with driftwood, a lighthouse and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
The Olympic Peninsula offers some of Washington’s most remote and beautiful beaches. Rialto Beach and the beaches at La Push are located in the northwest corner of the state. Here the beaches are strewn with driftwood and haystack rock formations line the horizon. The weather is cold, so bundle up.
The small town of Forks is 30 minutes east of La Push and 30 minutes north of Ruby Beach.
Ruby Beach, located in the Olympic National Park is named for the ruby colored crystals that wash on shore.
There are several great small towns to use as a homebased when visiting the Olympic Peninsula. Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks are lined across the northern part of the peninsula and all offer spots for dining, shopping and unique lodging.
The northern part of the Olympic Peninsula is about 3 hours from Seattle. You can drive from Seattle over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge or take the ferry. The Bainbridge ferry leaves from downtown Seattle and the Edmonds – Kingston ferry leaves from Edmonds, north of the city.