Accurate model hindcast of wave climate in complex estuarine systems is challenging because high-resolution wave models and wind forcing are required. In this study, a modeling approach using the unstructured-grid Simulating WAves Nearshore and a wind product from a high-resolution regional Weather Research and Forecasting hindcast was used to simulate the swell and wind-sea climate in the Salish Sea, a large estuary with many interconnected waterways on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. The model hindcast was validated with observed data at five wave buoys. Spatial distribution and seasonal variations in wave climate in the Salish Sea were analyzed. Of the three major basins in the Salish Sea, the Strait of Juan de Fuca has the largest waves and is dominated by swells propagated from the Pacific Ocean. Significant wave heights in the Strait of Georgia have spatial and seasonal distribution patterns similar to those found in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Waves in Puget Sound are small and primarily dominated by the wind-sea climate. Strong seasonal variations are observed in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia, but there is little seasonality of wave climate in Puget Sound. The high-resolution wave hindcast conducted in this study provides a comprehensive and important data set for better understanding the role of wave climate in coastal processes and natural hazards assessment in the Salish Sea.