a beach scene along olympic national park shoreline at sunset with a seastack hidden in shadow next the vibrant setting sun lighting up the sky

5 Olympic National Park Tide Pools Not To Miss On A Visit

Traveling In Focus contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See our disclaimer for more information.

Are you wondering about where to find the best Olympic National Park tide pools? Look no further, as we have some excellent options plus some tips to make the most of your time!

If you’re a marine life enthusiast or just an adventurer, Olympic National Park’s beaches are your tide-pooling wonderland; believe us, we’ve been there!

Throughout our journey in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve uncovered some of the best tide pools that lurk within the sandy stretches of this national treasure.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘Where exactly do I find these captivating tide pools, and how do I avoid disturbing the delicate marine life?’

Well, fret not, as we’re here to guide you.

Drawing from our extensive travels and time spent in Olympic National Park, let’s dive in together to find the best tide pools the park offers and ensure you enjoy the wonders of nature while preserving it for future generations.

Are You Planning An Upcoming Trip? Use Our Favorite Resources To Help!

🏨 AccommodationThis is our Favorite
🎟 Tours/ExperiencesWe enjoy Viator
🚙 Car RentalWe use this One
🌎 Travel InsuranceWe recommend SafetyWing

5 Olympic National Park Tide Pools

Ready your snorkels and tighten your flippers because we’re heading into the intoxicating world of tide pools in Olympic National Park.

Each of these aquatic pockets is a mini cosmos teeming with marine life, offering a glimpse into a world less explored.

So, let’s tread lightly and leave only footprints as we venture into the salty, splashy, and often slippery realm of the park’s tide pools.

1. Ruby Beach Tide Pools

Perched on the rugged coastline of Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach is a natural spectacle not to be missed.

Named for the garnet fragments that glint in the sand, this beach gem offers you a unique experience of the Pacific Northwest’s wild beauty. The beach’s craggy sea stacks and driftwood-strewn sands create a dramatic backdrop for the thriving tide pools.

As the tide recedes, a fascinating world is exposed in the tide pools.

Starfish of various hues, nimble hermit crabs, and even the elusive octopus make their home in these miniature ecosystems.

For the shutterbugs among you, Ruby Beach’s tide pools against the setting sun are a photo dream come true. Pull out your camera or smartphone and capture scenic shots of the pools, sea stacks, and the mesmerizing Pacific horizon.

Ruby Beach is also an excellent spot for a beach picnic.

Nothing beats the combination of delicious food, the sound of waves crashing, and the sight of unique tide pools. Just remember to pack out what you pack in.

📎 Tip: Look to the sky because if you’re lucky, you might find yourself in the company of a bald eagle!

setting sun shines on one of the many olympic national park beaches with sea stacks, olympic national park tide pools can be found at low tide on many of the beaches

2. Kalaloch beach 4

Just a seagull’s flight away from Ruby Beach, you’ll find another shining star of Olympic National Park – Kalaloch Beach 4.

If you’re hunting for the best tide pools in Washington, look no further! This beach is where the magic of the marine world unveils itself at low tide.

The intricate dance of the tides at Kalaloch Beach 4 transforms the coastal landscape twice a day, revealing a secret garden of marine life.

You’ll witness everything from vibrant sea stars to hardy barnacles and, if you’re really lucky, maybe even an anemone or two.

But there’s more than just tide pools to delight in. Kalaloch Beach 4 is a prime spot for a sunset stroll.

The canvas of the sky with the setting sun, combined with the rhythmic sound of waves and the salty sea breeze, creates a serene, unforgettable atmosphere.

3. Rialto Beach Tide Pools

Alright, beach bums, ready to hit your next coastal hotspot?

Welcome to Rialto Beach, where you will find the perfect blend of a rugged coastline and incredible Olympic National Park tide pools.

This beach is less of a sunbathing spot and more of an adventurer’s playground.

Located just 15 miles away from the quaint town of Forks, Rialto Beach offers some of the most dramatic seascapes in all of Washington.

Majestic sea stacks (remnants of coastal cliffs) loom against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, setting the stage for some serious selfie moments.

As for the tide pools, they’re a treasure trove of marine diversity. Expect to encounter hermit crabs scuttling about, sea stars clinging to rocks, and maybe even a sea urchin or two.

While you are there, why not take a hike to Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural sea arch just a couple of miles down the beach?

It’s a great place to enjoy the crashing waves, marvel at the diverse marine life, and ponder the meaning of life, the universe, and everything in between.

rialto beach's famous hole in the wall, a seastack can be seen through the hole in the rock, olympic national park tide pools can be found at the base of the arch

4. La Push Beaches (First, Second, & Third Beach)

Strap in for an epic coastal journey because next up, we’re exploring the La Push Beaches – First, Second, and Third Beach.

