We camped on the beach in Olympic National Park, and it was amazing (and a lot of work)! Watch one of our treks down to the beach here!
This was the view from our “front porch” for a couple of days.
The Drive Up and The Beach
Let’s talk about our ride up to Second Beach and the actual beach for a second, cool? Cool.
- It’s kind of “out there.” It took us almost 6 hours to get to the trailhead from Portland, but we stopped for lunch on our way in Hoquiam, WA. Side-note: if you’re headed through Hoquiam, please stop off at Al’s Hum-Dinger on Lincoln Street. It was REALLY yummy.
- We stopped off at Quinault Ranger Station to grab our permit and bear canister. You MUST have a bear canister if you plan on camping on the beach–to protect against the raccoons. When we pulled into Quinault we made a mental note to come back and stay there at some point. It’s gorgeous.
- You’ll likely go through Forks, WA, which is apparently where some of Twilight was filmed? They made a super big deal about it. So if you’re into the vampires, factor in a little more time and take a tour or just explore. You should know that we had zero cell service rolling through on Sunday morning, and the stoplight was off. That’s right “THE” stoplight. You read it correctly.
- There are a couple of parking lots at the trailhead. If you don’t mind walking a little extra, I’d suggest parking in the overflow lot. It is much easier to get in and out of with your vehicle. BUT it is farther away from the trailhead, which leads me to my next talking point.
- Be prepared to “backpack-ish” in. The beach itself is a little less than a mile from the trailhead, and there are stairs. The hike isn’t too bad, if you aren’t lugging around gear, but remember that what you take down must come back up (as the trashcans are at the trailhead) AND you’ll be met with a TON of driftwood once you reach the beach. Be ready to traverse over those large logs.
- There’s no running water. If you’re used to legit backpacking then this won’t phase you. If you’re more of a campground camper, think about what “no running water” means and make a decision that fits your needs.
- The mornings were damp. The morning we left, everything was pretty wet. Once we got home, we unloaded and rinsed off/let all our stuff dry out completely before packing away until our next excursion.
But it was all worth the view and hearing the waves crash so close as you drift to sleep. We chose a site up against the vegetation. While we may have made a couple of new snake “friends,” overall we felt much safer since we happened to be there during the highest tides of the month. Speaking of tides, make sure you understand tide tables at least moderately.
We also ate some REALLY delicious “hobo-style” dinners over a beach campfire. That’s essentially when you throw all of the ingredients into some foil and hope to the campfire gods that it all works out. Shall we talk turkey? Seriously, turkey was involved.
The key to this trip was food prep (I’m sorry I’m the absolute worst and took no pictures). Since we had to fit at least one meal in our bear can at a time, I chopped up everything before we left, folded it all up in foil, and put them into labelled baggies.
On Friday night, we made a tried and true favorite we make when we camp: Philly Cheesesteak Foil Packs. I make this exactly how the recipe states, but just cut it in half, and it usually takes a little longer to cook than the recipe indicates. It easily feeds both of us. For a little something extra, I also had some sliced garlic bread (directly from my local grocery store’s bakery) sliced and wrapped in foil too. Note: Ben loves putting an extra slice of provolone in his pack.
On Saturday night, we tried something new, and it turned out great: Italian-Style Hobo Bundles! I couldn’t make these exactly to the recipe, because I didn’t want to have to chop anything on site, which meant I didn’t have the potatoes. I also didn’t take any cornstarch or extra cheese/herbs. I might add in a little extra seasoning when I make them again, but overall they turned out great!
The Drive Back and Clean-Up
We left fairly early on Sunday, knowing we’d have a ton of stuff to clean when we got home. Also, we were exhausted and ready for some of the comforts of home (read: showers). The beach and the trail up to the car were quiet as we packed out in a single trip. Once we reached our vehicle, we readjusted some of our equipment and headed out.
By the time we reached Aberdeen, our stomachs were growling! We stopped in at Billy’s Bar and Grill on Heron Street for one of the best breakfast’s of my life. Seriously.
We got home just before 1pm and set to work unpacking and getting everything reset. We washed off the tarp that our tent sits on, set up the tent, vacuumed it out (so. much. sand.), then sprayed it down with some Simple Green and rinsed it off (to help remove any salt accumulations), rinsed out our water jug, cleaned the cooler, and washed all of the dishes to make sure they were in good clean order for our next adventure.
And then came the best shower ever. We may still smell a little like campfire smoke every now and again, but that sensory memory isn’t half bad.
Happy Hiking and Camping!