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Crescent Bay, WA


Also known as "Crescent", "CB", "Salt Creek", and "Tongue Point".  Crescent Bay is a small, picturesque gem in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a short drive west of Port Angeles.  The nearest town is Joyce, just a few minutes away.

Many people choose to park for free at Salt Creek (paved parking area with a composting toilet), while others prefer the easier beach access from the RV park on Crescent Beach (camping, showers, laundry, and flush toilets).

All of the beach southwest of Salt Creek is privately owned, so please respect the rights of property owners by avoiding this area unless you have permission to be there.  The RV park has a reasonable day-use fee and will even tell you a little about the current surf conditions if you call them.  While they are very nice people, make no mistake -- they do take active steps to prevent unauthorized use of their property.

The protection offered by the Strait, some offshore reefs, and the shape of the bay help to produce cleaner waves than you might find on a more exposed beach on the outer coast.  However, you need to watch out for rips, such as the deep water channel from the creek.  A swim on a "big day" in that rip can take you dangerously close to rocks and into some steep, plunging breakers.

Hamp All adds, "The conditions created by creek outflow and an ebb tide can create strong and potentially dangerous currents on both sides of the island such that a swimmer may be beyond immediate rescue.  I have personally seen very strong currents there with surfable standing waves.  In those conditions CB can be no place for all but the most experienced surf paddlers (and may be beyond them too).  I would also emphasize how quickly conditions can change at CB.  In my experience there, a 15-20 minute period can bring significant change to the surf conditions."

Notoriously difficult to forecast, many people believe surf conditions at Crescent to be unpredictable due to the interplay of so many complex factors.  However, you can expect to have some surfable waves with a swell direction at least 280 degrees, offshore swell height greater than nine feet, and a period over nine seconds.  Aim for a rising tide, ideally mid-tide height or higher.  Given these conditions, and no more than 5-10 knots of onshore wind, you may see wave faces in the two to four foot range.  

Also, consider what the current is doing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It can be nearly flat at low tide, especially if the current in the Strait is ebbing, then become very surfable later at a higher flooding tide.

Remember, it is very difficult to accurately predict surf conditions here.  (So, bring a sea kayak with you just in case there is no surf.)

We use these sites to help with our surf forecasting for Crescent Beach: