Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Low tides—Exploring what's under the sea

Super low tides have been one of our favorite activities over the years. Hours of fun exploring the beach in a new way and discovering a wide variety of sea creatures along the way—sea stars, crabs, anemones and more.

With the next round of low tides having started this week (today's is a -3.7 at 1:14PM) and Seattle Aquarium's beach naturalist program starting on Sunday, May 29th I've updated my go-to list from last year. 

How to get started:
  • Check the low tide schedule.
    There are a lot of websites to check tides but I like this one because you can print out a monthly chart. There are also apps for your phone too. Tides that are -1.5 and lower are the best for viewing sea life.
  • Know what's out there with Seattle Aquarium Beach Guide.
    Want to know what you’re seeing? Check out this guide.
  • Explore the beach with a naturalist.
    In addition to exploring on your own, you can also check out this fantastic program through the Seattle Aquarium where beach naturalists are available at specific beaches on certain dates from late-May to mid-August. In West Seattle they are at Constellation Park/Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint and Lincoln Park.
    More info and dates

Where to go:
Here's a map I created of locations all around the peninsula.

North/East—Alki Beach to WS Bridge
These beaches tend to be sandier, especially Alki Beach which has fabulous sandbars with warm pools of water during really low tides but not as many sea critters to see.
  • Alki Beach Park
    1702 Alki Avenue SW
  • Luna Park (aka Anchor Park)
    37 Alki Trail
  • Seacrest Park
    1660 Harbor Avenue SW
  • Jack Block Park
    Terminal 5 / 2130 Harbor Avenue SW
West side of West Seattle—Alki Point along Beach Drive to Lincoln Park
These beaches tend to be much rockier and usually have a lot more sea life to see.
  • Andover Place
    4000 Beach Drive SW
  • Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint (includes Constellation Park and Marine Reserve)*
    63rd Avenue SW and Beach Drive SW
  • Cormorant Cove
    3701 Beach Drive SW
  • Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook
    4503 Beach Drive SW
  • Lincoln Park*
    8011 Fauntleroy Way SW
  • Lowman Beach Park
    7017 Beach Drive SW
  • Weather Watch Park
    4035 Beach Drive SW
*Denotes beach with Seattle Aquarium naturalists during the summer on specific dates.

Tide Pool Etiquette
  • Walk carefully; there is life beneath your feet.
  • Touch gently with one wet finger.
  • Observe animals where they are and avoid picking them up.
  • Only move rocks that are small enough to be moved with one hand. Carefully return rocks to the exact position you found them in.
  • Do not remove anything natural from the beach. Many of the beaches here are protected by law.
  • Carry a small garbage bag to pick up trash.
  • No dogs on the beach.