Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

Terrific Tide Pools

sea star in tidepoolPick any one of these great locations to explore tide pools!

San Mateo County

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is home to some of the most diverse and accessible tide pools in the sanctuary. From Highway 1 in Moss Beach, turn west onto California Avenue and drive to the end of the road.

Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

Pigeon Point Lighthouse is located on Highway 1, 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay. The tide pools are located 100 yards north of the hostel building. The rocky ledges and tide pools are easily accessible but are exposed and visible only during low tides.

Santa Cruz County

Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges is located at the north end of Santa Cruz. Take Swift Street west from Highway 1, then West Cliff Drive north until it ends at the state beach. The park has a visitor center and offers guided tide pool tours year-round.

point pinos tide poolsMonterey County

Point Pinos and Asilomar State Beach

These tide pool areas are located in Pacific Grove adjacent to Sunset Drive. From Highway 1, exit Highway 68 West and turn left on Sunset Drive. Continue on Sunset until you reach the ocean. Tide pools can be found along the rocky beaches next to Sunset all the way to Point Pinos, near the golf course and lighthouse. Though just outside the park, Point Pinos is one of the richest tide pool habitats in the world. Even at higher tides, some of the tide pools here remain exposed.

Point Lobos State Reserve

Spectacular Point Lobos Sate Reserve is located three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. Weston Beach, west and a bit south of the park entrance, is good for tide pooling. Docents lead guided tide pool walks and schedules are posted a month in advance.

San Luis Obispo County

William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach

This popular beach is located across Highway One from Hearst Castle near San Simeon. You'll find the tide pools to the left of the pier, beginning about a quarter mile down the beach. Don't forget to visit our Coastal Discovery Center, jointly operated by the Sanctuary and State Parks!

Leffingwell Landing Day Use Area, Hearst San Simeon State Park

Leffingwell Landing, part of Hearst San Simeon State park, is located at the northern end of Moonstone Beach about two miles north of Cambria. From Highway 1 turn left onto Moonstone Beach Dr. and look for the entrance across from the San Simeon Pines Seaside Resort.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Take Our Survey | Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |