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Low Tide Beach Scavenger Hunt for Seattle-Area Families

9 fascinating sea creatures to search for on any Puget Sound beach

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Published on: February 06, 2024

Dad and two little kids looking at rocky beach and tide pool finds
So many treasures to find at low tide

Tide-pooling treasures to search for around Puget Sound

From Alki to Carkeek, Dash Point to Camano, we’re lucky to have a plethora of family-friendly beaches for some science-y fun outdoor time. It might seem counterintuitive to head off to a chilly, blustery beach this time of year, but there’s something energizing about the crashing waves, sea-salty scents and all that nature at your fingertips. It certainly beats screen time.

The beach can be fun on stormy and clear days alike, but we recommend you time your tide pool beach adventure according to the tide, not the prevailing weather conditions. Exploring tide pools is best when the water is low, so aim to be there during a negative tide to search for the sea creatures on our list. Refer to NOAA’s Tide Predictions chart to track highs and lows in your area.

Wondering where to start? Head to any of these Seattle-area beaches at low-tide to discover treasures and creatures in tide pools left behind by the waves:

  • Carkeek. Known for it’s popular salmon slide and great views of trains (always a crowd pleaser), this popular beach offers excellent tide-pool fun. 
  • Discover Park. It’s a bit of a hike to this beach at Seattle’s largest city park, but worth it every time. Not only will you see lots of fun stuff at low-tide, there is also a lighthouse to marvel at. And don't forget to stop by the Environmental Learning Center to access trail maps and other information.
  • Golden Gardens. Just minutes from the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Golden Gardens is a great beach for families. There is plenty to explore at low-tide, and you just might see some sail boats passing by against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. 
  • Beach parks in Edmonds. There are four waterfront parks in Edmonds: Brackett’s Landing North and South, Marina Beach Park and Olympic Beach. Each park has different amenities, including a marine sanctuary, waterfront paths, play areas and restrooms. And, of course, plenty of low-tide adventures. Head to The Olympic Beach Visitor Station for a chance to talk with a naturalist and learn even more about marine animals and the waterfront.  
  • Constellation Park/Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint. Just around West Seattle's Lighthouse Point lies the rocky shores of Constellation Park and the elusive sea life that emerge at low tide. Throughout the year, you can often find Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists leading programs here. 
  • Seahurst Park. After exploring the shores of this Burien beach during low tide, kids can play on the nature-themed playground and enjoy the view. 

Up first: sea star

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