For as long as I can remember, driving on the beach has been a “thing” here in the little seaside hamlet of Ocean Shores. In fact, it’s not just a thing, it’s a main tourist attraction – especially during razor clam season and the 4th of July when beach driving means less hassle for a front row seat.
Personally, I find it sorta fun unless of course you get stuck – which I have twice in my life. And it’s especially not fun if you’re stuck and the tide happens to be coming in. In which case hold on to your hat ‘cuz the panic creeps in faster than your wallet empties, when a pro has to be called to fish you out!
Vehicle Beach Access Points
Between the entrance to Ocean Shores (before the pillars) and Taurus Ave., which is about halfway down the peninsula, there are five driving approaches to the beach.
Note to dog owners: the beach area boarding the Taurus Ave approach (to the south) is the designated off-leash dog area.
Beach Driving Fine Print
All the rules associated with beach driving can be found in chapter 352 of the Washington Administrative Code. This includes all the rules for our area (North Beach) along with the other Washington Coast beaches you can drive on; Long Beach and South Beach.
Here’s the Cliff Notes version:
By law, the ‘drive-able beach’ includes the area between the water and the average high tide line. Be sure to avoid the razor clam beds which means you need to stay in the upper 1/3 of the beach.
The speed limit is always 25 mph and all the rules of the road apply. You can get a ticket for failing to yield to pedestrians, speeding, and doing donuts in the sand – you know the drill! And yes, police do patrol the beaches.
Be cognizant – there are no “lines in the sand” to follow, kids will be kids, and it’s much more difficult to hear oncoming vehicles due to the roar of the Pacific Ocean.
The drier the sand, the looser it is… the looser it is the more likely you are to get stuck and once you are – you’ve got yourself the seed for an epic story! When navigating the loose sand areas your best bet is to slowdown but don’t stop moving and avoid turning too quickly.
Pro Tip: Sand is salty and corrosive. Take the time to rinse your entire vehicle including the undercarriage when you’re done for the day!