We decided that this year was the year for our kids to have their first backpacking trip, so we settled on where my husband went on his first backpacking trip: Shi Shi Beach.
The hike gently rolls over boardwalks and well-maintained trails. The only difficult bit is toward the end where the trail turns dramatically downward to the beach.
We went during the week to avoid the crowds. I've read that the weekends get pretty busy, but we didn't encounter many people at all on Monday through Wednesday.
I will say that Point of Arches is well worth the walk, especially at low tide. My kids really enjoyed looking into the tide pools for sea stars, sea anenome and other little creatures.
For me, although it seems like a lot of people visit this spot, there was still something special about backpacking into a location that most people will never see. I'm glad my husband thought to share this area with our kids!
Fees: $10 Makah Recreation Pass, $5/person per night Olympic National Park wilderness permit, parking fees in private lots near trailhead
What to bring: everything you need to survive, bear bin for food
Length of Hike: 2 miles to the beach, up to 2.5 miles more along beach to find your perfect camping spot
Sights nearby: Point of Arches, General M.C. Meigs Shipwreck