Stroll on one of the Pacific beaches in Olympic National Park and explore tide pools, watch the sun set behind pillaring sea stacks or scan the waters for migrating whales. These are some of the favorite things to do in the park and the reason why travelers make the trip on winding country roads to this remote edge of the peninsula. 

What many visitors don't know is that they are enjoying a national marine sanctuary, spanning 25 to 40 miles seaward with over 3,000 square miles of waters. The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary reaches from the northwestern-most point of the contiguous U.S. near Cape Flattery to the mouth of the Copalis River over 100 miles to the south, bordering every beach in the national park and beyond.

Map of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary near Olympic National Park

Stop in the Olympic Coast Discovery Center

Olympic Coast Discovery Center

Near the ferry pier in Port Angeles inside the Landing Building, sits the Olympic Coast Discovery Center. Come inside to learn about marine conservation, the local sea life and scientific exploration in the sanctuary waters. The museum features interpretive displays and staff to help you check the weather, tides and currents.

Top Things to Do at the Sanctuary

The mission of the marine sanctuary is to protect the coast's natural and cultural resources, but it is also to promote understanding through public outreach and education. So don't think the sanctuary is off-limits. The public is welcome to enjoy the beaches and the waters.


Go hiking, backpacking and camping on the national park beaches. At low tides, explore the sea life in tide pools. Bird watching is especially popular near Cape Flattery, and you can watch for whales right from the beaches on the Whale Trail

Before you go to the beaches, check the predicted tides for the day, get a camping permit if you are staying overnight, and if you are parking at a trailhead on native land, you may need to get a parking permit.


Go fishing, sea kayaking, surfing and diving. Charters for salmon, halibut, lingcod and tuna fishing are available from Neah Bay, La Push, Sekiu and Westport.

For more information:
Olympic Coast Discovery Center
115 East Railroad Ave, Suite#301, Port Angeles, WA 98362


Sea Star Ochre at Olympic National Park

Explore Tide Pools at Olympic National Park's Coast

During low tides, the Pacific Ocean retreats from the beaches and exposes pools of water in rocky crevices that team with sea life.

Sea stacks on Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park

Sea Stacks on Olympic National Park's Coast

Iconic rock posts and arches jutting up from the sand along the Washington coast are what define the national park's beaches. Here's where to see them.

A hiker on Shi Shi Beach. Photo by David Krause

Hike Shi Shi Beach to Point of Arches on Olympic Coast

This 8-mile round trip out-and-back trail travels along the northern Olympic Coast among tide pools and sea stacks, down to Point of Arches.

Cascade in the forest of Olympic National Park

Visit Olympic National Park Virtually

You don’t have to visit Olympic National Park in person to experience its spectacular mountains, rain forests and beaches.

The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park

4 Rainforests of Olympic National Park

The west-side area of this national park is one of the best places in the world to see a temperate rainforest ecosystem.

Cross-country skiing on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Ski and Snowboard at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

It's 1 of only 3 national parks in the U.S. with a ski lift. Go snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing at Hurricane Ridge.

Sea Otter

Sea Otters on the Olympic Coast

These lovable marine mammals can be found on the Pacific coast from Alaska to northern California, including Olympic National Park.

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

This strikingly blue, deep (624 feet) lake sits in the forest 18 miles west of Port Angeles.

Sea stacks on Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park

Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park

The park’s wild coastline features both easy-access beaches and remote wilderness. Camp on the beaches year-round.