Bull Kelp and Surfing: The Beaches of the Olympic Peninsula

What do you picture when you think of the beaches in Olympic Peninsula in Washington? Fog? Sand burrs? While those do exist, there's a lot more to do there than you would think.

You may be surprised, but there's quite a bit of surfing in the area. The waves won't be as big as other places known for surfing, like San Diego, but with a wetsuit on, it's still a fun experience. Make sure to wear water shoes on the beach, though. The bull kelp can pile up.

Along with the bull kelp, quite a bit of driftwood floats up on the beaches. This is perfect to use as materials to build a fort or a sculpture.

Another great activity is to visit is one of the many tide pools in the area. You could see anemones, crabs, and even a couple starfish. Wear sandals with good grip, as algae grow on the mussel beds and rocks you want to use as footholds. Some places even have walkways to the tide pools, so if you're balance-challenged, you may be able to view some of the pools from concrete, like at Salt Creek Recreation Area near Neah Bay, Washington.

Another thing you could do is take a simple walk on the beach. The sunsets can be gorgeous.

Be aware, though, that the State of Washington allows some beaches to be privately owned. Always make sure to check the ownership of the strip of sand you're on before you start surfing, fort building, or whatever you intend to do. One way is to stand on the beach and wait for someone to come out and yell at you. This isn't the recommended way, but it works. Another is to check with the police department. Either way, make sure to carefully look for “Private Property” signs, which might be hidden by beach grass.

If you're looking for something different this vacation, try hitting the beach in Washington. From tide pools to kelp, you'll find something to hold your interest.

Posted September 14, 2013 to Wandering Educators

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