Wondering where are the best places to visit on the Washington Coast? Look no further as we are providing all the options! Keep scrolling to check out some amazing places on the Washington Coast worth a stop!
This list of the best places to visit on the Washington Coast was co-written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Guest Post by John & Jenny of Traveling In Focus
Washington offers a lot of breathtaking landscapes and picturesque cities, and the coast is no exception.
With its rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and towering forests, the Washington Coast is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. And if you are looking for a bustling city or quiet town, there are plenty of those too.
We will explore some of the incredible places on the coast – from nature escapes to urban hubs – so get ready for a journey through one of America’s most stunning states!
Places To Visit On Washington Coast: Islands
Let’s start with the islands off the coast.
1. San Juan Island
San Juan Island has plenty to offer visitors looking for a nature escape. Located in the Salish Sea, this beautiful island offers incredible views of the Olympic Mountains.
The easiest way to access the island is the ferry from Anacortes. You can also take a small seaplane if you wish. But the ferry runs frequently and is the most popular way to get here.
Once on the island, enjoy its wealth of nature activities or learn about the island’s history.
Things to do in San Juan Island
Don’t miss visiting the San Juan Island National Historical Park. You can see both the British and American Camps, but since you are in the US, why not hit up the American Camp?
The American Camp is located on the southern edge of the island. This was the base of operations for the US military, who were posted on the island during the Pig War of 1859.
You can tour the officers’ quarters, visit the Cattle Point Lighthouse, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding prairie.
Be on the lookout as you wander the grasslands around the camp for the Island Marble Butterfly. The island has the only viable population of this insect in the world.
Where to Stay on San Juan Island
2. Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island is known for its impressive natural scenery, charming small-town atmosphere, and relaxed island lifestyle.
Located in Puget Sound, this enchanting island has magnificent views of the Seattle skyline and mountains, and is just a short ferry ride away from the city.
While on the island, you can explore miles of trails that lead through forests, meadows, and wetlands. Or take a stroll along the waterfront and watch the ferry boats coming and going.
Things to do on Bainbridge Island
Head to Winslow, the largest town on the island. There is plenty to do, from restaurants to shops, to keep you busy. If you can swing your schedule to visit the island on Saturday for the market, you absolutely should. You won’t regret it.
The Bainbridge Island Farmers Market is a weekly event (between April and November). It takes place in the heart of Winslow and features a variety of goods from local farmers, artisans, and food vendors.
You can sample delicious and locally-sourced food, browse handmade crafts, and enjoy live music and other entertainment.
The Bainbridge Island Farmers Market is a great way to experience Winslow and the island’s local culture and community.
Where to Stay on Bainbridge Island
3. Orcas Island
Orcas Island is characterized by its rolling bluffs and pristine waterways and is a great place to visit for those who want to play on the water.
With its jagged coastline and random islets to explore, Orcas Island is a kayaker’s paradise. While paddling, search the water for seals and orcas that can often be found visiting the area.
But if you aren’t an aquaphilia (lover of water sports), there is still plenty to keep you busy on the island itself. Head off to see the scenic views of the coast or visit one of the orchards or wineries.
Things to do on Orcas Island
Visit Moran State Park to indulge in some outdoor adventures. The island’s largest state park offers lots of natural beauty where you can escape the tourist crowds.
More than 30 miles of hiking trails, several picturesque lakes, and even waterfalls may be found in the park. And Mount Constitution, the highest point in the park, offers a breathtaking view from the top.
Moran State Park is the ideal spot to take in the beauty of Orcas Island, whether you’re an experienced hiker or just searching for a quiet place to unwind.
Where to Stay on Orcas Island
4. Whidbey Island
Whidbey Island is a picturesque island located just off the mainland.
This beautiful island offers fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains and plenty of activities to enjoy during a visit.
Head out into nature and hit up Fort Ebey State Park. Or head down to the shoreline to wander the island’s waterfront and remarkable beaches. You could also explore the quaint shops in its charming small towns that dot the island.
Things to do on Whidbey Island
Visit the historic town of Coupeville. This quaint town is one of the oldest communities on Whidbey Island. It is known for its well-preserved Victorian homes and historic buildings.
Explore the town on foot, taking in the sights and sounds of the local shops, restaurants, and museums.
While in Coupeville, stop by the Island County Historical Museum. The museum showcases the history of Whidbey Island and the surrounding area through various exhibits and interactive displays.
