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 pool areas 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
Beaches on this list
North Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is a wide family friendly and dog friendly beach in western Malibu. It has a large linear day-use parking lot right on the […]
South Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is a sandy spot near the mouth of a creek that flows out (rarely) from Arroyo Sequit. This dry wash drains part of […]
Abalone Cove Beach can be discovered below the parking lot at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. The bluffs in the park are protected in […]
Sacred Cove Beach is part of Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. This deep cove is bookended by two prominent points, Portuguese Point and Inspiration […]
Portuguese Bend Cove Beach is below the South Bay Archery Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. This coastal land is protected for public use in Abalone Cove Reserve. The archery club […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]