Tide pools offer a spectacular look into life under the sea that’s only available when the tides are low. The Bay Area has a great deal of tide pools that are home to these beautiful creatures, so we thought you’d like to see our top picks for the six best tide pools in the Bay Area:
China beach is a small beach, but boasts a grill, picnic tables, and even bathrooms. The tide pools at China Beach have plenty of sea life to see at low tide, and you’re guaranteed a great backdrop with the Golden Gate Bridge being located so close!
Photo via East Bay Regional Park District
Crab Cove has a more interactive experience for those who really want to learn about the creatures in the tide pools. Docent-led tours are available 4 days a week, and the Visitors Center has aquariums inside as well as microscopes to view sea life under!
Agate Beach not only has tide pools that are home to incredible giant green anemone, but the surrounding beaches often enjoy visits from whales, shorebirds, and sea lions. It is the perfect beach to see a ton of marine life, and you can even bring your pooch as long as you have your furry friend leashed.
Point Reyes National Seashore – Marin County
Although it’s a bit of a walk from the parking area to the beach, it is worth the trek to see such amazing marine life up close! You will be greeted by sand crabs, limpets, purple sea urchins, and black turban snails, just to name a few.
James Fitzgerald Marine Reserve – Peninsula
Photo via Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Preserve
If the tides are below one foot, you will be mesmerized by sea stars, sea urchins, barnacles, and more on this three mile stretch of protected beach. Right next to the tide pools there is an area reserved especially for the harbor seals, which are a family favorite!
Natural Bridges State Beach – Santa Cruz
At the tide pools found at Natural Bridges State Beach, you will not only find amazing sea life but incredible naturally formed rock bridges that extend into the water. You can climb across the rocks in order to reach the tide pools, but it could be hard with very little ones. If you plan on coming in the late fall or winter, you might even see the migration of the Monarch butterflies.
Have fun and don’t forget to check the tide schedule before heading out to any tide pools to explore!