This National Park On A Beach Is One Of The West Coast's Best Camping Destinations

Washington state's Olympic National Park is among the most beautiful places in the United States. This enormous stretch of natural land allows visitors to experience all of what the wilds of the northwest have to offer, including rain forests inhabited by everything from tiny Douglas squirrels to grizzly bears, tall snowy mountain peaks cut by sparkling river valleys, and even beaches. 

While you might associate beach camping with a warm sunny state like Florida, in chilly Washington, Ruby Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach are among Olympic's biggest draws — but these beaches aren't for swimming. Instead, they are beloved for their incredible views. The best way to see the beach is by staying in one of the park's most popular campgrounds: Kalaloch Campground.

At this unique campsite, campers can enjoy year-round views of the beach and its beautiful seabirds, like common murres and tufted puffins. Kalaloch Campground has all kinds of opportunities for outdoorsy folks, whether you prefer walking along the coast to peer into tidepools, hiking the incredible Hall of Mosses trail through the Hoh Rain Forest, or just relaxing around your campsite with your dog.

Comfortable campsites that feel wild

Kalaloch Campground is deep in the wilderness – and that's what people like best about it. The campsite has 160 sites to choose from, and all of them provide easy access to the sights and sounds of nature that attract droves of visitors to Olympic National Park every year. While many come for the easy access to the beach, there's plenty to appreciate without doing more than unzipping your tent flap in the morning and looking outside.

Olympic National Park can be crowded, but while you might be able to hear the other campers, you probably won't see much of them. Despite how many campsites there are at Kalaloch Campground, it is surprisingly private, with lush foliage between you and anybody else. As wild and natural as camping here may feel, however, the loop still has all the amenities you might need. Whichever campsite you choose will have a picnic table and spot for making your own campfire, and there are bathrooms nearby (though you won't be able to shower there.)

Claiming your spot by the beach

Unsurprisingly, Kalaloch Campground is very popular with locals and tourists alike, so if you want to snag your spot, you might have to do it early. If you can get a campsite, though, it won't break the bank. Staying there only costs $24 per night.

Exactly how you lock in your stay at this coveted destination depends on what time of year it is. In the warm months, you can book a campsite ahead of time. Between May 23 and September 23, reservations are available through – but be warned, reservations fill up fast. That's doubly true for those campsites that have a view of the water. Reservations to different parts of the campsite are staggered (some six months before, some two weeks before, and some just four days before) so make sure to check back if your favorite site isn't available yet. During colder months, all of the campsites that are still open are given out the day of. To try to get one, you'll have to show up early and check the list of available sites in the main parking lot.