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Many of Southern California’s beautiful beaches boast an array of tide pools, fragile ecosystems viewable at low tide. The Los Angeles area is no exception, but you won’t find tide pools at the sandy beaches of Santa Monica Bay. Instead you’ll have to visit Malibu and Palos Verdes (yay!). Some of these tide pools are easily accessible, while others require a bit more planning and an adventuresome spirit.

No matter where you venture, be careful to only walk on rocks and not in the pools themselves. Avoid stepping on any living organism and read all the informational signs about tidepooling at these beaches before entering the water. Above all, don’t touch or remove any of the marine animals. Bring a camera so you can take pictures instead.

Don’t forget to check tide tables to find low tides, otherwise you probably won’t be able to visit these areas.

Here is our list of the best tide pools in the LA region.

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu

This park has two separate beach areas near the visitor center, North Beach and South Beach. In between is an area with rocky cliffs, caves, and tunnels known as Sequit Point. At low tide this is a fun place to explore for sea stars and other marine life. South Beach has a wide rocky shoreline provides easy access to many small tide pools. Hermit crabs, anemones, and small fish are easily spotted in this area.

Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, Palos Verdes

This park has three separate beaches, Abalone Cove, Sacred Cove, and Portuguese Bend Cove all of which feature tide pools. Various trails lead from the parking lot to these beaches. Sacred Cove and Portuguese Bend (below an archery range) are farther from the parking lot keeping crowds at bay. Sea caves and tunnels can be found at the ends of the two points between the three coves.

Golden Cove Beach, Palos Verdes

The lack of a sandy beach here means many rocky pools for exploring. The trail down from the parking lot can be rough and exposed in places. The largest tidepools are on the north side of cove and are clearly visible from the bluff at the top of the trail. More tide pools can be found at Honeymoon Cove and Christmas Tree Cove nearby.

White Point Beach, San Pedro

Because of its secluded and unique location, White Point Beach has tide pools rich with a variety of plants and animals. The tide pools can be found by the big rocks near the sand. There are also a number of rock formations that can be explored at low tide which usually hide interesting sea creatures.

Point Fermin, San Pedro

The area north of Point Fermin has a long and rich tidepool area.

See more Tide Pools in Southern California