where is closest family beach for shell collecting
Wouldn't shell collecting be more appropriate on ocean, rather than Puget Sound, beaches? Or are you considering the trip to the Olympic Peninsula or???
Actually, the shell collecting on the ONP beaches is poor. The Pacific really bashes the shells up, and you're lucky to find fragments.
Kopachuck State Park near Gig Harbor has some shells (sand dollars, clams, oysters, etc.). We went in June and the kids had a great time with the stuff that they found. Also,there were people clam/oyster hunting which can be fun to watch. You have to go at low tide.
Also, please note that Washington State has a new requirement for cars within State Parks. You will need to obtain a Discover Pass. http://www.discoverpass.wa.gov/
Edmonds beach is great for viewing shells and marine life during a low tide but you are not supposed to remove anything from the beach. If you don't mind a short hike (downhill going, uphill coming back) Meadowdale Beach Park is a nice little day trip, but not too many shells that aren't broken.
This thread is 3 years old, but still has useful information. We usually see a few shells down at Picnic Point in Edmonds.