Tag Archives: beach
June 4, 2012

Olympic National Park: Rialto Beach

We spent two weekends in May exploring various parts of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and because the area is just so beautiful and quickly becoming one of my favorite places in the United States, I took way too many photos. The below shots are from Rialto Beach, a classic Pacific Northwest beach replete with barriers of driftwood, giant Douglas-fir trees, distant sea stacks, and, of course, fog.

The Olympic Range

I stuck my toes in the water. FREEZING!

All photos here.

September 8, 2011

Olympic National Park: Hoh Rain Forest and the coast

This past weekend we took a daytrip to the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, which is a four hour drive from Seattle. I’ve wanted to visit the rain forest since we arrived in Seattle two months ago and figured we should do it while the weather was decent (as it turned out, “decent” was an understatement – it was 80 degrees and clear skies on Saturday).

On our way to the rain forest we stopped at the park’s Kalaloch Area, which features several miles of unspoiled beaches. I was surprised how warm the water was – I expected it to be much, much colder.

We continued onward to the Hoh Rain Forest where we hiked (well, more like strolled) the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Nature Trails. The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States and receives 141 to 165 inches of precipitation per year. The forest is incredibly beautiful and unique, featuring large bigleaf maples and Sitka spruces draped with thick clumps of moss and a floor of lush ferns.

After our short hike through the rain forest, we headed back to the coast for a quick stop at Second Beach. I had heard good things about this particular beach, and it did not disappoint. To reach the beach from the parking lot, you must hike a .7 mile trail through lush, green forest, but eventually rays of sunshine penetrate the thick canopy and the trees begin to thin out, treating you to some spectacular coastal scenery.

We had a long drive back to Seattle that evening, but stopped at 8th St Ale House in Hoquiam for dinner. After a long day enjoying the great outdoors, what could be better than a pint of beer and fish & chips?

The rest of the photos are here. Enjoy!

May 23, 2011

Point Reyes National Seashore

“It is no longer a question of whether or not we should set aside some more of the yet remaining native California landscape as ‘breathing space’…If we do not, we will leave our children a legacy of concrete treadmills leading nowhere except to other congested places like those they will be trying to get away from.” – Former Congressman Clem Miller, author of legislation to create Point Reyes National Seashore

We left San Francisco early in the morning, as we had a grueling 300 mile drive up CA-1 to the city of Eureka. On our trip north, though, we made a slight detour to Point Reyes National Seashore, located 50 miles northwest of San Francisco on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County.

One of the first things you will notice about Point Reyes is that it is inhabited by cows. A lot of cows, most of them looking quite content to live on some of the most beautiful real estate in California. The cattle ranches and dairy farms within the National Seashore were established in the mid-1800s, and produced renowned butters and cheeses that were used in high-end hotels and restaurants in San Francisco. When the National Park Service created Point Reyes National Seashore, the agreement allowed many of the remaining dairy farms and cattle ranches to continue operating.

This is why happy cows come from California.

An escapee. Be careful when driving through Point Reyes, as there are many cows on the loose.

It was foggy, of course

Point Reyes is the windiest location on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. The Point Reyes Lighthouse was built in 1870 to warn mariners away from the treacherous rocks that define the Point Reyes Headlands. Due to the high fog that plagues the Headlands, the lighthouse had to be built very low so that mariners would be able to see it.

It’s a tough climb, but it’s worth it. And you won’t feel as guilty when you dig into some tasty fish and chips with a pint of beer later in the day.

Local wildlife

Drake’s Bay, named after the explorer Sir Francis Drake. According to many historians, Point Reyes is the site where, during his circumnavigation of the world, Drake landed in 1579, claiming a portion of the North American Pacific Coast for England.

Elephant seals

Point Reyes beach. Beautiful, with good surf, but pretty sure the water is teaming with Great White Sharks.

More photos are here.

May 19, 2011

The Marin Headlands

After driving through Big Sur, we stopped for some delicious clam chowder in Monterey and continued north to San Francisco. The following morning, at my friend Adam’s suggestion, we drove to Battery Spencer, in the Marin Headlands, for some amazing views of Golden Gate Bridge and the city.

Other than seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, we didn’t have any particular plans for that day, so continued driving along Conzelman Road, further into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. And I’m glad we did, because the views were incredible.

We decided to park the car and hike down to the beach

We drove out to the Point Bonita lighthouse, but it was closed.

