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The Quileute Tribe’s Perfect Pacific Coastline

The Quileute Tribe own and operate the Quileute Oceanside Resort, which has some of the most spectacular beaches in the country
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Pacific Northwest beaches are different from their sandy Atlantic brethren, and Quileute Tribe’s village of La Push, Washington’s beaches are a prime example. La Push offers access to three breathtaking locations, none of which bear much resemblance to the flat, hot, crowded shores that many people trek to for vacations on the East Coast. It’s easy to find a place to worship the sun and get a tan (and there’s nothing wrong with that—we’ve included a few locations in our Notable Mentions list), but the Quileute Tribe’s spectacular beaches are something special.

The Quileute Tribe own and operate the Quileute Oceanside Resort, set along the rugged Pacific coastline. The tribe has lived on this land for more than 1,000 years, and their old territory stretched along the Pacific coast, encompassing the rivers, rainforests and glaciers of the Olympic Mountains. Today, most members of the Quileute Tribe live in the tiny village of La Push, a one-square-mile hamlet that boasts a selection of the most stunning beaches in the Pacific Northwest. One of those locations, First Beach, has recently been made famous as one of the prime locations in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.

The Quileute Oceanside Resort features 33 deluxe oceanfront cabins, campgrounds and a full-service RV park. It also has two 14-unit motels with rooms featuring kitchenettes and that are appointed in authentic American Indian motif, some with incredible ocean views. What the Quileute Oceanside Resort does not have are televisions or phones in its rooms. This is an escape from the outside world in every sense of the word, made all the more vivid when you step onto the trail that leads from the reservation, passes over a small creek lined with Sitka spruce and descends to the beach.

First Beach is a crescent-shaped, mile-long stretch of soft sand that is excellent for surfing and whale watching. In the fall, whales come close to shore during their annual migrations. Surfers and kayakers have long come to First Beach to enjoy the dynamic Olympic Coast, which offers good waves one day and tabletop placidity the next. In Twilight First Beach is where main protagonist Bella Swan first meets Quileute Nation member Jacob Black (a werewolf). There are also huge, wooded rock formations just offshore.

Second Beach offers an incredible wilderness coastline in Olympic National Park. The beach includes huge sea stacks—the relics of ancient rocky headlands—that serve as an awesome viewpoint to watch the power of the Pacific as it relentlessly pounds the rocks. Second Beach is indicative of the best aspects of Pacific Northwest beaches, with sheltering cliffs lining the shoreline, which during low tide create shallow tide pools teeming with intertidal life. The Quillayute Needles—jagged, dagger-shaped rock formations—are visible bursting from the ocean at Second Beach. You can’t hike from First Beach to Second Beach, however, because rock formations block your path. You must use a connecting road, but it’s only a short hike.

Third Beach requires you to hike 1.2 miles down a forested trail from La Push. This might put you off, but what it offers is a secluded beach free of many visitors. Third Beach includes an amazing waterfall pouring into the sea from the cliffs at the beach’s south end.

The Quileute Oceanside Resort is a great destination for those looking for a different kind of beach experience, one with fewer people, dramatic coastlines and cooler temperatures. The resort also offers a bevy of activities such as fly-fishing, wildlife viewing and photography, surfing lessons, stand-up paddle boarding and mountain biking.

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Notable Mentions

Miccosukee Resort Hotel, Florida - Owned and operated by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, the resort is located on the southeastern edge of the Everglades, a short drive from Miami Beach.

San Onofre State Beach, California - This state park beach has 3,000 acres of coastal canyon park and is popular for swimmers, surfers and those interested in American Indian History. It's the sacred site for Acjachemen Indians, whose ancestors lived on this land.

Hobuck Beach Resort, Washington - The Makah Indians in Washington run the resort, which has access to Shi Shi Beach, one of the longest undeveloped ocean shorelines in the continental U.S.