If these exhibits are on display during your visit, check out the “Pioneer Families” to learn about the settlers of the island and the “Dale Conklin Prehistory Exhibit,” which features remains from a mammoth.
Where to Stay on Whidbey Island
Best Places To Visit On Washington Coast: Cities
There are a handful of incredible cities along the coast to check out, from huge bustling metropolises to relaxing beach towns.
Seattle is the largest city in Washington and is famous for its vibrant culture, amazing attractions, and incredible natural surroundings.
While some locals spend their weekends in the nearby mountains and forests to get away from the hustle, the city itself is an incredible place to visit. Especially if you have never been before.
It is home to several iconic landmarks, including the Space Needle, Fremont Troll, and the original Starbucks store. On a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier rising above the city from incredible photography spots like Kerry Park.
Things to do in Seattle
While in Seattle, make sure to visit Pike Place Market.
It is a renowned Seattle institution and one of the nation’s oldest continuously running farmers’ markets. The seaside market is crammed with stalls selling seafood, flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, and various goods.
You can taste regional cuisine, enjoy street entertainment, and peruse specialized stores. And, of course, you can’t miss the famous Gum Wall and Rachel the Pig.
Where to Stay in Seattle
Sequim is known for its mild Mediterranean-like climate and magnificent location, which includes miles of shoreline along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Because of low precipitation and the mild weather, Sequim is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, bikers, kayakers, and beach-goers.
There are plenty of local attractions to keep you busy on a visit, such as the John Wayne Marina, Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge, and Olympic Game Farm.
You can also take advantage of downtown Sequim’s nearby shops and restaurants.
Things to do in Sequim
Explore the lavender fields.
Sequim is famous for its thriving lavender industry. It is home to several lavender farms, many of which are open to the public for tours.
The lavender fields are in full bloom during the summer months. They are a breathtaking sight, with their rolling hills covered in a sea of purple.
Take a tour of the fields, sample lavender-infused products, and even pick your own bouquet of flowers.
Where to Stay in Sequim
7. Long Beach
Long Beach is a small town located on the Long Beach Peninsula.
The town of Long Beach boasts miles of sandy shores with plenty of space to explore, relax, and enjoy the ocean views, making it a popular place for a summer holiday.
It also has a vibrant downtown area where you can visit the World Kite Museum and partake in summer treats from the local shops.
Things to do in Long Beach
Of course, when visiting Long Beach, the must-do activity is to explore the Long Beach Peninsula. It is touted as the longest beach in the state of Washington and one of the longest in the world.
The beach is a popular spot for beachcombing, kite flying, surfing, beach volleyball, and other outdoor activities.
Where to Stay in Long Beach
8. Port Angeles
Port Angeles is the place to go if you want to experience exceptional beauty combined with a rich history.
It is surrounded by the beautiful Olympic National Park, making it the perfect home base if you want to spend some time inside the park. Nature lovers, in particular, will love it here. The area has so much to offer, including hiking and visiting the nearby beaches.
There are also breathtaking views of the mountains from anywhere in town.
Things to do in Port Angeles
The Feiro Marine Life Center is worth a visit.
This unique attraction is a hands-on marine education center that allows you to learn about the local marine environment and its species.
The center offers a range of interactive displays and exhibits, such as touch tanks stocked with nearby marine life, aquariums, and educational activities.
Where to Stay in Port Angeles
Near the Canadian border sits the college town of Bellingham.
When you first visit the downtown area, it might feel as if you just stepped back in time. The Victorian homes are epic and would be a reason to visit even without any other incentives.
However, to entice you further, the city is also famous for its huge craft beer scene.
There are more than 20 craft breweries in and around Bellingham. So if you love exploring breweries, this city needs to be on your list pronto.
If drinking doesn’t interest you, there are also plenty of places to relax and enjoy a meal with friends, from inviting cafes to waterfront restaurants overlooking the bay.
Things to do in Bellingham
Take the picturesque byway known as Chuckanut Drive.
This spectacular 24-mile trip, which is referred to as Washington’s first scenic byway, follows the shoreline close to the Chuckanut Mountains. It provides amazing views of the San Juan Islands, forests, and the Pacific Ocean.
Take in the breathtaking views by stopping at numerous viewpoints along the way, or hike one of the many nearby trails to stretch your legs.
Where to Stay in Bellingham
Places To Visit On Washington Coast: Nature Areas
Last but certainly not least we have some majestic natural areas that just have to be included. These areas go above and beyond expectations.
10. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is one of the most spectacular wonders in Washington.
The park is known for its diverse landscapes, which include rainforests, rocky beaches, and alpine-covered mountains.
With so many trails, scenic drives, and wildlife to see, you could spend weeks here and never get bored.
One of the best experiences we had in Washington was here. It was a close encounter of the elk kind.
Things to do in Olympic National Park
When visiting Olympic National Park, don’t miss exploring its beautiful coastline. The park has over 70 miles of rugged and wild coastline, much of which is only accessible by hiking trails.
These outstanding beaches are full of unique sights like sea stacks rising from the surf and tidepools teeming with life. And if you are lucky, you might find whales or sea lions splashing out in the water.
Rialto Beach is especially popular due to its easy access off Highway 101. But many of the more secluded beaches will provide peace and solitude away from the crowds if that is more your speed.
Where to Stay in Olympic National Park
11. Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park is gorgeous, with miles of coastline and incredible lakes.
There is a reason it is the most visited state park in Washington. With stunning views of the surrounding islands, rugged cliffs, old-growth forests, and more, you will be in awe of your surroundings while in the park.
The park is partly located on Whidbey Island. The other part of the park is on Fidalgo Island, and Deception Pass Bridge connects them.
Things to do in Deception Pass
One thing you should do while visiting Deception Pass State Park is to walk across Deception Pass Bridge.
Deception Pass Bridge is a magnificent steel truss bridge that connects the two islands together and spans the narrow Deception Pass channel.
The bridge offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the park’s glorious coastline.
You can certainly drive across the bridge if you wish. But walking gives you an extra thrill as you can stop and look down the approximate 180 feet to the water below.
Where to Stay Near Deception Pass
12. Lime Kiln Point State Park
Lime Kiln Point State Park is situated at the westernmost part of San Juan Island.
On a visit, highlights include taking a scenic hike around the rocky shoreline and visiting the famous lighthouse.
Built in 1919, the Lime Kiln Lighthouse is the main attraction for visitors. It stands 55 feet tall. It may not be as iconic as the Tybee Island lighthouse in Georgia, but with this picturesque setting, it is sure to still impress.
You will need to take a guided tour to see inside the lighthouse. You will get to explore its historic tower and admire the sweeping views from the top.
Things to do in Lime Kiln Point State Park
While in the park, spend some time looking for passing orcas, as this is one of the best places in the world to see them from shore.
Orcas, also known as killer whales, are often seen in the surrounding waters from May to October. The park offers a rare chance to see these gorgeous species in their natural environment without needing to hop on a boat tour.
During summer, the lighthouse shares the latest sightings and is also a great vantage point. But you can watch them from any of the park’s scenic overlooks.
Of course, if you want to get out on the water for a closer look, you certainly can as there are boat excursions to do so.
Where to Stay Near Lime Kiln Point State Park
13. Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is an imposing headland located on the Olympic Peninsula. It is the northwestern-most point of the contiguous US and is known for its rugged beauty and abundant wildlife.
It offers spectacular views of the ocean, a rocky shoreline, and lush vegetation. The area is also home to various wildlife, including bald eagles, sea lions, otters, and sea birds.
Because the headland is on the Makah Reservation, you will need a permit to visit. While getting your permit, stop by the Makah Cultural and Research Center to learn about the indigenous people that call this region home.
Things to do in Cape Flattery
You will want to hike the 1.5-mile roundtrip trail that leads to Cape Flattery’s lookout and back.
The trail leads you to views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding cliffs at the end point. The hike is considered easy, but even if it was difficult, we would still push you to go as the view is worth any amount of effort.
Along the way, you are rewarded with amazing views of the coast and lighthouse as you walk through the often foggy forest.
The trail ends at the awe-inspiring overlook. Here you can take in the panoramic views and enjoy the peaceful sound of the surf below.
Where to Stay Near Cape Flattery
Conclusion – Incredible Places To Visit On The Washington Coast
Washington’s coast is an incredible place to visit with its stunning views, exciting wildlife, and diverse cultural heritage.
From the tide pools of Olympic National Park to the rugged shores of Cape Flattery and the extended beach of Long Beach Peninsula, there are plenty of incredible places to explore.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet nature walk or a bustling city, these fantastic places to visit on the Washington Coast are sure to meet your needs.
Take advantage of these unbelievable places and plan your trip today!