Take off for the Washington coast. Fall’s a better time to take the drive than you might think. You can indulge in a romantic getaway with walks on solitary beaches, dinners before the fire and windswept vistas, or take the family to romp on the sand and watch for a far-off whale spout. If you use the Kalaloch area as your base, there are plenty of things to see and do this time of year.
“During October and November, gray whales begin their migration south,” said Judy Lively, an Olympic coast interpreter at Olympic National Park. “The park’s coastal areas are right along their path.”
The best place to whale-watch is from the beaches and high ocean overlooks along U.S. 101: Destruction Island Overlook, Beach 6, Kalaloch Lodge and South Beach.
Lively recommends bringing binoculars since the whales are farther out than when they migrate north in the spring.
If the whales are not cooperating, you can admire the Big Cedar Tree, walk the Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail or play at Ruby Beach.
Look for the 174-foot-tall Big Cedar (hard to miss) just off 101 near Beach 6. The original western red cedar, which has been dead for many years, is being used as a standing nurse log for hundreds of trees and plants.
The hollow base is roomy enough for several people to stand in it. Photo op!
A groomed trail with boardwalks, the Kalaloch Creek trail is a 1 1/2-mile loop with 200 feet of elevation gain. You might see some elk as they escape upper-elevation snow.
Ruby Beach is a great place to play — when the weather is good — and to watch the power of nature as storms roll in.
Both Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds are first-come, first-served this time of year.
Kalaloch Lodge offers hotel rooms and cabins, and a nice place to eat, Creekside Restaurant, which has a view and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.