This is part of the series Washington State Parks Tour (More info my Tour here: WA PARKS TOUR)
For more information on Washington State Parks visit: https://parks.state.wa.us
Also check out the Washington State Parks Foundation: They are the only statewide, independent nonprofit organization that is solely devoted to all of Washington's beautiful state parks. Support comes from people who love the park, and has gone on to facilitate capital improvements, restoration projects and educational and outreach programs at State parks.
Kite Rating: SINGLE LINE
I rate this state park as a Single Line kite. It is the kind of place that you want to go and relax at. Enjoy your day at the beach, and soak in the sun and the sound of the waves. You don't need to be active to enjoy this park.
Pacific Beach State Park - https://parks.state.wa.us/557/Pacific-Beach
Located in Southwestern Washington on the coast. North of Ocean Shores. It is a small camping park of exposed camping on 17 acres along 2,300 feet of ocean shoreline. Best known for beach exploration, clamming, and fishing. There are no trails as the campground is on the sand behind a small dune on the beach.
What is the Park known for: While the park is best known for its access to clamming and beach exploration, I was let in on a little secret after talking with the park staff. Nearly everyone there is a 'regular'. The same people are showing up at the same time of the year for extended periods of time. Folks come from around the country, and through no real coordination (they don't share the same work, home community, church etc...) gather at Pacific Beach and create a community. Apparently, Pacific Beach has fostered many friendships and relationships that have carried on outside of the campground.
The park is almost always solidly booked during the peak season making camping difficult for those that are looking to park hop and stop in here. One site is generally kept open for hikers and bikers or very sleepy late night travelers.
There is a day use area, with picnic tables, parking, and access to the beach, and this may be your best bet if wanting to visit. Beach fires are permitted as long as they are at least 100 feet from the vegetation. So if you time it right, hit it up at low tide, grab some clams, get a fire going. While you wait for that fire to become nice warm coals go fly a kite. Then steam up your clams, maybe roast some smores at sunset and offer to share a beer with the Pacific Beach Park community.
Hidden Treasure: I was surprised to discover that there is decent Wi-Fi within the campground. Not sure that this a 'treasure' per se when seeking to get away from it all and disconnect. But, for the van life folks traveling from camp to camp looking to remotely work, this isn't a bad deal. Might not be able to stream Netflix, but it was robust enough to answer emails and listen to streaming music. As for other hidden treasurers, you can drive on the beach, but you will need to access it at a different approach. The beach goes for miles, with few restrictions. Some portions are seasonally closed for wildlife reasons, and the speed limit is always 25 mph on the beach. Stick to the hard pack sand... and you will be fine. :) The portion of the beach in front of the campground and along the Joe River outlet is closed to vehicle traffic. but great for clamming and kite flying.
Also... the local radio station 89.1 KXPB (which proudly boasts a sign in the window that says 'nobody for president') was the first fully FCC licensed Low Power Radio Station in Western Washington. (Supposedly)
Bit of history about the park: Back around 1905-1913 if you were wealthy in the Pacific Northwest, you visited this area; mainly the town of Moclips to the north. Pacific Beach was first a saw mill and cannery, but around 1902 with the completion of the lines by the Northern Pacific Railway, the location became a tourist destination. Over the next few years, the first hotels, streets, and even a theater were built. In the 1940's the US Navy and Air Force took an interest in Pacific Beach as an anti aircraft training center and Cold War Radar station. For a short time after that it also served as a 'secret facility'; the Sound Surveillance System that monitored the movement of Soviet submarines until 1987. Today, the former base hotel has been converted to a US Navy recreation and conference center.
Most of that is the history of the surrounding area, but Pacific Beach proper is so small that it seemed apt and interesting to include it here. I wasn't able to find out too much about the park land itself, whether it had historical value, was donated to the state parks commission, or information like that, but, with the whole area once being a tourist destination, the history seems all tied in.
Nearby Attractions: Head North and visit Moclips, or head south and visit Seabrook. Now, at first glance walking around Seabrook, the wayward traveler is going to feel a touch out of place and time. The newly created tourist housing development and town square seems to have ripped its planning straight out of the pages of Pleasantville, or the Stepford Wives. The town seems a little too perfect, a little too manicured, a little too clean. There is a perfectly quaint farmers market on Saturdays in front of perfectly quaint shops in the perfectly lined streets. Park your car, make sure you wear a clean set of clothes, and walk around. It is worth it. Don't let my comments turn you off from enjoying the place, I did find some worthy stops, but it did have the feeling of being a movie set. Even the other visitors and residents felt like actors on some level. Was I staring in the next Truman Show??
If it is in the late afternoon or evening, stop by Mill 109 for what I hear is a pretty good philly cheese steak. On the side of the mill is some open air seating and a taqueria style bar that appears to serve cold drinks and quick bites. I was there rather early in the day, so found myself stopping in at the Red Velvet Bakery by the sea enjoying a fresh sticky bun and a doppio espresso. Delicious, and hit the spot perfectly. Replete with the Parisian cafe style seating outside along the street.
From talking with a few folks at the state park, I learned that during the summer evenings there are not only food trucks, but outdoor movies, and mini concerts in the town square. making this perhaps a nice stop over. Will have to come back and visit.
Some other nearby attractions that I would recommend stopping at depending on your particular interests would be:
The Museum of North Beach: http://www.moclips.org/
This has a rather extensive history of the area as a logging and tourist destination, and the history of the US military in the area.
Historic Dorothy Anderson Cabin -
This is located in the Seabrook community. It was the home of Dorothy Antonnette Anderson who on a trip to the area for a razor clam dig, fell in love and built her cabin. Over time she would build out a few more cabins using logs she found on the beach. The original site of the cabin was in Ocean City, but due to it falling into disrepair and risk of being lost, it was eventually moved to the now new town of Seabrook in 2007.
Wacky Warehouse and KXPB-LP 89.1FM
This is a well appointed junk shop..... and radio station. Don't really know what you will find there, best to go in... and discover what you might. :) Reportedly the radio station is the first fully licensed radio station in Western Washington. From the crude hand painted signs outside, and general appearance of the place, you can tell that this is the kind of place that is going to have a story.
Stay tuned for more from this Washington State Park Series