Posts Tagged With: tide pools

Olympic National Park

After 10 wonderful weeks in Oregon we moved on to Washington where my parents would be joining us for a couple of weeks. Our first stop in WA was Port Angeles in the Olympic Peninsula. My parents flew into Seattle which was about 3 hours away but the closest airport for them to fly into. We had a fun day of planes, trains & automobiles (and ferries too!) when we went to pick them up. I will write a separate post about Seattle later.

While we were in Port Angeles we visited Olympic National Park. This park is huge and takes up most of the northwestern part of the state. It includes mountains, lakes, the ocean and even a rain forest!


Port Angeles is near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center so our first adventure at Olympic was hiking up to Hurricane Ridge. The views were spectacular! We were blessed with a beautiful, clear day and could see Victoria, British Columbia across the water where we went the next day. Stay tuned for a post about that amazing city.







After the strenuous climb it was time for a snack break!


Later that week we went to visit some other areas of Olympic that were close to Port Angeles including Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent.


Marymere Falls


Lake Crescent

It was quite smoky in the area that day due to wildfires in the northwest so it’s hard to get a good idea of just how clear this lake is. Standing over the edge of the dock the water was so clear you could see straight down to the bottom which was probably over 8 feet deep at that point, but it was really hard to tell.

We took an overnight trip over to the town of Forks, WA where the Twilight novels were based. This is the western side of Olympic but quite a drive from Port Angeles which is why we decided to spend the night instead of driving back and forth 2 days in a row.

Our first stop on this side of the park was the amazing Hoh Rain Forest. Near constant fog and mist in addition to 12 to 14 feet of rain each year result in this lush rain forest which has been designated one of the 7 wonders of Washington state.



Hall of Mosses


The boys earned their Junior Ranger badges at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.


Next we headed over to Ruby Beach which was beautiful and so much fun!






I love looking for colorful sea creatures in the tide pools, but I didn’t find any here, probably because the tide was coming back in.


Jake decided to build a raft out of driftwood and float down the waterways. Jesse decided to join him. I nicknamed them Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. 🙂



Grampa liked skipping rocks.


The next morning we woke up to a rainy day. I know that is not uncommon for the Pacific Northwest, but we had been very blessed with mostly beautiful days for the entire summer. Anyway, we weren’t going to let a little rain keep us from searching the early morning low tide pools at Rialto Beach.

At first it was just a little drizzle and fog, not too bad as we hiked to Hole-in-the-Wall and Split Rock.



Split Rock

The rain picked up and we all got soaked, not to mention we were freezing! I don’t know about the rest of my people, but for me it was worth it. I saw the most beautiful and colorful starfish there. These were the best tide pools I saw in all of our time in the PNW!



I had been searching for a purple sea urchin for weeks and never did find one, but I did see this beautiful purple starfish which was good enough for me.



We saw lots of these green sea anemones everywhere!


Chris and Jesse hung in there with me for a while longer after Gramma, Grampa and Jake decided they had enough of the cold and rain and headed back to the truck.

Jesse collected lots of rocks.


We made it to Hole-in-the-Wall, looking just a little bit like drowned rats and feeling just a little bit cold!



It was worth it to me at least. Look at this wonderland of tide pools just waiting to be explored! I could have stayed here all day if we weren’t wet and freezing.


After this we walked/ran as quickly as we could back to some dry clothes and a warm truck. We had planned to go up to Cape Flattery next, the northwestern most point in the lower 48 states, but since the weather wasn’t cooperating we headed back to our cozy little home back in Port Angeles.

Up next… 2 beautiful days in Victoria, Canada.

Categories: National Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cape Perpetua and Seal Rock

This post wraps up the remainder of the places we visited while in the Newport area. If you missed the post about the lighthouses you can see it here: Yaquina and Heceta Head Lighthouses.

Cape Perpetua is best visited during high tide, while Seal Rock is best visited during low tide. I’m thankful for Trip Advisor where I find all of these useful tips!

Cape Perpetua

This park has some amazing displays of the Pacific during high tide. Sometimes pictures just do not do it justice and a video is a better representation, so I uploaded a couple of videos that I hope will display properly here.

The first one is Thor’s Well. This is a deep hole that fills and empties continuously during high tide. It’s really cool!

The second one shows the powerful surf crashing against the rocks and getting the camera operator (me!) wet. By the way, that’s not me yelling in the background; it’s some random stranger. 😉

We started the day driving up to the scenic viewpoint since we couldn’t find any parking at the Thor’s Well area. It was worth it for this view!


When we went back down to the parking lot we were able to find a spot, so we got out and explored the Thor’s Well area with all the incredible displays that happen twice a day at high tide.



Thor’s Well




The boys liked catching tadpoles in the tide pools.


Then we took the scenic walk over to the other section of the park to see the Devil’s Churn.


A little Peace and Love for the walk.

The Devil’s Churn is an area where the surf comes in and fills up this little inlet. By the time we got there the tide was not at the high point anymore so we didn’t see quite the display we saw at Thor’s Well, but still cool nonetheless.




Devil’s Churn

We even saw whales from here! It’s very hard to get a good picture of one, but can you see the spray out there? The grey spot under it is a whale and the spray was where it just spouted.


