Where to find a Tidepool near Seattle

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tidepool animals
Tidepool animals clustered in a tidepool at Salt Creek Recreation Area

As long as I can remember, I have loved tidepools! 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 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. Today we’ll talk about where to find a tidepool near Seattle, and how to know when tides are low, and what to bring.

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.  You can follow along with the days and times of tides here.

What to bring 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.

tidepool exploring salt creek recreation area with mountains
Tidpooling on a clear winter day at Salt Creek Recreation Area with Vancouver Island in the distance

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.

Salish sea seastar tidepool
Seastars in a tidepool in the Salish Sea
sea urchin in tidepool
Sea Urchins are common tidepool animals in the Salish Sea and on the Olympic Coast
sun star in tidepool
Sunstar in a tidepool
Two orange seastars, one purple seastar and two green anemones in a tidepool.
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Jennie Flaming
Jennie Thwing Flaming, Chief Adventure Officer: Jennie's life has been a continual quest for adventure (of the non-adrenalin inducing kind) from birth till now. Professionally, she pursues adventures in teaching, counseling and working to obliterate institutional racism for students in our region's public schools and also works as a tour and hiking guide. Previous professional adventures include working in schools in Seattle and Alaska, leading tours and managing tour guides and presenting traveling science shows and lessons with Pacific Science Center. She believes in sharing her beloved Pacific Northwest home with visitors. She likes to be outdoors and spend time with the people she loves. Jennie is born and raised in Seattle and has also lived in Alaska and the Netherlands.