As long as I can remember, I have loved tidepooling. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived by a beach on the Kitsap penninsula that had fantastic tidepools. We planned our days around the low tide since everyone knows that the best time to go to the beach. As an adult, I still love to explore the many mysteries of tidepools. This is a great activity for kids and curious adults alike, and it can be enjoyed any time of year in any weather without leaving town! It’s also a great educational opportunity to learn about an ecosystem and adaptations of animals who live there.
During the spring and summer we typically have some very low tides. Any low tide will show interesting tidepools, but the lower it is the more exciting. I definitely pay attention to minus tides, especially ones that are minus more than one foot. When we have tides that are –2 or –3 (a handful of times per year) I make a special effort to check them out. This year we have very low tides on Memorial day weekend, the last weekend of June and the fourth weekend of July. You can follow along with the days and times of tides here.
What to bring along tidepooling?
The most important thing to bring is rubber boots (even in summer), this will protect your feet from getting scraped up on rocks (which happens in sandals), will help keep you from slipping on slippery rocks, and also keeps your feet dry. It’s also a good idea to bring sunglasses and a hat, and a field guide so you can identify all those interesting tidepool creatures.
Where can I go?
There are lots of great tidepools in regional city parks such as Constellation park in West Seattle (around the corner from Alki beach), Richmond Beach park in Shoreline, Seahurst park in Burien, Brackett’s Landing park in Edmonds (adjoining the ferry terminal on the north side), Saltwater State park in Des Moines and Titlow park in Tacoma. At many Seattle beaches on low tides on summer days, the Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists will be out to help you identify the animals and learn about their tidepool home.
If you want to head further away from town and make tidepooling part of a larger adventure, Olympic National Park has incredible tidepools, Salt Creek County Park near Port Angeles and Deception Pass State Park near Anacortes are all great options!
When tidepooling, remember to watch your feet to protect the fragile environment and the animals working hard at survival until the high tide returns, and don’t remove any animals.