Along the Pacific coastline, high up in northwest Washington, lies a place of quiet retreat and natural beauty. Welcome to La Push, a town in northwestern Washington that’s part of the Quileute Indian reservation and has the westernmost zip code in the contiguous US. This unspoiled coastline is at the northwest corner of the state. Only a handful of beaches (that are accessible by car) lie north of it.
Here, the loud winds prevail and ocean water surges. Winds whip and nip at your ears and cold water laps at your feet. Old, dead trees wash ashore like hollow logs; driftwood that has traveled far from its original home.
Despite being at First Beach in La Push in July, we were quite chilly at the beach. The cold ocean air, mixed with the wind, kept us from even desiring to swim. The unspoiled, crescent-shaped beach was a welcome respite.
Where nature has been left undisturbed, rocky tree-lined cliffs look out over the surf. Large rocky islands dot the shoreline, showcasing that nature rules these lands.
What’s unique about First Beach in La Push is that part of the beach contains an estuary; here, the Quileute River meets the Pacific Ocean, mixing fresh water with salt water (making an estuary). A man-made divider separates the ocean from the river next to the beach. This divider consists of rocks and driftwood. On the river’s side, the estuary has brackish water with a bluer hue.
Along the beach, you can find locals, tourists, kayakers, bird enthusiasts, whale watchers, and even surfers. The La Push area, along with the nearby town of Forks, was made popular by the Twilight series novels.
In addition to First Beach which is featured here, La Push also hosts Second and Third Beach as well. Due to the more isolated environments of Second and Third beach, they are usually a favorite for locals. A hike is necessary to access these two beaches; you’ll have to carry your items a bit to get to the beach.
La Push is about 70 minutes from Olympic National Park’s Hoh Rainforest Visitor’s Center, 2 hours from Olympic’s Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center, and 85 minutes from Port Angeles.
So if you’re in the Seattle area or at Olympic National Park and looking for a fun place to visit, head out to the Pacific Coast near La Push. Whether you’re looking to whale watch (Feb-April), fish, hike, watch birds, swim, surf, or kayak, there’s plenty to see and do at the beach. Just remember, you are on a reservation; be respectful of the Quileute people and their environment. Also, there is not a lot of commerce in the area so don’t expect a lot of shops and restaurants – options are limited.
Have a great time exploring the northwest Pacific coast!