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3 Best Beaches for Sunset

Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
209 posts
1 review
3 Best Beaches for Sunset

I am currently working on our upcoming itinerary for a 4 full days and 5 nights trip to Olympic National Park. We will be staying in the Forks area for our first 3 nights in late July, arriving into SeaTac on a 2:30pm flight. We love sunsets along the beach and want to be at one each of those 3 nights. We also are planning to spend significant time during the daytime to explore the beaches. From my initial research here, I see that Rialto is the one most recommended for a sunset, so I will include that as a must-do sunset. We are unsure if we will make it to the Quinault Rain Forest (we hope to), but are definitely planning to visit Kalaloch and Ruby Beach during our trip. I realize weather is unpredictable, and our plans need to be flexible.

If we drove straight from the airport that first night, we wouldn’t be in the area until 6-7pm or so, but we most likely will stop for a meal along the way (any suggestions on a good place for that, too?).

1) Which beach would you recommend to visit on that first night after a long day of flying/driving?

2) Where would you recommend for the other 2 beach sunsets, after Rialto?

THANKS!

Edited: 10 June 2018, 02:54
6 replies to this topic
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,822 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: 3 Best Beaches for Sunset

I only recommend Rialto Beach and strongly urge you not to try for any of the others near Forks. Second Beach requires a 20 minute walk through woods that are dark even at noon. There are tree roots and slippery spots on the trail and a few loose boards on the final steps down to the beach. Once you get through the woods you have to walk on huge driftwood logs that are piled up between the trail and the beach itself. After sunset you would be courting a sprained ankle or worse on your return. Third Beach is worse. You must walk 30 minutes through even thicker woods followed by a long, steep, and fairly slippery descent to to beach level. There you are faced with a screen of tree snags you have to fight your way through to reach the beach.

The trail to Ruby Beach is at least open, but you also have to clamber over driftwood to get to the beach and back. You could try for Kalaloch; it should be safe in the dark. However, I have found Kalaloch to be the least beautiful and interesting of the ONP beaches. It lacks the rock rock arches and seastacks that make the other beaches so hauntingly beautiful, especially at sunset.

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
658 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: 3 Best Beaches for Sunset

We watched the sunset from Ruby Beach last year and it was spectacular. Just had to make sure to get back over the driftwood before it got too dark. The short hike through the woods to the parking was very easy to navigate with flashlights.

Edited: 11 June 2018, 02:56
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: 3 Best Beaches for Sunset

Where to watch the sunset I would base my decision on where you are staying. For sunsets Rialto is my favorite Beach. If you are staying in Forks I see no reason to drive all the way to Ruby. The only differences are going to be what is in the foreground. Rialto has more seastacks and is much easier to access and then get to Forks.

Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
209 posts
1 review
4. Re: 3 Best Beaches for Sunset

Thank you all for your honest responses, appreciate your opinions very much! They’re such a help in planning.

As I said earlier, we are arriving first to Forks. Our final 2 nights will be in Port Angeles. When I look at online maps, from SeaTac it shows that coming either from the traditional entrance or by the southern route can be about the same amount of time, depending on time of day. I have been advised, however, to come in from the Port Angeles-to Lake Crescent-to Forks route and not even think about the other way. I was told it took too long and to avoid I-5 as much as possible. I know there is construction on the suggested route and have read advice to pad the maps’ times. I certainly trust a local’s opinion over an online map. Do you agree with that opinion on how to come in?

Thanks!

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,822 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: 3 Best Beaches for Sunset

The only reason to take the southern route is if you are headed for lake Quinault or Kalaloch. The southern route passes through some of the saddest, ugliest country in the state. Some of the towns and Native communities have an "all hope abandon" atmosphere, and the countryside is dark managed timber. The northern route actually has some pretty stretches, as well as excellent services like great grocery stores Sunny Farms) and gas stations with real running water in the bathrooms. That's a lot more than you get along the southern route.

Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
209 posts
1 review
6. Re: 3 Best Beaches for Sunset

Thank you for your honest response! The regular route will be our plan for now. I would love to stop by Quinault, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach on the way in---as I am not sure with our current itinerary we will have (much) time for Quinault---but don’t think that a 2:30pm flight arrival would give us the proper time. There’s a chance we may be able to get a non-stop earlier flight which would give us quite a few more hours of sightseeing, and in that case we would do the southern route and make those stops. But for now, we’ll take the prettier path!

We want to make sure we have time to explore the Hoh Rainforest area and beaches/tidepools during our 2 full days in this area before we head northward.

Thanks again!

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