They’re like the Goldilocks of beaches, each with its own charm and appeal.

Situated near the Quileute Reservation, these beaches are a must-see for any avid beach-goer.

First Beach is the largest and most accessible, and it’s where the locals hang out. Expect to find surfers catching waves and maybe even a bonfire or two.

Not a fan of crowds? No problem. Second and Third Beach are your secluded getaway spots.

They’re a bit of a trek, but trust us, the hike is worth every step.

Picture lush, forested trails opening up to breathtaking views of the Pacific. Talk about dramatic entrances, huh?

Ever tried beach camping? Well, Third Beach is your opportunity.

Wake up to the sound of crashing waves and sip your morning coffee to the view of offshore sea stacks. Sounds divine to us!

5. Shi Shi Beach

Rev up those walking boots because the wondrous Shi Shi Beach is next on our coastal tour.

Tucked away in the Makah Reservation, this beach is a hidden treasure worth every bit of the hike it takes to get there. We mean, who doesn’t love a good beach workout, right?

Shi Shi Beach has a truly wild and untamed beauty – think rugged coastline, dramatic sea stacks, and abundant Olympic National Park tide pools.

Oh, and did we mention the sea anemones, starfish, and other marine life you’ll see minding their business in the tide pools? A real-life nature documentary, dear readers!

Now, you might be wondering what else there is to do at Shi Shi Beach since you made that long hike.

Well, how about a stroll along the shoreline? Or maybe sitting on a driftwood log, getting lost in the views of the vast Pacific and the Point of Arches.

And hey, don’t forget to pack a picnic – nothing beats munching on your favorite snacks with such a view.

rocks and tide pools showing along the shi shi beach under a sunny sky

Bonus: Tongue Point At Salt Creek Recreation Park

Feeling a little adventurous? Well, let us introduce you to the pièce de résistance – Tongue Point at Salt Creek Recreation Park.

Nestled in the Olympic Peninsula (but not within the park itself), this spot is like the cherry on top of your beach sundae.

Tongue Point is a marine life wonderland – a jackpot, if you will, for all you nature nerds.

We are talking barnacles, hermit crabs, mussels, basically the who’s who of the tide pool world, chilling in their natural habitat.

While you’re there, remember that you’re not running a wildlife relocation program. Look, but don’t touch.

Now, what else might there be to do here? Well, other than resisting your inner kleptomaniac, you could try beachcombing!

That’s right, walk along the beach and marvel at the natural treasures washed ashore by the tides.

Oh, and get your cameras ready for a spectacular sunset over Crescent Bay. Trust us, your camera will thank you later.

Tide Pool Etiquette & Safety

As we embark on our exploration of the phenomenal tide pools Washington Coast has to offer, there’s something we need to chat about – etiquette and safety.

Now, we know these tide pools are as enticing as a discounted shoe sale, but we’re not here to wreak havoc.

So, let’s dive into the do’s and don’ts of navigating the marine wonderland inside the tide pools.

No Dogs

Now, we know we all love our four-legged friends and would like to include them in every adventure.

But here’s the thing – tide pools on the Washington coast aren’t exactly doggy daycare.

We’re talking sharp rocks that could turn your pooch’s paws into a pin cushion.

And let’s face it, Fido doesn’t know a sea anemone from a chew toy. The fragile ecosystem of these tide pools isn’t dog-proof.

So, leave the pups at home whilst exploring these marine marvels.

a tide pool can be seen at the front of the image surrounded by mossy rocks with the pacific ocean and seastacks in the background, olympic national park tide pools can be found at many of the beaches along the coast

Watch For Returning Tide

Listen up, explorers! This isn’t a casual “catch me if you can” game with the sea.

The tides on the Washington Coast have the sneaky habit of rushing back quicker than you can say “starfish.”

One minute, you’re all dry, and the next, you’re auditioning for a part in a soggy marine documentary.

Keep one eye on the tide pools and one on the horizon. Don’t let the dazzling marine life distract you from your safety.

Wear Sturdy Shoes And Tread Lightly

Let’s get down to footwear – we’re not strolling down a polished catwalk here.

This is the rugged terrain of Washington’s coastline, where tough, sturdy shoes are the stars of the show.

Go for something that says, “I respect the barnacles,” rather than “I’m ready for a beach party.”

And remember, we’re walking on a living landscape, not squishing it underfoot. Tread lightly like you’re tip-toeing around a sleeping dragon.

📎 Tip: The area around tide pools can also be very slick, so walk slowly and with purpose to avoid injury to yourself or the creatures of the tide pools.

Touch Gently

Now, here’s the tricky part – touching.

We know, we know, it’s like telling a kid in a candy store to look but don’t touch.

