Shi Shi Beach Hiking and Camping 101: A Complete Guide

  • Reservations: You do not need a reservation to camp on Shi Shi Beach!
  • Wilderness Permit: The National Park Service requires you to purchase a wilderness pass for any overnight trip within the park. This can be obtained at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles, or the South Shore Lake Quinault Ranger Station. Passes are $8/person/night
  • Makah Recreation Permit: Because the trail to Shi Shi is on Native American land you must purchase a pass to hike it. Neah Bay, the closest town to the trail head, has several locations where these can be obtained. Permits are $10/vehicle
  • Getting There: I’d love to give you directions, but I couldn’t retrace our steps if my life depended on it. There were a lot of construction detours when we were there making all my written directions useless and the lack of cell signal meant our GPS wasn’t working either. My best advice would be to go old school and take a map. It’s a very remote area and you can’t count on technology. At one point we’d driven several miles in the wrong direction before realizing our mistake. Pretend it’s the olden days—take a map. Click here for Makah reservation’s directions, but remember construction detours can cause the route to change.
  • Parking: The parking lot is literally someone’s yard. They charge $10 a night to use their property, and there are registration forms and an envelope to put your cash in. You’re supporting entrepreneurial small business owners. It’s a win-win.
  • Climate: While warm, sunny, summer days aren’t out of the question, Shi Shi Beach averages temperatures in the 40’s to low 60’s year round. Make sure you pack accordingly, and always bring your rain jacket or poncho.
  • Terrain: While the first half of the trail is a boardwalk, the second half of the trail is very muddy. Wear your old, dirty hiking boots instead of your new, cute ones. It’s also a good idea to pick up a tide chart, especially if you plan to continue your hike past Point of the Arches. Some areas can only be accessed during low tide.
  • Distance: Shi Shi Beach is 2 miles from the parking area. Point of the Arches is 2.5 miles from the trail, walking along the beach. This hike can easily be done in a day, but staying the night will allow more time to explore this beautiful area.
  • Water: The only source of freshwater at Shi Shi is a creek that empties into the ocean about a mile down the beach. It’s advised that you treat or filter this water before drinking.
  • Campsites: There are no assigned campsites, you can pitch your tent wherever you’d like along the beach. Be sure to take note of the tide line, and camp above it, so you don’t end up going for a swim in your sleep.
  • Campfires: Be aware that while campfires are permitted on Shi Shi, all fires must be above the high tide line and only driftwood can be collected. Removing wood from the forest is strictly prohibited.
  • Toilets: We’d read that there are pit toilets, but we never saw them. We weren’t really looking either, though. Unless you plan on setting up camp near the Point or the trail head where they’re located, they won’t do you much good anyway. Prepare to rough it.

5 Reasons You Need A Vacation, And Why It Should Be A Ladycation

We all have excuses not to travel. All the responsibilities and obligations that we need to get a break from somehow become the reasons we don’t take a break. We humans make no sense. Aside from just flat out being a good time, traveling even has health benefits! So do yourself a favor and take a vacation. Better yet, take a Ladycation.

5. Friends Who Travel Together Stay Together

We’ve all had friendships that have come into our lives for a time and then faded away. Childhood friends we lose track of, work friends we don’t keep in touch with when we begin new jobs, friends who move away. As we get older the quality of our friendships becomes more important, preferring a few close, genuine friends, over a gaggle of superficial ones. Since traveling with someone is so intimate; forging a bond through a shared, unique experience, your friendships with your fellow Ladycationers will stand the test of time. They’re the kind of friends you’ll enter assisted living with. They’ll be the ones you play slot machines with when the nursing home bus takes you to the casino, the ones you drive to Canada with for affordable prescriptions, the ones who hold your hand through chemo and who remind you still to use condoms, even when you’re 82. Ladycationers are friends for life.IMG_3915

4. Strong Female Friendships Help You Live Longer

Our female friendships nourish us in ways other relationships don’t. When familial or romantic relationships are causing us stress, it’s our female friendships that we lean on for support. Studies have shown that close, quality friendships are as important to your overall health and longevity as a healthy diet and regular exercise. As we get older these relationships become even more important. Our children grow up, our own parents pass away, we get divorced or widowed, and it’s the relationships with the influential women in our life that give us the sense of belonging and purpose we need to keep going.

3. Travel Makes You Smarter

It’s science, ladies. Our brains need as much exercise as the rest of our bodies, and travel is an excellent way to give them a workout. In study after study, traveling is shown to increase creativity and problem solving skills. Exploring different cultures provides a fresh perspective, opens our minds to new ideas; our brains working overtime to process and understand the new information and relate it to what it already knows.

Havasupai Trail to Supai, Arizona
My fellow Ladycationer, Mary and I, before our ten mile trek to Supai.

2. There’s More To Travel Than Family Vacations

Family vacations are awesome. Taking time to get away and reconnect brings families closer together, and we all want to show our children the world. But it can also be stressful as opposed to restful.

A Ladycation is a vacation that allows you to take a break from being “Mom,” or “Wife,” or whatever other label you’re tethered to. It allows you to break free of the identity that is wrapped up solely in your relationship to others, and rediscover who you are as an individual.

And, as is true with workplace productivity, taking a break from the pressures of everyday life can increase the quality of the time you spend with family, too. What’s that saying, “Happy wife, happy life?” As a single-and-plan-to-stay-that-way kind of woman, I prefer: When women are happy, your life is less crappy. IMG_3874It’s a little more all inclusive.

1. Ladycations Are Heart Healthy

Life is stressful. Work, kids, social obligations, ailing family members, financial responsibilities; it builds and builds. That tension isn’t all in our heads. Stress manifests in our physical health, both directly and indirectly. We’re more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking (chain smokin’ like it’s 1950), overeating (eating all your feelings), and social isolation (Netflix, yoga pants and “winter legs”) when we’re struggling with chronic stress. It even causes our brains to release hormones that elevate our heart rate and blood pressure and, over time, contribute to a buildup of plaque in our arteries and cause our blood to thicken, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Both traveling and friendship are shown to reduce stress and promote overall well-being and longer life span. So, really, it would be irresponsible not to take regular vacations. Travel, wander, explore; pick up your girlfriends and take a Ladycation. Your life may depend on it!img_6799-1