The Beaches of Washington's Pacific Coast

Miles of sandy beach border the southwest corner of the state, where a string of quaint communities dole out family-friendly fun, sporty adventure and low-key amusement amid the surf and sun.

In the North Beach area, laid-back Moclips, Pacific Beach and Copalis Beach are the perfect places to relax with your toes in the sand—and also to enjoy the slate of sand-sculpting and kite-flying festivities every summer. Come fall, razor clam season draws hundreds more planning to dig for the prized bivalves.

South in Ocean Shores, pick up whatever’s fresh at Mike’s Seafood and head to the surf for a cookout. In town, family fixtures include quirky gift shop Sharky’s and Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center, known for its bumper boats and mini-golf course. And for adults, Sipping Serendipity Wine Bar and neighboring Elk Head Tap Room are great imbibing bets.

Skirt Grays Harbor to reach the southern beach towns Westport—known for saltwater fishing, crabbing, surfing, whale watching and the tallest lighthouse in the state—and Grayland, with its clutch of historic cranberry bogs and annual October Cranberry Harvest Festival.

Then dip down to the Long Beach Peninsula, where the 28-mile-long finger of land along Willapa Bay is thronged by popular beach hamlets Ocean Park, Long Beach and Seaview. See massive flyers from around the world at the World Kite Museum, sip a flight of craft suds at North Jetty Brewing and Tap Room or bike the 8.5-mile-long Discovery Trail, which snakes along the beach. For pedestrians, the elevated Long Beach Boardwalk offers a prime spot to admire the fleet of kites in the air.

After you work up an appetite biking, surfing or beach-trotting on horseback—Skippers Equestrian Center offers guided excursions—pull up a seat at The Depot Restaurant’s cozy chef’s table for a view of chef-owner Michael Lalewicz searing steaks in the open kitchen.

And for a nightcap, Pickled Fish on top of the industrial-chic Adrift Hotel does stellar small plates and cocktails—absinthe root beer float, anyone?—using locally sourced ingredients. Better still, it hosts a rotating lineup of musical acts every night.

—Angela Cabotaje