Second Beach- 4 miles out and back. 350 elevation gain
Pass-none Difficulty-2/5 Rating-5/5
When I was in high school my parents took a trip to the Oregon coast. Since they took that trip I knew I had to go to the Pacific Northwest Coast. After reading Twilight after I graduated high school I knew I needed to go to the forests in the Pacific Northwest! Olympic National Park combines both of those things and I was dying to go! We did another camping trip over Lillian’s birthday that was in the Olympic National Forest, (Olympic National forest almost hugs the National Park.) but I was dying to see the forest AND the coast of Olympic National Park!
We looked at the forecast and we saw we had a sunny weekend and we wanted to take advantage of that. Chris knew I had been wanting to go camping on the coast and we finally made it happen! It is about 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours away, so fairly far, but totally worth it! We went early enough in the season where there weren’t many crowds, but late enough in the season where campgrounds were open.
We decided to stay at the Kalaloch campground which was amazing! Since we went in March we didn’t have to make a reservation we just showed up. It wasn’t empty, but there were several spots to chose from. The campsites weren’t necessarily the best laid out, but they were beautiful. Chris had to walk around a few to find a flat enough spot for our tent. There were fire rings and picnic tables at each campsite and shared outhouses. There were also several RVs camping there as well. The main downside to this campsite is that it is fairly close to a road. Not a super busy road and and there are some trees blocking the road, but we could still hear traffic drive by.
Chris was nervous about camping so close to the beach because it would be windy and cold, but the campsites were all in a foresty area, which was beautiful and it protected us from the wind and the cold. Some of the campsites had beach/ocean views although ours was just forest views. There is beach access from the campground, but you do have to go down some steep stairs. My kids did fine on the stairs so its good for all ages, just be aware of the stairs!
When we first got to the campground and set up our tent we decided that we would go to the beach right away. We got there just before sun set and were able to walk around for a bit. The waves were rougher here than I had seen before and it made for beautiful views, but I didn’t want my kids near the water. Since it was still chilly they were ok with not going in the water. The drift wood here is also huge…like huge trees/logs floating in the water. There were signs all over the beach warning of the dangers of the driftwood while swimming. We were able to climb on one of these huge tree/logs/driftwood and that was a lot of fun! We also found the Tree of Life/the hanging tree/root cave on that beach as well!
After walking around the beach we all went to bed and slept well! The next morning we woke up and walked around the beach again before we packed up camp and headed out. We decided we wanted to go on a small hike and I had heard that Second Beach was a good hike for kids and that beach was stunning. I was also really excited to hear that we would go through Forks on our way. Forks is the town where Twilight takes place. (This post is making me sound like a crazy Twilight fan….) The drive was pretty through forests with glimpses of the ocean and were able to make a pit stop and see a giant tree along the way. It is just an awesome place!
The hike to second beach wasn’t too bad. Its 2 miles each way with a descent to the beach. After hiking through the forest, climbing down stairs, then scrambling over a bunch of driftwood you make it out onto the beach and its breathtaking! There are huge seastacks in the water, a rough coastline that is forest covered and driftwood litters the beach. The water was still a bit rough so the kids couldn’t go out in the ocean, but there were tons of small pools and streams that they could play in. I think they both stripped down to their undies to play in the water and the sand. It was warm out, but the wind was cool. It was perfect! The kids loved it and I loved being out with Chris and the kids. It wasn’t packed, but it wasn’t empty either. I can imagine the summer gets pretty busy!
We stayed for an hour or two and decided we needed to hike back out before the kids ran off all their energy. They did great hiking back, but were happy to be back to the car. On our way to Kalaloch campground we went south through Tacoma and up and around. Coming home, since Second Beach is more north we were going to make a full circle home and take the Kingston/Edmonds ferry home. We were half way there when we got a notification saying the ferry wait would be over two hours, so we went half hour out of our way to go through Tacoma going home as well. It made for an even longer drive back, but the kids both crashed so I got to visit with Chris without interruptions. Plus drives are some of my favorite things so I was very content.
I LOVED this camping trip and I would recommend it to anyone! I am hoping we can go again next year. I even loved going in March, even if it was a little on the chilly side, but I loved not having to make reservations and having fewer crowds.
If you love the Ocean/beach this is the place for you. If you love the forest and tall trees, this is the place for you!