But here’s the thing – we’re dealing with nature’s delicate art pieces. So, if you must touch, do it like you’re handling a priceless antique.

Never pry or pick up wildlife; they aren’t souvenirs.

If curiosity gets the better of you and you lift a rock, remember to put it back just how you found it. Think of it like tucking them back into bed.

We’re here to appreciate, not disturb. Got it?

low tide at shi shi beach uncovers tide pools and seawood under a blue sky with mountains and green trees in the background

Take Only Photos

We have come to the mantra for every nature enthusiast – take only photos.

This isn’t a treasure hunt where you scour the beach for collectibles to adorn your mantelpiece.

Imagine how you’d feel if someone waltzed into your home and started pocketing your decor. Not so fun, eh?

So, leave the shells, rocks, and that oh-so-tempting starfish right where they are. Their place is here, contributing to this breathtaking tableau, not gathering dust on your shelf.

Ultimately, the only thing you should be taking home is a phone full of stunning photos and a heart full of memories.

What To Look For In The Tide Pools

Now that we’ve laid down the ground rules let’s dive into what you might see in a tide pool. These little pockets of ocean magic are teeming with some of the most fascinating tide pool creatures you could ever imagine.

It’s like discovering the cast of the next big Pixar movie right here in the wild.

Here are some of the more common species, though there are plenty of other wildlife you might glimpse on a visit.

First up, we’ve got the star-studded Sea Stars, also known as starfish.

These guys are like the celebrities of the tide pool, lounging around in all their five-armed glory. They’ve got this cool superhero skill – they can regrow their arms if they lose one!

Next, look out for the Hermit Crabs.

Often mistaken for party-poopers because they’re always home, these fellas are actually the thrift shoppers of the tide pool world. They move from one discarded shell to another as they grow. It’s all about that up-cycle life, baby!

Then, there are the Sea Anemones.

Don’t let their flower-like appearance fool you. They’re fierce predators, ready to snatch up any unwary creature that comes too close with their tentacles.

And last but not least, we’ve got the Mussels.

These hardy little creatures are the master builders of the tide pool universe, creating homes that can withstand the toughest tides.

Remember, when you find these beauties, it’s look but don’t touch. And definitely don’t ask for autographs!

2 people, tiny specks in the image, can be seen walking along the beach next to seastacks and tall green trees

What Time Is Best For Tide Pools

And now, the million-dollar question – when should you visit a tide pool?

Let’s break it down, shall we? Picture the moon and the sun as DJs, controlling the beats of the ocean’s waves. Their gravitational pull dictates the sea’s rhythm, causing the tides to rise and fall.

So, the party in the tide pool neighborhood kicks off during low tide – that’s when the sea’s VIPs make their appearances.

For the optimum experience, consult your local tide chart and plan your visit when the tide’s as low as a limbo champion.

📎 Tip: Low tide will vary depending on the season and the day of the month, so a bit of research will be needed to plan your visit and make the most of your time at low tide. Even if you have been before, always check again for changing tide times.

Map Of The Beaches With Tide Pools In Olympic National Park

Even the most spirited explorers need a map, especially when the treasure is a plethora of tide pool critters just waiting to be admired from afar. Here is where you can find the Olympic National Park tide pools.

Where To Stay Near Olympic National Park

Has a question been nagging at the back of your mind – “Where do I crash after a long day of admiring tide pool critters?”

Worry not, our wave-watching warriors!

We’re diving into the best places to stay in Forks because, let’s be real, the only thing better than being close to the beach is being conveniently close to the beach.

🛏 Misty Valley Inn

  • Scenic surroundings: Nestled in the heart of nature, Misty Valley Inn offers breathtaking views that make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a postcard.
  • Delicious breakfast: Their gourmet breakfasts are a foodie’s dream and provide the perfect fuel for your tide pool adventures.
  • Unique rooms: Each room has its unique charm and theme, ensuring your stay is as memorable as your explorations.

➡️ Check Prices & Availability at Misty Valley Inn

🛏 Pacific Inn Motel

  • Convenience: Located in downtown Forks, the Pacific Inn Motel is a stone’s throw away from local attractions, shopping, and dining.
  • Comfortable accommodations: This motel offers clean, cozy rooms with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.
  • Friendly staff: The welcoming staff are always ready to assist and ensure your stay is hassle-free.

➡️ Check Prices & Availability at Pacific Inn Motel

🛏 Forks Motel

  • Affordability: Forks Motel offers excellent value for money, making it a great option for budget-conscious explorers.
  • Proximity to beaches: Its location makes for an easy commute to the beaches and tide pools in Olympic National Park.
  • Outdoor facilities: It features picnic areas and barbecues for when you want to kick back and relax after a day of exploring the beaches.

