Located right next to the quiet town of Pacific Beach, Washington, the 17-acre Pacific Beach State Park is nestled between nearly a half-mile of sandy shoreline overlooking the incredible Pacific Ocean and the tranquil waters of Joe Creek. The small park can feel like a getaway, but it also offers lots of amenities only a few minutes away from your campsite.
Pacific Beach and its surroundings were once the ancestral lands of the Quinault Indian Tribe, who lived off of the rich coastal landscape. Today, Pacific Beach State Park resides along a gorgeous stretch of sand that is perfect for beachgoers and beach enthusiasts. Activities at Pacific Beach State Park are geared toward watersports, sunbathing, briding, and ocean viewing. Windsurfing, kiteboarding, and sea kayaking are excellent in the park's blustery waters. If you'd rather stay on land, you can go beachcombing or watch for marine life, including whales.
The weather at Pacific Beach State Park is most pleasant in the summer months, with temperatures from the 60s to high 70s with little rain. Winter months usually bring several feet of rainfall along with temperatures in 40s and 50s.
If you're traveling with an RV or trailer, Pacific Beach State Park has you covered. The park sports a lovely seaside campground with over 40 sites that are suitable for RV and trailer camping. Electric hookups, freshwater spigots, and a sanitary dump station are all available too. The park also boasts two yurts available to overnight guests.
Looking to do more along the coast? Pacific Beach is also conveniently located near several other great parks. Right along the same stretch of coast are Moclips State Park and Griffiths-Priday State Park, and, just a bit to the north, you'll find Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest.
Pacific Beach State Park is located right off of WA-109, which snakes along a small section of Washington's central coastline. There are a few relatively sharp turns on this road, but it's a major, paved route, so drivers don't need to expect much trouble. The 109 itself branches off of the famed 101, which stretches from Seattle to San Diego.
Roads within the park are also paved, but they're narrower. You should obey all posted speed limits within the campground and be aware of bicyclists, pedestrians, and children playing in the road. You can also drive along the uppermost portion of the beachfront from October through March, where the speed limit is 25 mph. Use caution and watch out for people picnicking as well as relaxing on the beach area. All-terrain vehicles are prohibited on the beach or dune areas at all times within the park boundaries.
As far as weather hazards go, wind and rain are the big ones, especially during winter months. Take extra care if you're driving a high profile vehicle, and be sure to check local weather forecasts before traveling.
All camping spots at Pacific Beach are back-in, but you should have no trouble maneuvering as long as you're within your site's length limits. Pacific Beach is a very small park, so once you're set up at the campground, you should be within walking distance of everything you need, including campground amenities and the beach. The maximum RV and trailer length limit in the campground is 60 feet.
The campground at Pacific Beach State Park consists of one irregular loop that boasts 66 campsites, 42 of which are suitable for RVs and trailers (the rest are for tent-only camping). RV sites offer 30-amp electric service, and while there are no water or sewage hookups, the park does have a freshwater filling station and a dump station. Maximum site length is 60 feet, though many sites are smaller. Each campsite offers a paved parking pad which will not require leveling. Every site also has a picnic table.
Twenty-six of Pacific Beach's campsites are right on the water, while the rest are a bit farther inland. Because there's little in the way of dunes or tall vegetation, most of the campground can and does experience the full brunt of the weather coming off the ocean. Be prepared for wind and rain, and if the days are sunny, don't expect much natural shade.
Fires are not allowed within the campground, but you can make one on the beach in the evening as long as the campfire is 100 feet from any type of vegetation. There are two restrooms throughout the campground that offer flush toilets, drinking water and showers. Quiet hours run from 10:00 PM to 6:30 AM. Generators may be used from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM. Pets are welcome but must be restrained at all times by a six-foot leash.
Reservations for campsites can be made online. Bookings are taken up to one year in advance. If you're planning on coming through during peak season, a reservation is highly advised!
Unfilled campsites can be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're traveling with a large rig, or during a busy time (spring through fall or on weekends), you should certainly try to reserve if you can!
Pacific Beach also sports two cozy seaside yurts. These round, tent-like structures are just a stone's throw from the ocean. They offer great shelter from wind and rain. Each has a few beds, plus electricity and a heater (the park recommends bringing additional blankets or sweaters for cool nights, though).
Enjoy the sound of the crashing surf as you go to bed at night, and wake up to the lively calls of gulls in the morning. Both yurts are ADA-accessible and sport picnic tables too. Pacific Beach's yurts can be booked online up to one year in advance.
Opportunities for watersports are plentiful at Pacific Beach State Park, where visitors can go sea kayaking, swimming, and windsurfing along a beautiful stretch of Pacific shoreline.
If you're kayaking, it'll take some paddling power to get past the rip currents, but you'll reach calmer waters offshore. Swimming is best along the northern portion of the beach area, where the riptides are not as strong. Caution is still advised, though.
Summer months bring plenty of wind to the area, so the swells are perfect for speed. It's no surprise that the park is a windsurfing hot spot.
Beachcombing is another popular activity among visitors to the park. Pacific Beach boasts about a half-mile of fine sand along the coast, and combers can expect to find interesting shaped driftwood, seashells, and razor clams. While you're out pacing the beach, why not take a kite along? The windy conditions and uninterrupted shoreline make for great kite-flying.
If you're an avid angler, make sure you pack your fishing pole on your motorhome trip to Pacific Beach State Park. Surf fishing is extremely popular year-round, but it is best during the summer months when salmon, sea-run cutthroat trout, and steelhead head inland along the waters of Joe Creek. Other species you can expect to catch include several types of perch. Unfortunately, clamming is not allowed on the beachfront at the park (though there are other places along the coast you can give it a try).
You should check the Washington fishing rules and regulations before casting out into the ocean waters, and make sure you have the proper fishing license!
Pacific Beach State Park is quite small, so hiking options are limited. However, the Sheahan Trail will take you from the day-use parking lot over several windswept sand dunes until you reach the coastline. Bird lovers, especially, should take to the Sheahan trail, which offers the opportunity to see over 300 species of birds, including bald eagles.
While hiking on the trail, you can take a look at some of the park's interpretive signage, which covers the history, geology, and ecology of the dunes and coast. You'll also learn how to ID some of the area's common flora and fauna. Of course, even though there's a trail, strictly speaking, visitors can hike up and down the beach, taking in those majestic ocean views.
Though the weather may be dreary in winter, the whale watching opportunities are phenomenal. Gray whales start to migrate south from the colder waters of the north between the months of November through February. The watching continues through April, as the gray whales migrate north from their breeding grounds of Baja California in the Pacific Ocean.
An added bonus for whale watchers is that you can park your vehicle on the hard-packed sand on the uppermost portion of the beach area. Watching from inside your vehicle (or at least having the option to dive into your vehicle) is a great way to stay dry during the very rainy winter months.
Bring your board, wax, and a heavy wet suit, because surfing during the winter months at Pacific Beach State Park is excellent. The giant swells and waves make this a great place to surf, with both right and left breaks. Some of the best conditions can be found at the southern portion of the beach area near the mouth of Joe Creek. Paddling out might be a chore, and it is not recommended for beginners. However, more advanced surfers will relish the park's big waves, beautiful scenery, and minimal crowds.