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Tide Pools are one of the biggest draws at California beaches and the Bay Area has it’s fair share of them. In fact, two of the best tide pools in California are just a short distance from San Francisco.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, is just a 20 miles south (half-hour drive) from downtown and Duxbury Reef in Marin County is just 30 miles north (plan on an hour due to slow windy roads). Both of these locations have some incredible marine life in their pools. Just check tide tables and wait for low tide before you go (the lower the better).

Shore crab

San Francisco has few options within the city limits, but consider China Cove if you want something in town. If you are visiting or live in the South Bay Area, there are several other great options. See the map above or the list below for beaches in the Bay Area that have tide pools.

When you get to these tidepools, be careful where you step as many rocks are covered with living creatures. And don’t take anything but pictures!

Beaches on this map

  • China Beach

    China Beach is a small locals beach in San Francisco. The cove where China Beach Cove is located is protected by rock walls on both sides creating an area that […]

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  • Duxbury Reef at Agate Beach County Park

    Agate Beach Public Fishing Access is a Marin County Park tucked away via backroads in the town of Bolinas, CA. The park is known for Duxbury Reef which has vast tide […]

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  • Palomarin Beach

    Palomarin Beach is the southernmost beach along the Pacific side of Point Reyes National Seashore. At low tides, there are tide pools exposed, but at high tides this rocky beach […]

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  • Dillon Beach

    Dillon Beach on Bodega Bay is privately-owned by the Dillon Beach Resort, but for a small fee anyone can enjoy this beautiful beach. The beach is located in the small […]

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  • Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar)

    Pacifica State Beach is located in a wide cove in the southern part of Pacifica, California. The city of Pacifica manages the facilities at the beach and calls it Linda […]

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  • James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

    James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is located at the west end of Lake Street in Moss Beach, CA. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a county park and marine protected area run […]

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  • Point Montara Light Station

    Point Montara Light Station is located between Montara State Beach and the city of Moss Beach, CA. The waves crash hard on rocks below the lighthouse grounds, but luckily there […]

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  • Redondo Beach on Half Moon Bay

    Redondo Beach is just south of downtown Half Moon Bay and just north of the Half Moon Bay Golf Links in the Ocean Colony community. It’s a long sandy beach […]

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  • Pelican Point Beach

    Pelican Point Beach is located near the end of Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, CA. The beach is nearby the Pelican Point RV Park and surrounded by the […]

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  • Pescadero State Beach – South Beach

    Pescadero State Beach has a wide beach, large dunes, rocky coves, a rock arch, a protected lagoon, and extensive wetlands. This state park has two distinct beach areas that are […]

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  • Pebble Beach at Bean Hollow State Beach

    Pebble Beach is the northern beach in Bean Hollow State Beach in San Mateo County. This is a small cove with a pebbly coarse beach sand. The brownish but multi-colored […]

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  • Arroyo de los Frijoles Beach

    Arroyo de los Frijoles Beach is the southern beach at Bean Hollow State Beach. The parking lot is right off Highway 1 about three miles north of the Pigeon Point […]

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