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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: Ruby Beach and the Olympic Peninsula West Coast

March 20, 2014 at 2:42 PM | by | ()

Seattle, home of the Space Needle, Starbucks, and so much more, is worth a trip to the Pacific Northwest alone – but not exploring further what Washington State has to offer while you’re there would be a shame. This week, we’re completing our look at a few options for a one-day or multi-day trip from the city.

Part 4: Ruby Beach and the West Coast (see here for part 1, part 2, and part 3)

When you re-join the U.S. 101 having explored the Hoh River Valley and the only temperate rainforest in the contiguous United States, it soon heads to the west coast of the Olympic peninsula, following the coastline for a 17-mile stretch before heading back inland.

Where the highway first meets the coast, it’s worth taking the exit to Ruby Beach, so named for its pink sand, which gets its unusual color from the tiny grains of garnet it is made of. Leave your car behind in the designated lot and it’s a short walk through the forest to the water. We were here on a particularly cloudy and blustery afternoon, which resulted in a greyer look than normal (especially on camera), but it’s a very pretty spot nonetheless.

You can walk in either direction to explore further and easily find some solitude if you’re looking for it.

As you continue driving down the 101, there are turnoffs for five additional (numbered) beaches. During the right season, some are good spots for whale watching.

The 101 will eventually take you to Aberdeen and Grays Harbor, where you have the choice to continue heading south or turning back east via the 12 and the 8 to Olympia and the Seattle area. If you’re looking for a place to stay the night right on the beach, leave the 101 a bit earlier and head back to the coast at Moclips, a perfect spot to watch the sun set over the Pacific.

Have any other suggestions for the Olympic Peninsula or the Pacific Northwest? Tell us in the comments.

[Photos: JasonD]

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