Best Tide Pools in Southern California

provence 012“Mom, look at that huge starfish,” my daughter screamed in excitement as we explored tide pools in Laguna Beach. It’s a favorite family outing we enjoy during the summer. When the tide is low, we venture out to the beach and comb the tide pools to see sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, barnacles, and anenomes.  The best ones are found along rocky coasts in holes or crevices that remain filled with water once the tide goes out.  The following locations offer some great tide pool exploration::

Laguna Beach

This charming beach community is filled with great coves to explore fascinating marine creatures along the shoreline.  Families enjoy Treasure Island Beach in South Laguna to see hermit crabs, sea anemones, starfish and other marine wonders.

While exploring the North Laguna pools, at Crescent Bay you can hear and see the seals barking from a nearby rock. Another popular spot in North Laguna is Picnic Beach, below the picturesque Heisler Park. Parking is limited in these areas, so try to get there early or later in the afternoon.  The Laguna Free Trolley stops at these locations. For additional information on Laguna tide pools, go to

Corona del Mar

Just south of Newport Beach, hundreds of school kids explore the tide pools at Little Corona Del Mar Beach near Ocean Blvd. and Poppy Ave.Redondo Beach 004

Palos Verdes

Abalone Cove Shoreline Park offers docent-led hikes to visit the tide pools; call 310-377-0360 ext. 309 to schedule a hike. This park has two beaches, tide pools, a State Ecological Reserve and about 5 miles of trails crossing rocky bluffs with spectacular views of the ocean and Catalina Island.

Barbecues, fires, and dogs are prohibited at this site.  A parking lot is off Palos Verdes Drive South. Access to Abalone Cove Beach is by a long trail from the parking lot. Lifeguards are on duty at Abalone Cove Beach during summer hours and weekends only.

White Point/ Royal Palms State Beach is located on the southern tip of Palos Verdes Pennisula. The tide pools extend one mile of White Point to Point Fermin Park. Free parking is along Paseo Del Mar or paid parking is available adjacent to the tide pools.  To find out more, go to

San Diego 09 014San Pedro

If you can’t coordinate your visit with low tide, you can always visit Cabrillo Marine Aquarium to view exhibits and a tide pool “touch-tank”. Naturalist-led tide pool walks along the south side of Point Fermin are usually around noon on the weekends. The historic Frank Gehry-designed aquarium displays the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world. For more call the aquarium at 310-548-7562. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen White Drive, San Pedro. Or log on:

When exploring the beach and tide pools do not touch, take, or disturb any marine life on the beach. Animals on the beach are wild and may bite. If you see an injured animal on the beach, ask a lifeguard to call animal rescue.


Laguna Beach on Dwellable