Ruby Beach is one of the best beaches in Olympic National Park. In a national park known for straight-up stellar scenery, Ruby Beach kicks things up a notch. Come here to explore, but be prepared to take a million photos. It’s just so scenic.
Ruby Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Olympic National Park, and once you see it, it’s obvious why. The beach has a bit of everything. Like the better-known Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast, Ruby Beach has sea stacks, which are towers of rock that dot the sand and shore. While the sea stacks at Ruby Beach aren’t quite as towering as Cannon Beach’s famous Haystack Rock, there are a lot more of them here, of all shapes and sizes. Abbey Island is the largest of the sea stacks and is located just offshore. Bring some binoculars and you can often spot wildlife that lives on the “island.”
This beach is also known for its driftwood, which can be a lot of fun to climb over, photograph, or explore around. In fact, you’ll need to climb over some to get down to the beach. Due to the driftwood and rockiness of the beach, this isn’t the kind of beach that lends itself to bare feet or flip flops. Bring at least a pair of sturdy water sandals, or better yet, rainboots.
You’ll find plenty of tide pools to explore, especially around the rock formations. Critters you will likely spot in the tide pools include starfish, urchins, anemones, and small crabs. If tide pooling is important to you, make sure the check the tide charts before you go and visit during low tide.
Don’t miss the sunset on a clear day. This spot is picturesque even in bad weather, but goes off the charts on a clear, summer evening when the sun hangs low in the sky!
What Else is Nearby
One of the reasons Ruby Beach is popular is because of its proximity to Kalaloch Lodge, a historic hotel complete with cabins right on the ocean. What more could you need in life? It’s a great place to stay any time of year. During warmer months, you can wander along Kalaloch Beach nearby. During winter months, watch storms roll in from the warmth of your hotel room.
There’s the Kalaloch Ranger Station as well where you can find information about the coast, places to see, get your National Parks Passport stamped, check out the bookstore, or take a guided walk or talk in the summer.
If what you seek are natural pursuits (and it probably is because that’s why people come to this part of the world), you’re in luck. To the north, you’ll find the Hoh Rainforest (one of a few rainforests in Olympic National Park) and Hoh River (great for fishing for trout, salmon, or steelhead, and a fine place to see wildlife as well).
All around, you’ll find hiking and camping opportunities. In fact, some of the best hiking in the area starts right at Ruby Beach – you can hike north right on the sand for two miles and reach the mouth of the Hoh River.
Ruby Beach is super easy to get to, located just off of Highway 101 about 10 minutes north of Kalaloch Lodge and Kalaloch Beach. The drive is a straight shot up Highway 101 and you won’t see much else along the way other than lots of trees and greenery and long stretches of ocean. There is a sign for Ruby Beach and it is quite literally right off of Highway 101.
The parking lot does have a restroom (unlike some other nearby beaches). It can also get quite full on busy weekends during the summer. You must walk a dirt trail down from the parking lot to the beach, but it’s pretty easy and manageable with a sturdy stroller.
Note you’ll need a National Park Pass to park at the beach.
Other Things to Know about ONP
We’ve got all kinds of other articles about the Olympic National Park as this is one of our favorite places to go. Check out:
- The Ultimate Guide to the Olympic National Park
- The Best Beaches in Olympic National Park
- Where to Stay in Olympic National Park
- The 10 Best Hikes with Kids in Olympic National Park
- Olympic Peninsula Fun: Staircase, Hoodsport and Lake Cushman