If you’re a California native lucky enough to live on the coast, then you know that tide pooling is an awesome way to enjoy the beach. We’ve put together a list of great tide pools to visit around the Bay Area, so put on your best waterproof shoes and get ready to explore. Tidepooling is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, but remember: you’re a guest in these critters’ habitat, so try not to disturb whatever you find and always watch your step. Be sure to visit at low tide, and watch out for sneaker waves. Check the tide tables here.
1. Duxbury Reef Reserve
Agate County Park in Bolinas is home to some of the best tide pools in the state, so this is a great place to start if you’re a beginner tidepooler. Here you’ll find the enormous Duxbury Reef, which extends out from Agate Beach. A huge part of the reef is exposed at low tide, so there’s no shortage of things to explore.
2. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is located in Moss Beach, and it’s also considered one of California’s best tidepooling spots. Not only will you find plenty of critters in the pools, but you’re likely to see seals, birds, and many other animals at any given time of year.
3. Bean Hollow State Beach
This beach in San Mateo County is home to several great tidepooling spots, including Pebble Beach to the north and Arroyo de los Frijoles Beach to the south. The two beaches are about a mile apart and easily walkable via a trail along the bluff. Pebble Beach is unique for its coarse, colorful pebbles and tafoni rocks, which are a type of sandstone with a honeycomb texture.
4. Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park
This park in Pescadero is home to some great tide pools at the base of the light house, which is 115 feet tall and nearly 150 years old. It’s common to see whales and seals pass by from the shore, and the historic light house provides a fun backdrop while you explore!
5. Natural Bridges
Natural Bridges State Beach is a unique spot in Santa Cruz named for a natural rock formation making a huge arch out in the water. It’s a popular spot for families to go tidepooling, and the park is home to a monarch butterfly migration preserve.
6. Davenport Beach
Davenport Beach in Davenport is a beautiful place to explore tidepools, rock formations, tunnels, and more. The San Vicente Creek was rerouted through a tunnel towards the north, which is totally worth checking out. While you’re at it, consider paying a visit to nearby Wilder Ranch State Park!
Featured image: @honeyoats_adventure via Instagram