3 Must Visit Tide Pools in San Diego

The tide pools in Point Loma have long been a favorite spot of mine, but I only recently learned that there are many more tide pools to visit! Here are three spots to try viewing critters at low tide:

Cabrillo National Monument

Photo courtesy of NPS.gov

Also known as the rocky intertidal area, the Point Loma Tidepools are located inside a national park, so you will have to coordinate your visit with park hours.  This means in order to visit during low tide, your best bet is in the winter months when the tide coordinates with park hours.  There is a little bit of a steep climb to get down to the tidepool area, so wear grippy waterproof shoes. There is a little hike in the opposite direction of the tidepools if you need to kill some time waiting for the right tide.  It is steep though!

Scripps Beach Dike Rock

Photo courtesy of Fundiego Family

There are MANY tidepools in La Jolla, but the one we visited is at Dike Rock. Parking can be tricky for this spot. If you go on the weekend, some of the UCSD parking is available.  Google maps won’t find “dike rock” and will in fact direct you to a different set of tidepools if you search for it.  Click here for directions to the lot we parked in. Otherwise, look for street parking.  The intersection of La Jolla Shores Dr. and El Paseo Grande is a good place to start looking for street parking Once you get down to the beach walk North and continue under Scripps Pier until you come to a rocky area and that is it! My kids had most fun at this one finding tons of hermit crabs. If you run into a nude beach you have gone too far.

Tide Beach Park

Photo courtesy of California Beaches

This spot is located on the border between Solana Beach and Cardiff State Beach. This one is the longest drive, especially from more Southern parts of San Diego, but a beautiful gem! Parking is on the street in the nearby neighborhood and you will have to go down a long steep staircase to get to the beach.  A short walk to the North brings you to a rocky area where low tide unveils abundant anemones, crabs, mussels and more.

For all of these, do not forget to check the tide charts before you go! With COVID still going on sometimes these spots can get a little crowded for my comfort. I found with all of them that being there about 1 hour before low tide seemed to be a sweet spot of unveiling sea life without getting too crowded yet.

Have you visited these tide pools? What is the coolest critter you have seen? I have heard of people seeing octopus and star fish but have yet to see one myself!

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