Massive rock formations will greet you once you reach Second Beach. As you start admiring the combination of the stunningly beautiful ocean views with the lush green forestry, you will quickly realize that this is a truly outstanding spot. As an extremely secluded and off-the-beaten location, situated to the very Northern edge of Washington, Second Beach is the Pacific’s coast most stunning beach. Keep reading as we are sharing the ultimate guide to this hidden gem!
Location of Second Beach
Situated along the Pacific Coast, Second Beach is one of the three beaches part of the La Push area to the Northwest of Washington. This entire area is also part of the popular Olympic National Park, as well as the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. The combination of the remoteness of the beach and the lack of massive tourists crowds, make Second Beach a real hidden gem surrounded by the rugged wilderness of the preserved area.
Getting to Second Beach
As you have probably already presumed getting to Second Beach is not an easy task. But that is what makes it an off-the-beaten-path location, allowing you to avoid the overly crowded popular beaches along the Pacific during the summer months.
First and foremost, you should have in mind that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the closest air hub to Second Beach and it is still approximately a 3-hour-drive away. Despite not being a fastest option, there is another way to reach the Olympic National Park from Seattle, which will definitely give you a fantastic start to your holiday – getting the ferry. Using the other available public transport options, such as the bus is not recommended as you will need to make numerous connections and the entire journey will be extremely time-consuming. So if you will be arriving from another state and you will be flying to Seattle, make sure to also rent a car.
Now that you are getting closer to your end destination – Second Beach, you need to have in mind that there is a relatively easy 0.7 mile trail, which will then finally take you to the shoreline. The path starts at Quileute Indian Reservation. The first part of the meandering trail will take you through the lush green forest, whereas the end will open to the vast magnificent ocean with numerous rock formations situated off the beach. You should be able to make the hike without getting lost, however, just to be on the safe side, you can also use the navigation coordinates – 47.8839°N 124.6155°W.
When to Visit
Due to its location to the very Northern edge of the United States of America, Olympic National Park starts getting snow as early as mid October. The fall season, on the other hand, can be quite cold and windy, so one of the best times to visit Second Beach in Washington is late spring and throughout the summer. During this time of the year, there are less chances of having roads and facilities within the park closed and you should find it easier to hike to the secluded beachfront. Despite the fact that you can expect warmer temperatures, you should keep in mind that Second Beach is not really meant for swimming, due to the numerous rock formations and relatively high surf, which forms throughout the year. This, however, does not mean that this unique beach is not worth the visit. With the first glimpse you will understand why it is considered one of the most breathtaking beaches along the Pacific Coastline!
Working Hours and Admission Fees
As Second Beach is part of the Olympic National Park, there are a few things you should keep in mind before heading there. While the park and the beach are open 24/7 year-round, you need to know that during the winter season, when there is heavy snow some of the roads and facilities might end up being closed. When it comes to the admission fees, as most other national parks in the United States, there is a pass that you would need to get before being able to explore the area. For private cars the costs is $30 for an entire week, whereas motorcycles are expected to pay $25.
Staying Overnight at Second Beach
Even if you live in the state of Washington, getting to visit Second Beach on a day trip is close to impossible. Not only this, but the entire area is so stunningly beautiful with its untouched natural landscapes, that it is certainly worth planning at least a weekend trip. If you are wondering what your accommodation options are keep reading.
For the true adventure lovers, who enjoy completely immersing themselves with the natural surroundings, we have some good news. Camping at Second Beach is allowed after you have gotten yourself a permit. You need to have in mind that despite being a remote hidden gem, the beach can be quite popular among visitors during the summer months and reservations are not taken. There are only a limited number of campsites within the preserved forested area, but the vast majority of people prefer to just camp on the beach. Those who have decided to dive into this wilderness experience, should have in mind that this area is home to the black bears, hence, storing your food in the proper approved by the park, bear canisters is absolutely essential.
Within the Olympic National Park, visitors can also find a number of lodging and cabin options. If you would like to stay as close to Second Beach as possible, you should book a room at the 3-star Quileute Oceanside Resort. Slightly further away visitors will also find some basic rustic cabins at the Three Rivers Resort and Quillayute River Resort. Both of them, however, offer everything you could ask for a romantic stay surrounded by the rugged nature of the park.
