‘The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul.’-Robert Wyland
After a great first night car camping at Cape Disappointment, I headed a few hours north to Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch Beach! There are two beaches available to camp at Olympic, Kalaloch and South Beach. The latter is only open from end of May to end of September. As I was going end of March, that was out. Kalaloch Beach operates on a first come, first serve basis in the off season. When you arrive, go to the entry parking lot. There is a giant board with available campsites. I looked at the website map to determine which would get me as close to the beach as possible. I was able to pay online (you can pay on site but I like the peace of mind of knowing there will be no issues) and off I went to the campsite.
My site was incredible! It was just off the main access points, which have unobstructed views of the Pacific, but my site just had some greenery and then the coast. I was also more elevated which made for better viewing in my REI chair, eating ramen, and watching the sunset. Also listening to the wave crash at night…nothing better.
Olympic National Park is truly one of the most unique national parks. It is so varied and I had no idea! I assumed it green, wet, and a lot of mountains. I follow climber/veteran/Alpinist Nate Brown, who climbed all of the Olympic Peaks and that the beach I slept on was the same park he climbed was really hard to wrap my mind around…We even joked about it!
Side Note: Nate is a great guy and I highly encourage you to go to his website and learn about all the incredible work he’s doing with both his personal mountaineering projects and work with veterans.
Unlike the area you picture when you think of Olympic, Kalaloch Beach and the coastal beaches that make up the park of the park do not require a admission fee. My campsite was $12/night and this solidified my view that car camping is the way to go! To have beach views and access for $24…there is no better deal to be had (note, I believe this is the off season price as currently it is listed as $24/night booking via Recreation.Gov). Lots of families and other solo campers so I felt incredibly safe. It made me so excited for other trips I have planned this year and the amount of money I will save by sleeping in my Honda CR-V (still open to all sponsorship opportunities to upgrade my vehicle, ha!).
I spent two nights here and I was a bit worried, since the campground was first come, first serve, that someone would snag my spot (I purchased for two days but you just never know). I left my igloo cooler on the picnic table and had zero issues. It allowed me to explore the park and come back without worry. Something I will do in the future.
Kalaloch Beach is not as ‘dramatic’ as other beaches a bit further north but is noted for the Tree of Life, a really cool tree that has seemingly sprouted from thin air. Or in the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, ‘life always finds a way.’ You can explore all around the tree as you ponder how it is still there and thriving. I cannot wait to see it again in full bloom!
The best part of my stay was the sunsets. The first night was a bit stormy, which provided some stunning mirror effects on the sand and a more moody sunset, rich in blues, pinks and purples. The second night, the richness and warmth of the clearer day was on full display. I sat my chair in between a couple bushes on the back of my campsite, drank some hot chocolate and watched one of nature’s greatest display.
I had a great couple of days at Olympic National Park and did not want to go back to reality. It was just what I needed. Cannot wait to share more about Olympic and how truly varied its landscape is!