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Here’s a map of the best tide pools at Southern California beaches. From Point Loma in San Diego to Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu there are many areas where tide pools are concentrated. Check tide tables and then wait for low tide which is the best time for tidepool exploration. Below is a list of our favorite tidepooling areas.

In San Diego County, the best tidepooling areas are away from the big sandy beaches. First is the Point Loma area including Cabrillo National Monument and the beaches along the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood. Second is the rugged portion of the La Jolla waterfront with the best area being Hospital Point between Whispering Sands and Wipeout Beach. Third is a reef called Table Top between Tide Beach Park and Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach. Finally there are some tide pools to be discovered at Swami’s and Terramar Beach in Encinitas and Carlsbad.

In Orange County, there are several areas to consider for your trip. Laguna Beach has many popular tide pool areas such as Rockpile, Fisherman’s Cove, and Crescent Bay, but Laguna doesn’t have an OC monopoly. Newport Beach has an excellent spot just south from Little Corona Del Mar Beach. Nearby at Crystal Cove State Park the beach at Treasure Cove is great at low tide. Finally, the Dana Point Headlands are a fun place to explore.

In Los Angeles County, the best tide pools are north and south of Santa Monica Bay. One of the best places in Socal is Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. The entire Palos Verdes Peninsula has a rugged shoreline with coves full of marine life that is visible at low tide. The best coves are Honeymoon, Christmas Tree, and Golden, but they are not for small kids as access is very steep. Nearby in San Pedro there are tide pools at Point Fermin and White Point that are much safer to access. Finally, in Malibu there are excellent tide pools at Sequit Point in Leo Carrillo State Park and also at Point Dume.

Duxbury Reef Tide Pools

Beaches on this map

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    Cabrillo National Monument

    There are only a few beach access points in Cabrillo National Monument near San Diego, but this park is loaded with things to see. Point Loma, the peninsula where the […]

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    Sunset Cliffs Natural Park – Garbage Beach

    Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a steep hillside park between Point Loma Nazarene University and the ocean. There are boot-beaten footpaths all over the hillside here to explore. The beach […]

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    Whispering Sands Beach

    Whispering Sands Beach is a city beach located at the north end of Marine Street Beach in La Jolla. This area is sometimes referred to as Nicholson Point Park even though […]

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    Hospital Beach

    Hospital Beach, aka “Hospitals,” is located along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla. There is a narrow grass strip on the bluff above this point called Coast Boulevard Park. Hospital Point […]

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    Wipeout Beach

    Wipeout Beach is a sandy beach south of Children’s Pool Beach along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla. In the winter the sand gets ripped away by storms leaving a rugged […]

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    Tide Beach Park

    Tide Beach Park is the north beach of Solana Beach, CA. Hike down a long set of stairs from the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Solana Vista Drive and you’ll […]

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    Cardiff State Beach – Seaside Beach

    Seaside Beach is a sandy beach in Cardiff State Beach at the border between Solana Beach and the Cardiff-by-the-Sea area of Encinitas, CA. Cardiff State Beach is the long sandy strip along […]

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    Swami’s Beach

    Swami’s Surf Beach is a famous surfing mecca at the south end of Encinitas, CA. The park at Swami’s Beach is a great vantage point for watching surfers and has […]

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    Terramar Beach

    Terramar Beach is the narrow beach in front of the Carlsbad California community of Terramar. Technically this beach is part of South Carlsbad State Beach, but there are no signs […]

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    Dana Point Headlands Beach

    Dana Point Headlands Beach is located below the high crumbling cliffs of the Dana Point Headlands. This is a sandy beach covered with rocks and boulders that has excellent tide […]

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    Rockpile Beach

    Rockpile Beach is the southern beach of Heisler Park in Laguna Beach, CA. Rockpile Beach is in a south-facing cove with rocky outcroppings at each end. At high tide this […]

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    Fisherman’s Cove at Boat Canyon

    Fisherman’s Cove Beach is a small south-facing beach tucked away in Laguna Beach, CA. The signage at the entrance to this beach is clearly signed Fisherman’s Cove, but locals also […]

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  • Waves Crashing At Crescent Cove In Laguna Beach

    Crescent Bay Beach

    Crescent Bay Beach is a large popular beach in northern Laguna Beach, CA. The main public access is on Cliff Drive one block from where it begins at North Coast […]

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    Crystal Cove State Park – Treasure Cove Beach

    Treasure Cove Beach at Crystal Cove State Park is accessed from hiking trails that lead down the steep bluff from day-use parking lots inside the Pelican Point entrance. This entrance […]

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    Little Corona Del Mar Beach

    Little Corona Del Mar Beach is a popular small beach at the end of a ravine called Buck Gully in the Newport Beach neighborhood of Corona Del Mar. This is […]

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    Point Fermin Park Beach

    Point Fermin Beach is below the steep bluffs of Point Fermin Park and Lighthouse in the San Pedro District of Los Angeles. The beach here isn’t sandy, but the rocky […]

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    White Point Beach

    White Point Beach is below the steep bluffs at what is officially named “Whites Point” in the San Pedro District of LA. This small beach isn’t for sunbathing. It’s very […]

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    Sacred Cove

    Sacred Cove Beach is part of Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. This deep cove is bookended by two prominent points, Portuguese Point and […]

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    Abalone Cove Beach

    Abalone Cove Beach is below the parking lot at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. The bluffs in the park are protected in a state […]

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    Golden Cove

    Golden Cove is a semicircular cove just north of Point Vicente in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. This cove doesn’t have a sandy beach, but it has some of the best […]

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    Christmas Tree Cove

    Christmas Tree Cove is a rocky cove that straddles the border of Rancho Palos Verdes and Palos Verdes Estates, CA. The cove doesn’t have a sandy beach, but it does […]

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    Honeymoon Cove

    Honeymoon Cove is a small cove surrounded by high bluffs with homes built right to the edge in Palos Verdes Estates, CA. The beach in this cove is very rocky […]

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    Point Dume State Beach

    Big Dume Beach a.k.a. Dume Cove Beach is the main beach at Point Dume State Beach in Malibu, CA. Dume Cove’s crescent-shaped beach faces southeast from the east side of […]

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  • Caves and rock formations at Leo Carillo South Beach

    Leo Carrillo State Park – South Beach

    South Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is across Pacific Coast Highway from the main park entrance. Inside this entrance is the main day-use parking area and a small visitor […]

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