next up: Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park
i couldn’t help but cover my eyes and laugh when i heard someone say, “i think that’s the prettiest beach in all of Washington!” i had no idea when i planned this trip, but they were so right! i would like to pretend that I had researched thoroughly and read every “10 best places to visit on the Peninsula” guide on the nets, but i didn’t. i came across pictures of Kalaloch Lodge’s grey weathered siding + bright blue trim perched on the edge of the shore, surrounded in all the shades of green Washington could muster and fell in love. lucky for us, sandy, sunny heaven was part of the package.
zoey has seen Jake and I toting a DSLR around with us for most her life and is always asking to see the image preview, but it wasn’t until this trip that she asked for a chance to shoot (and snapped this little photo of me capturing her moment ^). early the first morning, there was a -.01 tide so Zoey and I ran out the door for a chance to see the ocean rocks + the promised and ever anticipated tide pools.
so crazy cool! together, her much smarter in rubber boots, we climbed all over these giant ocean rocks searching and gasping and pointing at all the colorful sea anemone in greens and pinks. i had major flash backs to my hands-on homeschool days when we’d visit the many many aquariums in our area – – if you poke the middle of an anemone (very gently, and hopefully the right kinds!) they fold in on themselves a little like you’re tickling their tummy. zoey thought it was the best thing ever and we tickled the tummies of basically every fringy creature we could find.
my sweet first born is a true tender heart (her Care Bare personality). she’s soft and sensitive and feels all things a little deeper than those around her. her sweet soul also makes her slow to act, cautious of too new or scary and prone to ask really good questions before following her mom up on giant, barnacle covered rocks that lead to potential land lock on an ocean rock by the returning tide. i love love being her mother and she reminds me daily that i’m raising a real person, one that needs time and respect and patience. patience beyond just waiting for her to lace her shoes herself, but understanding when she needs time to process. that she deserves to know why she’s being asked to do something and that if i’ll just include her in the process, she’s always more than willing to listen and obey. it’s hard! but she’s being shaped by these years and every time i slow down and include her I know i’m making a literal investment into her emotional and mental strength, worth every ounce of energy i have.
our trip overlapped with Mother’s Day and the weather was nothing short of celebratory. I can’t think of a better way to spend the holiday! beaches in the northwest tend to be a rain jacket, dip your toes in only experience, but not this weekend. the sun came out to play by day, and by night. every evening, the guests would come out from their individual cabins and we would gather around the gazebo. the men would work the campfire while the women chased after babies or sipped smooth red wine from clear plastic cups, all waiting to witness the show. nature bragged hard as the sun met the earth in an explosion of color and light, the roar of the waves drowning out any silence between peppered conversations of home and travels. we all stood around with cameras and wide eyes as the sun dipped into the ocean, lowering into a half circle resting on the horizon like the yoke of a fried egg, until it vanished completely leaving only color behind. you haven’t seen a sunset until you’ve seen the sun sink into the sea.
the Olympic Peninsula is covered in beaches you can’t miss, trees that are 3x bigger than any you’ve seen and rainforests layered in thick moss you feel like you’re on another continent. it’s hard to choose what to see first! haystacks, giant rocks in the ocean, are high on my love language and we knew the trail down to the beach was kid friendly so Ruby Beach was a must on our list! with a basket full of dry salami, lime club sodas and trail mix heavy on the m&ms we headed out. such a good choice! the majority of the beach is covered in very round, very flat rocks varying in size from 8″ across to no bigger then a pebble. i wanted to fill up my pockets with them!
this stretch of washington coastline is known for its mass amounts of driftwood that collect on the shore. we’re talking giant trees with stumps still attached that have been sanded smooth from the push and pull of the waves and tide all piled up on each other five and six logs deep. getting the girls across the “pile” of driftwood to the ocean on the other side was the only tricky part of this trip. jake made 3 trips each time, once with zoey on his shoulders, once to hold my hand as i climbed over with quinn on my back, and once more to bring all our bags, buckets and baskets across. good man that one! Kalaloch Lodge is made up of over 40 individual cabins lined up along the shore in addition to the main lodge + restaurant. not only does each cabin have a fully equipped kitchen or kitchenette, but step out your front door, walk down a carefully carved out path next to the gazebo and you’re on warm sandy beach within 50 feet. we try to stick together for as much of our trips as we can, but when quinn needed a nap or zoey needed some quiet time for stories and cuddles, jake and I could divide and conquer with no trouble, one at the cabin and the other with plenty to choose from outside.
if you haven’t grabbed costco’s sand castle bucket set, go now! 14 pieces for under $10 and ^we’re proof^ that big, fun castles can be made quick! there’s nothing worse than sand buckets that break off the top half of your castle. nothing.
if you get the chance to visit this little stretch of America, definitely make time for Creekside Restaurant inside the main lodge. there’s not much for dining miles around and this was the perfect place to enjoy Mother’s Day dinner. gorgeous views of the mouth of the river, wonderful service and always fish + chips. we couldn’t have asked for a better partner for our beachside getaway! we do our absolute best to only recommend what we believe in, tried and true, and we genuinely add Kalaloch Lodge to that list. if you need to unplug from screens and cell service and bury your toes in the softest sand, go visit! super special thank you to the whole team at Kalaloch! we’ll be back!