We came across SF-88, a former Nike Missile Site. I was surprised to see this well-preserved piece of Cold War history in the midst of such beauty. SF-88 is the only restored Nike missile site in the United States. Opened in 1954, this site was part of the last line of defense against Soviet bombers. With the advent of ICBMs, these missile batteries became obsolete, and this site was decommissioned in 1974.

The ranger on-site gives a very thorough tour, and even allows you to ride the missile elevator down into the storage area.

Heading back into the city

The rest of the Bay Area photos are here.

January 21, 2011

POTD: Safaga beach, Egypt

It’s not quite the beaches of Southern California or the Outer Banks, but the Red Sea isn’t bad. Safaga is a sleepy port on the Red Sea, lacking the excitement of its northern cousin, Sharm-El-Sheikh. Still, there are plenty of options for tourists in this small town, especially if you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving. We visited Safaga on a whim, after booking cheap flights to Luxor from London, arriving there, and deciding we wanted to see something different after several days of touring Ancient Egyptian sites. Safaga is approximately a three hour drive from Luxor and includes your very own police convoy.

January 20, 2011


Outer Banks, North Carolina in September 2010 after the Labor Day rush. One of the few places on the East Coast that I will miss.

December 8, 2010

Camping in Assateague

In mid-October we spent a weekend camping at Assateague National Seashore, a barrier island off the coast of Maryland (south of Ocean City) and Virginia that is one of my favorite places on the east coast. Since Assateague is only a 2.5-3 hour drive from the DC area (wow, did I just say only?) and campsites are booked solid through the summer, we usually just go out there for the day. Starting in mid-October, however, reservations start to dwindle as the temperatures drop, giving us an opportunity to book a campsite for the weekend.

Was it cold? Oh, yeah. Daytime temps hovered in the 60-70 range (with a heavy dose of wind) and dropped to the 40s at night. Thankfully, we had picked up plenty of wood to feed the campfire. It was a bit too cold to go in the water or just relax on the beach like we did in the Outer Banks the previous month, so we did some short hikes around the island, drank a lot of beer, grilled hot dogs, and toasted marshmallows for smores.

Here are some of the photos I took that weekend:

The bayside area

Duly noted!

Here you can barely see the remains of Baltimore Boulevard, a road constructed in 1950 as part of a plan to develop the island. In 1962, a large storm destroyed the road and several houses on the island. Further development was stopped and in 1965 the island was declared a National Seashore.

Maryland don’t surf

Campsites are close to the beach

We spotted the famous Assateague ponies while we were driving to Ocean City for lunch. No one is quite sure how these ponies came to live on the island, but one far-fetched theory claims they are the descendants of ponies who swam to the island after the Spanish galleon they were being transported on wrecked off the island. Nevertheless, they are here to stay…and stand in the middle of the road…and rummage through the coolers of campers who failed to heed park ranger instructions. It’s their island, and they know it.

Pony attacks Jay’s car.

More Assateague photos here.

October 14, 2010

POTD: Tucker at Assateague

One of my favorite dogs at one of my favorite beaches. I’m heading out to Assateague Island this weekend for some well-deserved relaxation.

April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday on Assateague Island

Assateague Island National Seashore is perhaps my favorite place on the East Coast. Assateague is a barrier island located off the eastern coast of Maryland and Virginia and is a scenic three hour drive from Washington. I love it out there because it’s undeveloped (no gaudy boardwalk scene) and there is plenty of room for people to spread out. Of course, when it’s April and 59 degrees you don’t really have to worry about crowds. Here are a few photos of today’s trip to Assateague:

Tucker loves the beach

American pose…in America. Don’t usually do that.

Tucker thinks he is a lapdog, BTW.

We’ll be back in the summer, when it’s a bit warmer.

September 2, 2008

OBX: Cape Hatteras National Seashore

On Monday morning I drove down to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, about 60 miles south of our hotel in Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The surf in KDH had been rather disappointing (completely flat on Saturday, and blown out and choppy on Sunday) so I was hoping that Hatteras would offer something better. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case, but I didn’t mind, because it was absolutely beautiful down there.

The Cape Hatteras Light, built in 1870, is the tallest lighthouse in the United States. The lighthouse was moved inland several years ago due to erosion of the shoreline at its original site.

More on the actual trip later…