10 BEST Beaches in Port Angeles (Tide-Pooling & More!)

Wondering which beaches in Port Angeles are worth visiting?

You’ve come to the right place. I live ninety minutes from these beaches and visited them in March—some twice! One has been a long-time favorite of mine, and I’ve visited it frequently over the last decade.

This article reviews the best Port Angeles beaches for tide-pooling, kayaking, seeing wildlife, and taking in extraordinary views.

If you’re planning a coastline road trip, I also cover beaches near Port Angeles, including Olympic National Park beaches.

Let’s go!

People exploring Crescent Bay, one of the best beaches in Port Angeles, with its rocky shoreline and sandy beach, which has a forest backdrop.
The beach along Crescent Bay at Salt Creek is my favorite on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula. 

Quick Guide: Top 3 Port Angeles Beaches

If you’re short on time and want to know the top three beaches, they are:

  1. Crescent Bay (Salt Creek Recreation Area) 
  2. Ediz Hook
  3. Elwha Beach (Mouth of the Elwha River Trailhead)

For the best tide-pooling experience in Port Angeles, head to Tongue Point at Salt Creek at low tide. Rialto Beach, Second Beach, and Kalaloch Beach 4 are even better, but you’ll have to drive about ninety minutes from Port Angeles to those beaches.

1. Crescent Beach

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Restrooms & showers available
  • No hiking required
  • Dogs allowed
One of the most expansive Port Angeles beaches, with mountains in the distance across the water, under a cloudy sky.

It’s remarkable how distinct Crescent Beach feels from Crescent Bay, considering they share the same coastline.

Crescent Beach & RV Park is just down the road from the parking lots to Salt Creek that are not part of the campground. Unlike Salt Creek, it’s on private property. 

NOTE: You have to pay to visit. In 2024, the cost is $8 per person and per pet. Beach access is included with an overnight stay.

Crescent Beach is a half-mile of stunning and expansive sandy beach. Upon driving past it for the first time, I immediately booked an RV spot for Labor Day weekend! 

I took a short walk on the beach, saw a lone surfer bobbing in the waves, and got excited to return. 

Editor's Pick
Crescent Beach and RV Park

Looking for a beach getaway? Book a cabin here for immediate access to the largest sand beach in Port Angeles.

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2. Crescent Bay / Salt Creek

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link (not the campground)
  • Vault toilet available
  • Short walk from parking lot
  • Dogs allowed
Crescent Bay's low tide reveals sandy stretches and a small forested sea stack.

The beach along Crescent Bay at Salt Creek is the first beach I fell in love with on the Olympic Peninsula. We RV camp at Salt Creek and have spent many afternoons walking the coast and marveling at the bay’s massive sea stack.

It’s glorious here. The beach is framed by towering sea cliffs topped with evergreen trees, and Salt Creek winds through the sand, spilling into Crescent Bay.

This is a great place to fly a kite or windsurf. I once nervously watched a windsurfer skillfully navigate around the sea stack; indeed, there always seems to be plenty of action on this beach! 

You can walk to the sea stack at low tide and explore around it. It’s a protected marine life sanctuary and home to birds and other wildlife, so tread lightly.

Crescent Bay is a stop on the Whale Trail, and some campers have seen whales from the bay.

3. East Beach

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Vault toilet & picnic tables available
  • No hiking required
  • Dogs allowed
Sunset views from East Beach and golden rays over the mountain peak at Lake Crescent.

East Beach on Lake Crescent is the only lake beach on this list. It’s spectacular, especially at sunset.

East Beach was my last stop before heading to Emerald Valley Inn for the night on a winter weekend. The weather called for snow and showers, but I got lucky and got a dramatic dusk sky with no rain. 

Finish your Lake Crescent tour here for incredible sunset views. 

It’s worth noting that there isn’t a whole lot of beach! And it’s not sandy. But there’s a grassy area to the right of the beach area with picnic tables. 

When I was here in late winter, there was only one other group, but this place gets busy in summer because it’s a fantastic place to swim. 

Kayakers can quickly launch into the lake from the shore year-round. 

TIP: There’s room for roughly 15 – 20 cars. If you can’t find a parking spot here, head to La Poel, another day-use area on Lake Crescent, or the beach along the Moments in Time Trail. Other popular alternatives include the beaches at Lake Crescent Lodge, Log Cabin Resort, and Fairholme Campground.

4. Ediz Hook

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Restrooms & picnic tables available
  • No hiking required
  • Dogs allowed
View from one of the best beaches in Port Angeles, Ediz Hook, with a ship in the harbor and snowy Olympic Mountains in the background.

