A village in the only sheltered cove between Cape Flattery and Grays Harbor at the mouth of Quillayute River. The name is a Chinook Jargon distortion of the French la bouche, meaning the mouth, which refers to the mouth of the river. Other suggested origins of the name, which appear to be less logical or authentic, include the French term la peche, referring to the act of fishing, and the French word perche, meaning a pole.
At La Push, on the sea coast, a Coast Guard Station, established in 1929 overlooks the village and the mouth of the river. This port, the only shelter between Cape Flattery and Grays Harbor, is noted along the coast for fishing activities. During the season, tenders come into the Quillayute estuary two and three times a week.
Where the long beach at La Push slopes down to the Pacific, surf breaks against giant rocks. One of these, James Island, with several acres of brush and trees on its summit, stands at the mouth of the Quillayute River and may be reached over the sand beach at low tide. Numerous smaller, wooded islands lie immediately north of it, on the edge of the heavily forested Quillayute River Valley. The Needles, a series of jagged rocks, extend for more than a mile out into the ocean.
The legends of the Quillayute, filled with the exploits of the Thunderbird and other mythical characters, still live in La Push.