Shi Shi Beach, Washington
Only the most earnest of beach-seekers make their way along the Olympic National Park's 3.3-mile rainforest trail to Shi Shi, squishing through mud and gripping a rope on the final, steep descent to a beach whose only amenity is a pit toilet. But the resounding consensus is that it's worth it, especially in the drier summer months. If you share the wide-open Pacific views with anyone at all, it will be with other day hikers and campers who have set up tents and driftwood beach fires just above the high-tide line. Explore the unusual sea-stack rock formations and arches as you watch for otters, whales, seals, sea lions, and bald eagles.
What to Do: Stop at nearby Neah Bay's Makah Museum to see 500-year-old artifacts from a native village. The fresh smoked-salmon pizza is a local favorite at Linda's Wood-Fired Kitchen in Neah Bay.
Getting Here: The trail to the beach begins at the south edge of the Makah Reservation off Highway 112 on the remote northwestern tip of Washington.