Seal Rock State Park

Seal Rock is best visited during low tide for the beautiful tide pools. Jake and I love searching all the tide pools for colorful sea creatures, while Chris and Jesse play ball on the beach.


Seal Rock





During our 3 weeks in Newport we had 9 straight days of cloudy, foggy and drizzly weather. It was also very cold for August! I can’t complain because other than those 9 days we had beautiful weather the rest of the time we spent in Oregon (a total of 10 weeks). But I can certainly understand how some people that live in dreary weather for extended periods of time can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression. I was really glad when the sun finally came out when we moved on to our next stop at Cape Lookout which I will write about next time. Cheers to sunny skies!

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Yaquina and Heceta Head Lighthouses

Oregon Coast lighthouses are incredible! Just before we came to Oregon I heard from the Road Trip Teacher about a lapbook/notebook study she has available about the Oregon Coast lighthouses. My kids did the entire study on all of the lighthouses in Oregon. We learned so much about the history of these lighthouses before even visiting them which made our visits that much more interesting.

This post covers 2 of the lighthouses we visited while in the Newport area.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse was our favorite and it is also the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. We were able to tour the inside which made it even better.


The tours are free, but if you go on a weekend (or possibly even a weekday in the summer) it’s not likely you’ll get a spot. We reserved a tour ahead of time online and when we showed up on a Saturday they did not have any spots left for anyone that had not reserved online. It costs $1.50/person to reserve online and I thought that was reasonable since we were planning to visit on a Saturday in the summer and it was nice to know we had a spot.

Anyway, the lighthouse tour was great! The tour guide explained the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. She explained about the oil they used and how much they needed at various times of the year depending on how much daylight there was at that time of the year. We were able to walk up to the top of the lighthouse and see the light going on and off.



It was incredible!

Outside of the lighthouse the views were gorgeous!



Just outside the lighthouse was a fabulous place for tide pools during low tide!




Yaquina Head is part of the National Park service so the kids were able to earn another Junior Ranger badge there.


After the lighthouse we drove up the coast a little further to Otter Crest Loop in Depoe Bay. We saw whales in Depoe Bay, but unfortunately no pictures of them.


Otter Crest


Dungeness crab trying to survive in the tide pool until the tide comes back in.


Otter Crest


Depoe Bay, Oregon

At Otter Crest we checked out the devil’s punchbowl which is a large rock hole that water from the Pacific fills in at high tide and goes out at low tide. It was really cool! We were there at low tide when it was nearly empty, but went back again on a different day at high tide.


Devil’s Punchbowl at low tide.

I was expecting to see it full at high tide, but it was not much higher than what we saw at low tide.


Devil’s Punchbowl at high tide.

We went to visit Heceta Head lighthouse on a different weekend. Like all Oregon lighthouses it was quite beautiful also.



These are some pictures of the surrounding ocean views from the lighthouse.



Oh my goodness, I could never get enough of the beauty of the Oregon coast! We visited some other lighthouses along the way, so stay tuned.


Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pacific Coast Highway – Day II

If you missed my post about Day 1 you can see it here: Pacific Coast Highway – Day I.  The next day we headed north of Santa Cruz. Everything we did this day was thanks to the advice of my blogger friend at Weekend Campervanning, and it turned out to be such a fun day!

Our first stop was at Ano Nuevo State Park to see the elephant seals. Wow! So many seals and they make such interesting sounds. Check out my YouTube video below to hear them yourself.


Beginning of hike to go see the elephant seals; beautiful views along the way!



So many elephant seals all in one place!





These seals migrate to this beach twice a year to breed and to molt. At this time of the year they are there to molt or shed their first layer of skin. I found it so interesting that they migrate thousands of miles each year. How do they know to keep coming back to this exact location? Fascinating! I could have literally sat there and watched these animals all day long, but after about an hour or so my people were getting anxious to move on to something else.

Our next stop was at Bean Hollow State Beach to check out the tide pools which were very cool!







On the way back down towards Santa Cruz we stopped at a couple of beautiful view points. Notice how some pictures have clear, blue skies while others are foggy? It’s very strange how we can drive just a few miles down the road and the skies go from completely foggy to clear!



Our last stop was at Swanton Berry Farm to pick fresh, organic strawberries. Yummy!



While we were in this area we stayed at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA campground. This was a very expensive campground and not what we normally spend, but it seems everything in this part of California is expensive so we had to splurge. This KOA though is one of the nicest we have ever been to. Our campsite had a deck/patio in back, a great place to relax! The activities for kids at this place were awesome! The kids loved the bounce pad the best.


The pool was under construction, but it was too cold when we were there anyway so we didn’t mind that it wasn’t open yet. They had a very nice playground, mini golf, a climbing wall and scheduled activities each day including bingo which we loved.



One of the scheduled activities included a hole-in-one contest at mini golf that Jesse won. His prize was a free bike rental so we tried out the four-seater bike to ride around the park.


We enjoyed our stay at that KOA so much and really enjoyed visiting the nearby areas along the Pacific Coast. After we left there we went to stay at a Thousand Trails park for free for 2 weeks to offset the cost. 😉 I know, it’s not technically free since we had to buy the membership to Thousand Trails, but if we stay at enough of those parks throughout the year it really makes camping cheap, and helps to offset the more expensive places we go.


Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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