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.
San Diego County
The best tidepooling areas near San Diego 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 areas being Hospital Point and La Jolla Caves Beach (see all the La Jolla Tide Pools). 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.
There are several areas to consider if you are looking for tidepools in Orange County. 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.
Los Angeles County
The best tide pools in the LA area are north and south of Santa Monica Bay. One of the best places in all of 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, to the north in Malibu there are excellent tide pools at Sequit Point in Leo Carrillo State Park and also at Point Dume.