With an average temperature of 56 degrees, swimming in Ketchikan’s ocean waters is a chilly prospect. The varied sea life – seals, salmon, seabirds – can also be distracting. That’s why for decades kids in Ketchikan have been learning to swim out at Rotary beach, where a cement causeway allows tidewaters to come in and warm up in a protected pond.

The city got its first swimming pool in the 1970s, but locals still love to hang out at this sandy/rocky beach three miles south of town. Also called “Bugge Beach,” after Martin Bugge, who originally owned the beach as part of a mining claim. this area offers a scenic view overlooking Nichol’s Passage, and is also a great place to tidepool or picnic with the family.

Hear shrieks and squeals of excitement as kids wade around in tidepools with their buckets finding all manner of critters – eels, bullheads, snails, hermit crabs, sea urchins, sea anemones, starfish, blimmies (eeltype fish), small octopus, eelgrass, clams, mollusks, and kelps.

Stop by Tatsudas on the way south for some hot dogs and matches so you can burn driftwood in a firepit. Enjoy a Ketchikan-style afternoon picnic where locals have been coming since the first access road was built here in 1925.

Getting There

Latitude: 55.308637
Longitude: -131.578425
Driving Directions