RUBY REACH, Olympic National Park. ©  Given photography 201 9

RUBY REACH, Olympic National Park. © Given photography 2019

Ruby Beach
Olympic National Park, Washington

This cool little beach is on the southwest coast of Olympic National Park in Washington state. It’s just a bit north of Kalaloch Lodge. A short, slightly steep trail leads to a wondrous span of beach with giant sea stacks that sit right on the beach at low tide. Walk north for close-up views of these jagged giants. Also, you’ll find a small sea arch in these sea stacks. Along the way, you’ll cross a shallow creek. Wear rubber boots or take off your shoes for a nice foot massage in the soft wet sand. Lots of driftwood is piled up on the back beach—great for sitting. Look up for eagles, gulls, shorebirds and other sea birds. To the north a high bluff topped with common pacific coast trees such as sitka spruce, douglas fir, alder, and western hemlock leads to a high headland with a rocky shore. It’s best to visit the beach at low tide. Bonus: If you visit during low tide as the sun dips below the horizon, you’ll feel delighted by the picture you capture for your photo book.

LARABEE STATE Park. ©  Given photography  2019

LARABEE STATE Park. © Given photography 2019

Larrabee State Park

This park is located off Chuckanut Drive. It’s a 26-mile scenic byway that overlooks Samish Bay. Larrabee SP is situated about midway along the drive and well worth stopping for exploration. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the water. You’ll find a mix of trails and stairs to explore that lead to the shore. Sloped rustic stone steps with an old wood handrail lead to a small beach along the water. Beautiful formations of sandstone make up most of the shoreline. Hemlock, fir and madrone trees make up the forest. On the day we visited, I spotted towhees and bushtits in the brush around the trails. Bonus: Immerse yourself in the simple beauty and serenity of this park to feel instantly relaxed.

second beach, olympic national park. ©  given photography  2019

second beach, olympic national park. © given photography 2019

Second Beach
Olympic National Park, Washington

This beach is accessed via a .7 mile trail that’s slightly downhill. You’ll make the final descent on wooden steps that ends at a few feet of driftwood that you’ll need to cross to reach the beach. For a good stroll, head south. The beach is long enough to get a good pace going. Stop every so often to scan the water and sea stacks for swimming and hauled out sea lions, seals and other marine mammals. Head north to explore tide pools. You’ll discover a rich intertidal community with hundreds of tiny sea creatures living in rocky pools of water. Plan your visit during low tide to discover their hidden world. Mussels, anemones, barnacles, and hermit crabs are among the many creatures you might spot.--all fighting to survive the heavy wave shock from changing tides. Second Beach is a place of spectacular beauty. I’ve visited time after time and never tire of it’s magnificence. I always walk back up the trail feeling inspired, energized and happy. Bonus: Bring a journal or notepad because after a walk along this beach clarity is only a scribble away.