Camping so close to the beach you'll be able to hear the rumble of high tide waves in the winter. Car access to miles of hard-packed sand where visitors come year after year for beach fires, clam digging, bonfires and building their sand dollar collections.
Ocean City State Park is just minutes north of the touristy beach town of Ocean Shores, WA. Considering this is the closest access to coastal beaches for the four million residents of the Seattle-Tacoma area it's shocking this isn't a busier spot. But the beach is really that vast. There's enough open sand that even when thousands of shovel-wielding clam diggers line up in the spring to fill their buckets, it doesn't feel crowded.
The state park is only 170 acres, and most of that is campsites, so definitely come here expecting to spend your time on the beach where there is room to jog, to drive, to fly kites, and to run the dogs. Ocean City SP is open year round, and the handful of campers who brave the winter rains here are rewarded with exciting storms, empty beaches, and the best beach combing of the year.
Nearby Ocean Shores is buzzing with tourists in the summer. It's the kind of place where families ride around in pedal carts, visit candy shops and kite stores and test each restaurant's clam chowder recipe. The main roads in town lead directly onto the beach, and on a summer weekend there will be hundreds of cars parked right on the sand.
So load your lawn chairs and every beach toy you own into the Jeep, bungee some firewood on the roof, and head to Ocean City State Park for an epic beach vacation. Just remember to rinse the undercarriage when you're done, or you might bring home some epic rust from that salt air.
RV Rentals in Ocean City State Park
Transportation in Ocean City State Park
Similar to other stretches of HWY-101, the stops and towns are terrific and unique, but the cost is a slow, rough, and stressful drive. Big rigs and large trailers are advised to arrive direct from I-5 and Olympia / Centralia. Similarly, if you decide to explore north to the Olympic Peninsula, consider a smaller, nimble vehicle. There's heavy logging truck traffic in every direction since the mills reopened in Aberdeen.
Campgrounds and parking in Ocean City State Park
Campsites in Ocean City State Park
Ocean City State Park Campground
There are 149 tent sites and 29 full hook-up RV sites. There is a central dump station, flush toilets, hot showers, picnic tables and fire rings at all sites. Camping loops 3 and 4 are only 1000 ft away from the beach, and this is definitely the main attraction to this park. It can get packed on sunny July and August weekends, but most visitors are surprised at how quiet the campground is.
Seasonal activities in Ocean City State Park
It's only one and a half miles to Ocean Shores south or endless miles of beach to the north. The beach is wide and flat, and creates perfect conditions for runners. The sunrises are just as colorful as the sunsets in the summer, but the extra well-packed sand after winter rains are a favorite of those who frequent the park. Watch out for broken sand dollars and small jelly fish at low tide if you decide to run barefoot. Always respect ocean and the weather, both are likely to change in an instant.
Since there are several easy access points for vehicles, even passenger cars are often out on the sand. You'll be able to bring all of your beach toys, the cooler, the pets, and a load of firewood, right where you want spend the afternoon (and evening). This is one of the few places which still allow beach fires, and in the evening the distinct glow of campfires punctuate the darkness for miles. Check with the fire dept for burn bans.
Mopeds on the Beach
Electric Beach Bike Rentals has everything you could imagine to get your whole family on wheels, and onto the beach. From electric powered fat-tire bikes, to low-profile on and off road BERG karts, they will get you rolling. They even have pet trailers and free safety gear. These specially designed sand vehicles tear across the beach. Low rental prices are hourly with special deals for groups and longer adventures. Their shop is in downtown Ocean Shores and starts renting in March.
With about 100 inches a year of rainfall to keep things thriving and damp underfoot, the Washington coast is alive with fungi. There are large mushroom festivals in Longbeach and Quinault each year. The beach dunes and tangled coastal woods are prime habitat for hundreds of species spring and fall, ranging from mysterious to delicious. The local book stores have piles of field guides. Stick to photos until you are confident about identification, many kinds are poisonous.
Winter Storm Watching - North Jetty
Once you're bundled up underneath a good waterproof jacket and boots you'll be able to comfortably explore anywhere your curiosity takes you. Winter high tides come all the way up to the dunes and shift around giant logs on the beach. Find some high ground and hang out for the action. Locals recommend the North Jetty south of Ocean Shores for waves that explode over the rocks in the winter. Wet, windy, and cold adventure - the perfect excuse for hot coffee and clam chowder in town later.
The Razor Clam digging is so good at the beaches by Ocean City State Park that thousands of people are seen out at low tide, racing to dig them out of the sand before they escape. Clam digging is fun, exciting, and a great family activity. Many shops in nearby Ocean Shores sell clam shovels, tubes, and catch bags. Regulations and dig dates for the Copalis Beach area are updated on the WDFW website.