To Nap or To Explore: Olympic National Park’s Ruby Beach

While on our camping trip in the Olympic National Park last month we were faced with an important decision: To Nap or Not to Nap?  After an early lunch on our first full day, we had to decide with whether to try putting Bergen (2 years old) down for a nap or to press on and explore more of the coastal area beyond the boarders of our campground.

We feared it may have been too early for him to go down, and since Bergen had such a good night’s sleep, we decided on the latter.   We made the  short 15 minute drive north from our base at Kalaloch to Ruby Beach (with a detour at the Big Cedar Tree).  When we arrived and turned the corner on the short trail down to the beach, I was immediately thankful that we scratched the nap idea.

Olympic National Park's Ruby Beach | WildTalesof.com

Who knows if he would have napped? Who knows for how long the nap would have lasted? And who knows if we would have ventured back out of camp after all? Also, we could just try for a nap when we returned.

Instead of napping in his tent, Bergen took a break and rested in the backpack carrier.  As we walked along the beach full of sea stacks, driftwood, and silky smooth rocks worn down by the constant ebb and flow of the sea, we actually got a break ourselves.  Bergen was content taking in everything from above while we relaxed into our walk without a worry of chasing after a pair of mini (but quick) legs.

Olympic National Park's Ruby Beach | WildTalesof.com

Ruby Beach is popular even on foggy, misty day like this one.  While it might look like spring or fall, we were visiting in what I think of as the middle of summer here in Western Washington, early August.  High travel season.  After talking to the ranger, it turns out though that the coastal areas in which we were visiting have their best sunny-clear-blue-sky weather in June and July.  We were just a week or so shy of those glorious sunsets we’d heard about.

To break free from the crowds, we only needed to walk a short distance from the immediate entrance area and then we felt like we had the beach to ourselves with just a few fishermen and other meandering visitors.

Olympic National Park's Ruby Beach | WildTalesof.com

We definitely had to be mindful of the tides here.  As the water climbed higher and higher and with so many large rocks and obstacles in the way, we realized at one point, it would be pretty tricky to get back if we didn’t act quickly.  This turned into a natural end to our little Ruby Beach exploration.

Olympic National Park's Ruby Beach | WildTalesof.com

And if you’re wondering whether or not a later nap worked out, just like the early nap…it didn’t happen.  We apparently missed that sweet-spot, and the little guy was not at all interested in sleep.  We were okay with that.  It just meant we could get back to the beach, and then back to camp for an early bedtime!

How do you handle naps (for your little ones or YOU!) while traveling? 

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Olympic National Park's Ruby Beach | WildTalesof.com

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9 thoughts on “To Nap or To Explore: Olympic National Park’s Ruby Beach

  1. Early to bed is a great alternative. With a carrier an enjoyable afternoon that includes hiking and exploring is possible with the little one on board.

  2. I was sooooo happy when my last kid gave up naps. (Unfortunately, my teen boy seems to have re-entered the nap stage.) When we’re traveling, I always choose skipping a nap if we need to. If the kids are in a stroller or carrier, they’d always fall asleep anyways and then we could explore at our leisure.

    • Ha! Love that your teen is back to napping 🙂 Yes, with Bergen a little older and more dependent on his crib for naps, we take it on a case by case basis. If we have a nice, relaxing place to return to we opt for taking it easy & letting him nap, but a certain someone (husband, Slaed) certainly gets antsy waiting around for him to wake up! Me, I love the quiet, uninterrupted time!

  3. I’m very relaxed with my kids naps now, I didn’t used to be and it was more frustration that I could handle. My three year old has completely dropped his naps except on extreme occasions, my daughter (turning 2 in 2 weeks) always has a nap on the trail but rarely naps at home now. I find it easier to be outdoors (for my family) if we just go and see how the naps occur. 95% of the time it works out fine, but we’ve had some backfires. I hope you don’t mind me posting a link, but here is my son “napping” on the trail.
    http://www.chasquimom.com/2013/03/toddler-nap-time-during-hike.html

    • Thanks for your comment, Melissa! We usually return home (or to hotel, rental, where ever we are staying) for the nap because Bergen is such a good sleeper, and it’s hard to resist that quiet time. He is getting to the point though where the lack of a nap once in a while doesn’t break him, so it’s nice to know we can keep going when we want to be out and about more.

  4. Pingback: Olympic National Park’s Big Cedar: Whoops, No Photo. | Wild Tales of...

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