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Camping on Shi Shi Beach

Shraboni Sen Kar
Shi Shi (Shy Shy) Beach is a photographer's paradise. A short and easy hike and then you see something spectacular, the Shi Shi Beach, which is tucked away on the uppermost corner of the Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. The remoteness, the isolation and the mesmerizing scenery of this Pacific Northwest Beach are bound to enchant you.

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Accessible whole year round, but fall is a particularly lovely time to be here. It’s not too cold, and there are fewer people.

First Things First

You will need a few permits to visit this beach:
  • National Park Permit: You can avail it from Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. Don't forget to grab your bear canister here.
  • Makah Reservation Permit: For this one, head to Neah Bay and buy your Makah Tribe recreation permit at Washburn’s General Store.
Parking is free at the trail-head, but if you wish to stay overnight, you will have to pay park your vehicle around 0.6 miles before reaching the trail-head.

The Hike to Shi Shi Beach

The trail to Shi Shi Beach is fairly flat, so it is quite easy. The hike in is via a 2 mile trail in a verdant rain forest maintained by the Makah tribe. The only obstacle that you are going to encounter is lots of mud, so you better wear your boots.
The hike initiates with well-maintained pathways but towards the end all of them are going to disappear. However, whenyour boot comes to rescue, you can even enjoy the muddy trail.
After having completed around 1.5 miles of your trail, you will get to hear the sea waves and will eventually come across the end of the forest and see a wooden board captioned "Olympic National Park" and an obvious route down the headlands to the beach camping area.

Setting up the Camp

Now you have reached the beach, but it is not the end. You may have to cover another 2.5 miles, that far is the Point of Arches. However, this length depends on how far you decide to walk along the beach to set up your camp.
Camping is allowed on this 2.5 miles stretch from the end of the trail along the beach to the main attraction - Point of Arches. Well, make sure to pitch your tent above the high tide mark! Another option is setting up a camp at one of the established sites overlooking the beach from up in the forest.

Point of Arches and The Tidepools

The southernmost point of the beach is the Point of Arches, which is a collection of sea stacks. And during the low tides, you can also see the tide pools. Walk along the exposed rocks and witness the amazing sea life around. 

Food Storage

All food, garbage, and scented items must be stored in bear canisters during this whole camping period. Remember, there are wild animals around, so be responsible, and do not leave food unattended.


Campfires are allowed here but only in the existing fire rings, build them below the high tide line, and burn driftwood only


There is a freshwater creek called Petroleum Creek that drains out onto the beach and into the Pacific. This is your best fresh water source. However, if possible, I would suggest packing in your water.

The Hike Out

The hike out is just back tracking the way you came in. While all this while, act responsibly and remember to Leave No Trace.

Few Tips to Camp on Shi Shi Beach

  • Bring sufficient water
  • Set up camp at the far south end of the beach
  • Pitch your tent above the tide line
  • Buy your food ahead of time