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San Diego Tide Pools

San Diego tide pools are great family outings

Tide pools normally form in an area between water and land. The pools are usually surrounded by rocks. High tides keep these pools full of water. Many small children can usually be seen splashing around in tidal pools, because they are shallow. The best time to visit a tide pool is when the tide is low. You can find tide pools at beaches around the world. San Diego has quite a few of them in California. Today, I am sharing the best San Diego tide pools with you. 

San Diego Tide Pools

Terramar Beach in Carlsbad

The only tide pool in Carlsbad can be found at Terramar Beach. The easiest way to reach this beach is to park to the south of Cannon Road, near Shore Drive. During a visit to this San Diego tide pool, you will find yourself checking out the chameleon moss. It changes colors throughout the day. 

If you venture out near the reef, you may see a Pacific octopus, sea stars, and sea urchins. While in Carlsbad, you might also visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

Tide Pools in Coronado

There are a few tide pools in Coronado. It you want to spend time in the best ones, head over to the Hotel del Coronado by Hilton. These San Diego tide pools are on the smaller side. However, you don’t need to scramble over too many rocks to reach them. That makes these tide pools perfect for many children. 

It is common to see limpets, chitons, and anemones in these tide pools. 

Swami’s State Beach in Encinitas

The tide pool at Encinitas State Beach is slightly unusual. Most of the time, any tidal pools there are formed by mollusks. The reef formation also creates a tide pool during low and minus tides. 

This is an excellent area for finding oyster fossils. So, don’t just visit for the tide pools. There is so much more to see. 

Cardiff State Beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Just thirty minutes to the north of La Jolla is where you will find Cardiff-by-the-Sea. It is also where some of the best San Diego tide pools are located. Forty-five-million-year-old sedimentary rocks have created these tide pools. 

You will find these tide pools down at Seaside Beach, which is part of Cardiff State Beach. This is a wonderful place to look for fossils. Sea cucumbers, starfish, and hermit crabs can also be found in the tide pools. 

Dike Rock in La Jolla

This San Diego tide pool can be found to the north of Scripps Pier in La Jolla. The name of this tide pool came from the slab of volcanic rock that rose above the sedimentary rocks. Many UCSD biology students hang out at this tide pool. They are there to see the different marine life that ends up in the pools during low tide. 

This is one of the San Diego tide pools where you can actually take a guided tour of. Experts are more than willing to share their knowledge of the pools and the marine life. 

Cabrillo Tide Pools in Point Loma

These tide pools surround the Cabrillo National Monument. This is what makes them some of the most popular tide pools in San Diego. You can choose to stay in the tide pool closest to the shore. Or you can venture out to the middle intertidal zone. 

The marine life you see in the tide pools will be determined by which pool you spend your time in. 

It is important to note that since these tide pools are located within a national park, you must pay the park’s entrance fee to reach them. 

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in Ocean Beach

The tide pool here can be found within the flat rock channels along the shoreline. There is another area on the northern side of the stairs that you might want to visit too. It is recommended you visit these San Diego tide pools later in the day. 

This is one of the best places to watch the sunset. So, you can combine two activities in one if you plan your visit just right. 

Tourmaline Surfing Park in Pacific Beach

Yes, Tourmaline Surfing Park is normally known for its surfing potential. You may be surprised to learn there are a few extensive tide pools there too. You will find many of them to the north of the surfing area. These hidden gems are home to tube snails and anemones. The snails usually love to hide in the sand right before the rocks. 

I recommend wearing shoes that offer a grip to these pools. The algae on the rocks gets quite slippery. People have been known to fall in the pools here. 

These are some of the best San Diego tide pools. There are a few others you may want to check out as well. Everyone seems to have their favorite. I recommend visiting a few of them before you choose yours. 

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