➡️ Check Prices & Availability at Forks Motel

shi shi beach at low tide undercovers rocks and tide pools, sea stacks can be seen in the background under a blue sky

Best Way To Get To The Beach Tide Pools

Reaching the beach tide pools in Olympic National Park is a breeze, especially if you have a car.

With winding scenic roads offering breathtaking views, your journey becomes as enjoyable as the destination. A car gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace, stop at vista points, and be ready for those spontaneous beach opportunities as you travel the more than 70-mile coastline.

Once at the beach parking, each beach will have a varying hike to reach the shoreline, from just steps away at Rialto Beach to a couple of miles at Shi Shi Beach.

If you have flown into Seattle and need to rent a car to reach Olympic National Park, we recommend checking out Discover Cars to compare prices. They offer all the big rental companies in one place, like Hertz and Dollar.

🚙 Check ride prices with Discover Cars

What You Should Bring To The tide pools in olympic national park

Here’s where we dive into the nitty-gritty of beach preparedness. Grab your notepad; it’s shopping time!

  • Sturdy Footwear: Your designer flip-flops might look cute, but trust us, you’ll want something with a bit more grip for those slippery rocks. Water-proof hiking boots would be a good option in this case.
  • Sunscreen: Because ‘lobster chic’ really isn’t a thing, no matter what Hollywood says.
  • Water-proof Camera Cover For Phone: For those of you who need to document every nanosecond of your experience. We have these ones, and they work great; we’ve taken them into a lake quarry in Vermont!
  • Binoculars: For when your curiosity extends beyond the reach of your glasses.
  • Rehydration Solutions: Insulated water bottles, sports drinks, whatever keeps you going. The sun and salt can be deceptively dehydrating.
  • Snacks: Tide pool exploration is hungry work, but remember, the starfish aren’t sharing their lunch with you!
  • Towels and Changes of Clothes: Because, let’s be honest, you’re going to get more up close and personal with the water than you’d initially planned. We recommend Turkish Towels (and have these) because they fold small and dry quickly.
a orange starfish can be seen in an exposed tide pool surrounded by rocks

FAQS For Tidepooling In Olympic National Park

It’s time to tackle those burning questions you’ve been bottling up about our salty, splashy friends at Olympic National Park. From the mundane to the bizarre, we’ve got your queries covered.

What Is The Best Beach In Olympic National Park For Tidepools?

Kalaloch Beach 4, in Olympic National Park, is an undisputed favorite for tidepool enthusiasts. With its expansive shoreline dotted with captivating tidepools, you can witness a fascinating display of marine biodiversity. Don’t forget your sense of wonder – every tidepool is a world in miniature waiting to be explored!

Where Are the Tide Pools At Rialto Beach?

Rialto Beach tide pools, a veritable haven for marine life, are typically found at the base of the Hole-in-the-Wall rock formation during low tide. It’s like a hidden underwater city bustling with starfish, anemones, and crustaceans.

What Should You Not Touch In Tide Pools?

While it might be tempting to caress a starfish’s soft, bumpy texture or give a sea anemone a gentle poke, resist the temptation! Any form of contact can disrupt the delicate balance of these fragile ecosystems. So, let’s all remember: Look with your eyes, not your hands, even if that seashell looks like the perfect addition to your mantle!

Where Is The Best Place To See Tidepools In Washington State?

For a spectacular tide pool extravaganza, do a little jig on over to Shi Shi Beach in Washington State. It’s a smorgasbord of marine life tucked into every nook and cranny. It’s like the VIP lounge for starfish and sea anemones.

Are There Octopus In Tide Pools?

While a full-grown, eight-armed octopus might seem a bit big for your average tide pool, their teeny-tiny counterparts, the octo-kiddos – yes, baby octopuses – can sometimes be found exploring these coastal corners. However, remember: as cute as these little squishies might be, they are not cuddle buddies. Admire their charming antics from a distance, no touchy-touchy.

a beach scene along olympic national park shoreline at sunset with a seastack hidden in shadow next the vibrant setting sun lighting up the sky

To Finish – Olympic National Park Tide Pools Not To Miss On A Visit

When you stroll through the majestic Olympic National Park, don’t forget to visit the astonishing tide pools.

These tiny worlds, nestled between the land and sea, house a plethora of fascinating creatures, each with their own quirky characteristics.

From the comfort of your own two feet, you can witness the hustle and bustle of marine life, all while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific Ocean and sea stacks.

Just remember to do your part in preserving the Olympic National Park tide pools by not touching these critters and treading lightly when exploring their environment.

Instead, marvel, enjoy, and let live!

Are tide pools not the only thing you want to see in the park? If you are interested in waterfalls, have we got the list for you!