Where to Eat
As you are heading to the extremely remote and secluded Second Beach, you should have in mind that dining options are fairly limited. La Push is the closest village to Second Beach, but with a population of less than 400 people you can guess that restaurants and bars are not very common. So we strongly recommend preparing in advance. Grab some groceries on the way to the park and spend the time making your own meals, which is certainly a great idea if you will be staying in a private cabin. Those who have already booked a room in one of the bigger resorts can count on their restaurants for the lunch and dinner meals. For those of you who would still prefer to eat out, your best choice will be the small town of Forks, where you can find a great Barbecue place called D&K BBQ, Mexican flavors at Fyabes or great beers with some lunch snacks at Westend Taproom Tip and Sip.
Facilities at Second Beach
If you are planning a family visit you might be asking questions in regards to the available facilities at Second Beach, hence, you need to be prepared as there are literally none. This is an untouched, rugged natural beach that has managed to remain relatively unknown and completely non-commercialized through the years. That is also the reason why it is is the Pacific Ocean’s most stunning beach.
Things to Do
If you are still not convinced if a trip to Second Beach is worth it, keep reading as we are also sharing some of the best things to see and activities to try when in the area.
You should not be surprised that our list of things to do starts with visiting the actual Second Beach. As previously mentioned there is a relatively easy hiking trail, which you will need to follow in order to dip your toes into the soft sand. This makes the entire experience of paying a visit to Second Beach, however, a true adventure which consists of both hiking through the lush green forests of the park and getting to admire the stunning scenery of the Pacific Ocean.
Once you have finally reached the final section of the hike, and you are taking the first glimpse of the beach, you will be overwhelmed by the fantastic views. Just a few steps away from the coast, you will see the unique rock formations rising from the ocean. Covered with green vegetation these small islands are also home to various animals, such as sea otters, sea lion, different bird species, etc. When the tides are low you can also explore the northern side of the beach with its magnificent Natural Arch and numerous small natural pools.
Besides Second Beach, there are a number of other beaches that you can pay a visit to while you are in the area. First and Third beaches, for example, are also part of the La Push area and are equally beautiful for a warm day spend enjoying the sun rays. Situated to the North, First Beach does not require any hiking and it is great if you would like to enjoy some hiking. To the South, on the other hand, visitors can find Third Beach, which is a lot more difficult to reach, as there is approximately 270 feet elevation gain, but visitors can even take a dip and go for a swim there. Something to keep in mind regarding all three beaches part of La Push is that pets are not allowed, so you might have to leave your furry friends at home.
If you will be visiting the beautiful Olympic National Park, you should certainly plan to do some hiking as well. There are numerous options to choose from depending on your skills level from easy and short to strenuous, which require you to camp along the way. To dive into the green lush forestry part of the park, choose the easy and short Sitka Natural Trail and Hall of Moss Trail. To admire some stunning waterfalls cascading straight into the narrow gorges, check out the Sol Duc Falls Trail. For the true adventure lovers, on the other hand, the Royal Basin Falls and Royal Lake is an almost 9 mile hike with a total elevation gain of 2,650 feet. Do not get discouraged, though, as the views along the way are truly mesmerizing.
For everyone who loves being active and spending their time experiencing new things and places, Olympic National Park offers a number of interesting activities to try. With around 600 lakes, 4000 miles of rivers and 75 miles of a beautiful coast, one of the top activities is fishing. Remember to bring your own gear and do not forget to get a permit if you have decide to fish directly into the Pacific Ocean from the shoreline. Kayaking, canoeing and boating are among the other water activities that visitors can enjoy. Lake Crescent and Lake Ozette are great for a more relaxed and peaceful paddling, especially early in the morning before it gets windy. Quinault River and Sol Duc River, on the other hand, are perfect choice if you already have experience with kayaking as they have challenging, fast waters.
Last but not least among the thrilling activities waiting for you at Olympic National Park we have climbing! As the biggest part of the mountains are made of sandstone and shale, climbing can be dangerous, so it is highly advisable to attempt conquering the rock formations within the park only if you are an experienced climber. It is very important to keep in mind that the weather in this area can change rapidly and even during the summer months you can find snow-capped summits. While they are absolutely beautiful to look at from the distance, they can be extremely risky when it comes to hiking and climbing.
Are you ready to pack your bags and head on this fantastic adventure of exploring Second Beach and the fantastic Olympic National Park? Would you like to head to the beach first and spend the night camping in this rugged, untouched natural surrounding or would you prefer to try the fantastic water sport activities within the preserved area?