Bring rain jackets and waterproof shoes or sandals when you visit the Olympic peninsula. Also, a fleece layer, even in summer, is a good idea. Make sure to use bathrooms before heading to the beach. It is quite the hike to get back to them once you have descended the trails. Pack snacks and drinks for sure. Parts of Olympic National Park require a park pass, depending on where you enter.
Good to know
Depending on where you want to stay in the area, you will need to research accommodations six months in advance. The sites at Kalaloch Campground are reserved almost immediately upon opening 6 months before your arrival date. This, or Kalaloch Lodge would be your best options to stay nearby. Olympic National Park does have first come, first served campgrounds elsewhere in the park.
If you are willing to wear your rain jackets (as you should in Olympic National Park), the beaches are actually quite scenic when there is a drizzle. Summer months have milder weather for exploring at a comfortable temperature.
If you have a child or immediate family member with a permanent disability, you can get a free National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass. This is a lifetime pass that allows access for the pass holder and everyone in their vehicle or campsite. National Park campgrounds give half off the basic site fee (not including electricity fees, etc.) with this pass.
About This Day
Head to Kalaloch Beach for a unique Pacific Ocean beach feel. Olympic National Park is vast, with long driving distances between attractions. However, there is a great variety of beaches near Kalaloch. Enjoy a day exploring different aspects of the best beaches in Washington State. Begin at Kalaloch Beach 4 and explore tide pools and climb some rocks. After some fun at the first beach, head to Kalaloch Lodge and Campground. This location has a flat beach with soft sand for a more typical beach experience, always a family favorite. Next, some Kalaloch beach camping fun. Spend a night outdoors and take in the sounds of the Pacific. The Kalaloch area provides something for all visitors of Olympic National Park.
Kalaloch (pronounced "Clay-lock") Beach 4 is a favorite for kid-friendly access to tide pools. It's one of the best beaches Washington has to offer. There are large rocks for picnicking or climbing on and tide pools filled with green sea anemones and sea stars. Children will be fascinated by these small underwater worlds. Beach 4 is nice because you don't have to do long boulder climbing to reach good tide pools. Beach 4 is also much less busy than nearby Ruby Beach.
DIRECTIONS From Kalaloch Lodge, drive north on Highway 101 for 3 miles (5 km) and look for signage to Beach 4 on the left.
TIP Kalaloch Beach 4 has a parking area with pit toilets at the top of the trail down to the beach. Make sure to consult the tide charts for low tide so that you will get the best view of the creatures in the tide pools and stay safe. Try to arrive at the pools at least 30 minutes before low tide for an optimal experience. The hike down to the beach is a well-maintained trail, but steep.
The beach by the Kalaloch Campground is a flat sandy beach that is great for building sand castles or jumping off driftwood. You can walk a long way in both directions and in August we spotted tons of gray whales directly out from this beach. The beach by Kalaloch Campground and Kalaloch Lodge is more of a typical "beach day" after exploring the tide pools of Beach 4.
DIRECTIONS From Kalaloch Beach 4, drive 2.5 miles (4 km) south on Highway 101 and look for signs to Kalaloch Campground on the right. If you want to make a coffee and snack stop right before this part of the itinerary, pass the campground and stop at Kalaloch Mercantile right next to the Lodge and then backtrack to the campground parking area.
TIP There is a parking area directly in front of the entrance to the campground where you can access a trail down to the beach. The campground has bathrooms scattered throughout to use before you head down to the beach. The beach by the campground is a lot quieter than the beach by the Lodge.