Visiting Ediz Hook is one of the best things to do in Port Angeles. It’s a short drive from downtown, or you can bike to it along the Port Angeles Waterfront Trail (referred to as the Olympic Discovery Trail on Google Maps). 

From the Ediz Hook shoreline, I saw the most incredible view of Port Angeles set against the Olympic Mountains under a dramatic winter sky. No place offers better views of the city!

When you turn around, you’ll see expansive views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island in the distance. 

NOTE: Sail & Paddle Park is great for launching kayaks into the harbor. Further down the road, Harborview Park has a large grassy area with picnic tables and benches.

Near Harborview Park, I was delighted to see different species of seabirds gathered and resting right on the gravel road. This is an excellent place for bird watching.

5. Elwha Beach

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Porta potty available
  • Easy .7-mile hike
  • Dogs allowed
Serene Elwha Beach landscape with driftwood and a clear blue sky.

Elhwa Beach is the wildest of all the beaches on this list. Park in a narrow lot near the Mouth of the Elwha Beach Trailhead. From the parking lot, it’s a short walk on a gravel path that winds on the sandy beach. 

I walked along the bank to the right for better views of the estuary. There was no clear trail in this direction, and I was careful not to erode the river banks.

The estuary is beautifully littered with downed trees that made their way here with the river flow.

Heading back to the left, I walked along the beach’s grassy banks, observing the river flowing into Freshwater Bay and mountain views. Sandy trails amidst driftwood make for easy beach walking.

Elwha Beach feels like a beach that locals frequent. I saw kids playing, happy dogs, and surfers retreating from the waves. 

6. Freshwater Bay County Park

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Boat launch, porta potty & picnic table available
  • No hiking required
  • Dogs allowed
Children with buckets walking on Freshwater Bay's shoreline at low tide.

The beach at Freshwater Bay County Park is a hidden gem. Pass the first parking lot and seasonal picnic area to get here.

Before arriving at Freshwater Bay, I visited Crescent Bay, which was teeming with people on the first warm and sunny Saturday in March. 

But I saw only a few groups on this beach, including one solo sea kayaker launching into the water.

Perhaps a reason for this is that it was mostly shaded at this time of day, late afternoon. And although there’s a lot of sand here—I saw a group building a sand castle in the distance—there are more rocks on the beach than at Crescent Bay.

With all that said, it’s still a gorgeous stretch of beach, prime for walking, beach combing, and seeing sea anemones tucked along the edges of rocks. 

Freshwater Bay is another stop on the Whale Trail, so it’s possible to see Gray whales and orcas here. 

TIP: You don’t have to walk far to see sea anemones, which are plentiful and close to the boat launch.  

7. Hollywood Beach

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Restrooms available
  • No hiking required
  • Dogs allowed
People relaxing on Hollywood Beach with a view of the City Pier and clear skies.
Look closely to see Mount Baker in the distance.

Hollywood Beach is located behind the Red Lion Hotel in downtown Port Angeles, next to the City Pier. I can’t imagine a prettier beach in a city setting! It’s sandy and has plenty of driftwood to sit on or lean against.

I was amazed at the view of Mount Baker from this beach, visible on clear days. Seeing the mountain standing proudly across the water excited me for my upcoming guided climb of Mount Baker.

Quick and easy access to this beach is the top reason to book the Red Lion Hotel over other Port Angeles hotels. On a previous trip, I enjoyed watching the sunset here before returning to my hotel room.

TIP: Stop at Hollywood Beach after visiting the Fiero Marine Life Center or grabbing ice cream from Welly’s in the Port Angeles Wharf, just a short walk away.

8. Murdock Beach

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Vault toilet & picnic table available
  • Short walk from parking lot
  • Dogs allowed

Murdock Beach is best explored at low tide because you’ll have so much more beach to explore. 

It’s not sandy but worth visiting if you’re a rock hound. Its coastline is filled with million-year-old fossils and minerals, earning the beach the nickname ‘Fossil Beach.’

Murdock Beach is a great place to view wildlife. Sea lions, ospreys, and herons have all been spotted here.

TIP: I recommend visiting this beach as a stop along Highway 112 on your way to Neah Bay, not as a destination from Port Angeles. Many beaches on this list are nicer and closer to the city.  

9. Tongue Point / Salt Creek

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • Restrooms available
  • Short walk up and down steps required
  • Dogs allowed
Visitors tide-pooling and exploring the rocky shoreline at Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary.

Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary is east of Crescent Bay, just a few minutes walk, but its ecosystem and geology are wildly different and distinctive. 

Instead of sand, you’ll walk over rock and barnacles. This terrain requires some steadying, so I don’t recommend this coastline to those who struggle to stay balanced.

Tide-pooling at Tongue Point rewards patience and appreciation for smaller sea life. There was a time when we’d see a lot of sea stars here, but I haven’t on recent trips. 

On my last trip, I saw barnacles, mussels, sea anemones, and lots of seaweed and algae. 

Always pay attention to the tide, especially if you travel to the end of Tongue Point. As the tide comes in, areas you walk on to return to the steps become covered by water. At high tide, Tongue Point is entirely underwater.

TIP: Minimal day-use parking is available in the campground near both steps. I saw roughly four spots in each parking area. More parking is available in other parts of the campground, but getting to Tongue Point will require walking. 

10. Valley Creek Estuary Park

  • Getting Here: Google Maps link
  • No restrooms available
  • No hiking required
  • Dogs allowed
Valley Creek Estuary Park features one of Port Angeles beaches at low tide on a blue-sky day.
The 360-degree view from the platform by the wind turbines is remarkable.

The beach at Valley Creek Estuary Park is another hidden gem, literally and figuratively. 

I watched a couple walk along the estuary as they made their way up the bank and onto the park’s concrete walkways. That’s how I learned about the short path to the beach to the right of the white flagpoles. It’s unmarked and easy to miss because it blends in with the landscape.

The beach is small and likely only accessible as the tide recedes. But it’s another great place for birders. I watched a bird bathing in the water, and others were gathered in a group at the shoreline where freshwater flows into saltwater.

TIP: Two small beaches for launching sea kayaks are to the right of the viewing tower and wind turbines.

Beaches Near Port Angeles

View from one of the best beaches near Port Angeles, Shipwreck Point, with mountains in the distance across the Strait of Juan De Fuca.
Shipwreck Point Beach

The Olympic Peninsula beaches listed below are lesser known but also stunning and worth visiting.

  • Pillar Point Recreation Area (Highway 112)
  • Clallam Bay County Park (Highway 112)
  • Shipwreck Point (Highway 112)
  • Dungeness Spit (Sequim)***highly recommended
  • Cline Spit County Park (Sequim)
  • Fort Worden (Port Townsend)***highly recommended
  • North Beach County Park (Port Townsend)
  • Hobuck Beach (Neah Bay)***highly recommended

Buy your Discover Pass online before your road trip for access to Washington State Parks, recreation sites, wildlife areas, and more. 

You’ll need a Makah Recreation Permit for Neah Bay beaches, including Shi Shi Beach on the list below.

One of the best beaches near Port Angeles, Shi Shi Beach features rock formations and sea stacks that can be explored at low tide.
Point of Arches at Shi Shi Beach

The Olympic National Park beaches listed below are breathtakingly beautiful and offer amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. 

  • Shi Shi Beach***highly recommended, but only if you have time for the beach hike to Point of Arches at low tide.
  • Rialto Beach***highly recommended, especially if you have time for the beach hike to Hole in the Wall, where you can explore tide pools at low tide.
  • Second Beach***highly recommended, especially at low tide when tide-pooling is excellent.
  • Third Beach
  • Ruby Beach
  • Kalaloch Beach 4***highly recommended for tide-pooling at low tide. 
  • Kalaloch Beach 1

All park visitors must have an entrance pass, which costs $30.00 for one private vehicle and is valid for seven consecutive days. For only $25.00 more, you can purchase an Olympic National Park Annual Pass, good for one year. 

FAQs: Port Angeles Beaches

Woman walking on one of the sandiest beaches in Port Angeles, Hollywood Beach, next to the City Pier.
Me at Hollywood Beach

Does Port Angeles have beaches?

Yes! Crescent Bay, Ediz Hook, and Elwha Beach are the best in Port Angeles. These sandy beaches showcase the rugged and wild landscape of the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Some beaches are lined with forested cliffs, while others feature estuaries where freshwater flows into saltwater.

Can you swim in Port Angeles?

East Beach on Lake Crescent is a popular place to swim in summer. Freshwater Bay and Crescent Bay are more protected than other beaches, but no lifeguards are available, and strong currents are always a risk.  

How far is Port Angeles from the beach?

Port Angeles is a coastline city with many beaches, including Hollywood Beach, located downtown next to the Port Angeles City Pier. It’s an hour and twenty minutes from Rialto Beach and La Push beaches, including my favorite, Second Beach. It’s an hour and forty minutes from Ruby Beach.

Beaches in Port Angeles Wrap-Up

These ten beautiful beaches capture all that’s unique about the Olympic Peninsula, a place beloved by locals and tourists for its wild coastlines, home to bald eagles, sea otters, and other wildlife.

I always look forward to returning to these shorelines for tide-pooling, kayaking, and simply soaking in incredible panoramic views.