Camping at La Push on the Olympic Coast

A few weekends ago Chelsea and I loaded up her 4Runner and went camping on the Olympic Coast. We went to the heart of vampire country at Second Beach just outside La Push, Washington. Since I couldn’t find much info about camping on the Olympic Coast online I thought I’d blog it up.

View Camping at La Push in a larger map

We got a late start on Friday so Chels grabbed us a room at Red Lion in Port Angeles. It was way over priced but nothing else was available online. In hindsight we should have just found a cheap sleazy motel along the road.

For breakfast we ate at the Cornerhouse just down the street from our hotel. The place was packed, and a bit of a trip; totally what you’d expect from a breakfast diner in a small town.

Driving into La Push you pass first by the trail heads of third beach and second beach before reaching the town of La Push. When we got there it was super foggy and overflowing with surfers. It looked like you could pitch a tent anywhere along the beach. However, we talked to the general store folks and they charge $15/night for a pass to park in their lot and get access to their showers and restrooms.

After checking that out we drove back up the road to the second beach trail head. The parking lot was packed but we got lucky with a spot.

We hiked the 15 minutes into the beach and found that while the parking lot was full the beach was not, and it was absolutely beautiful.

We decided we’d rather camp here so we went back to the car and hauled our stuff in. Which was a trick since we had planned on car camping and not hauling our stuff. So we were quite the site to see lugging everything without backpacks and rolling our cooler down the trail. But it was worth it. Especially with the clouds clearing before the sun set.

To camp at Second Beach the coast is $5/night and you need to store your food in a bear proof container. The ranger did not believe that our cooler was a bear proof container. As for room to setup, there was lots of room on the beach. We setup at the north end and from where we camped you could only see one other tent. There was lots of drift wood on the beach so we cooked over a campfire. I also wasn’t going to lug my very heavy Weber Q down the trail!

On the way back to Seattle on Sunday we had a short detour at Forks to get on the Internet to deal with some work stuff. Forks is definitely Twilight crazy. I think every other store was Bella this or Edward that.

Check out all my photos. Chels has better ones but they’re not online yet.

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11 Responses to Camping at La Push on the Olympic Coast

  1. Kelley Face says:

    Wow, where are all the rocks? That does not look like a Washington beach. How beautiful!

  2. Julia says:

    I’m going to be camping there in a few weeks. Getting information about camping there from proved to be rather daunting task. I had to call them a few times to get the right person to reserve a spot. They didn’t say anything about bear proof containers though, so I appreciate the tip! Great photos!

  3. Tyrell Mara says:

    Thanks for the great write up!

    I have been looking to take a day or two surf trip down to La Push and your experience really helps give a picture of the terrain and experience!


  4. Ed says:

    Thanks for the write up. I was planning to do beach camping and bring my camera to take photos of the rock formations on the water.
    Where to you pay the $5 fee? Can you setup camp practically anywhere along that stretch of the ocean?

  5. blogherchick says:

    Very good write up. Thanks for sharing your experiences, since there really isn’t enough info out there yet on camping at La Push. Yes, I have the same question as above. Where do you pay the $5 fee? Is there a place to find (rent or buy) the bear-proof containers there? Also, if you do have the time, could you elaborate on why you chose the “Second Beach” over the $15 place with the restrooms? Thanks!

  6. Matt Goyer says:

    Your best bet is to stop at the ranger station in Port Angeles. They’ll loan you a bear container and you can get your permit there. Second Beach is much nicer/scenic than the place with the restrooms (first beach?). Note that Second Beach does have an outhouse though. But the door didn’t work there two weekends ago :).

  7. Matt Goyer says:

    And yes, you can setup anywhere on the beach. I’d recommend above the high tide line!

  8. Cherri Schuetze says:

    I was wondering the location.?

  9. Kim says:

    Hi Matt! I’ve been searching high and low for a place to camp on the beach! Thanks for the review! Is there information that I can find from the Port Angeles ranger station. Looking to head out in the next week or so to do some coastal camping!

  10. Jeremy says:

    thanks alot for the blog
    I now have a better idea of what to expect when I head over there next weekend :)

  11. Troy says:

    There is not alot about these beaches besides great pictures and good stories on the net. I just did a three night at second beach. There is several sites on the wood line most are hard to find and unmarked. You may camp anywhere on the beach. There is two good water sources close to the trail head and one farther down the beach. It is a 5$ permit fee plus 2$ a night per person with an optional 3$ donation for a bear canister. A good tip is get a tide table from the ranger ( they are free ). The group camping next to us set up camp right above the daytime high tide line and after about 10:30 or 11 when the night high came in it was 2 feet higher and are neighbors were moving their campsite in the dark over logs as the tide had doused there fire and was at there tents. This was one of most amazing places I have camped. A huge sand beach and very kid friendly. My three year old hiked the whole 3/4 miles in and loved every minute. Mother nature at her finest.

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