California tide pools and beach activities
Ready for some fun in the sun? Then head out to one of these favorite California tide pools or beaches. It's smart fun for the whole family!
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Half Moon Bay
Easy enough for toddlers to maneuver, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve offers tide pools that reveal a world of sea creatures at low tide. A ranger's building near the parking lot also offers books and exhibits to enhance your visit.
Address: California Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA 94038
Phone: 650-363-4021 for reservations for groups of 10 or more
Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
The tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument are filled with crabs and other sea life, while the visitor's center, a small museum, the auditorium, and the Point Loma Lighthouse offer programs and exhibits geared towards families of all ages.
Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA 92106
Also see: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Corona del Mar Beach & Tide pools, Corona del Mar
The tide pools can be found at Little Corona Marine Life Refuge in a protected area, so shells, sea life, and rocks must not be disturbed. While you're there, enjoy the rest of this family-friendly beach, equipped with a large parking lot, fire rings, and sand volleyball courts.
Address: Poppy and PCH, Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur
The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park's main feature is a natural water fall that drops into the Pacific Ocean. Other natural sites, including gray whales, sea otters, sea lions, and birds offer plenty to see during the day.
Address: Big Sur Station #1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Rates: Parking along the road is free to access nature walk, Julia Pfeiffer Burns monuments, and to view the waterfall; contact the park for entrance fee.
Malibu Lagoon, Los Angeles
Bridges take you through bird-filled nature preserve to the beach where the rocks offer a trove of sea life, from sea cucumbers to sea stars. Just down the beach is the Malibu pier where older kids can discover kayaking.
Address: 23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90265
Carpinteria State Beach, Santa Barbara
The calm waters at Carpinteria offer the beach's youngest swimmers a safe place to swim, play in the sand, explore tide pools, and fish. Complete with restrooms, picnic areas, and camping facilities, this family-friendly beach is a Santa Barbara must-see.
Address: 5361 6th St, Linden Ave and 6th St, Carpinteria, CA 93013
The Presidio of San Francisco
Paths for walking and bicycling, exhibition hall, ranger-lead tours and programs, and more offers a day filled with fun. Picnic areas, a pond inhabited by hundreds of birds, and a playground are all family-friendly. Or, head on over to the Baker Beach for some sunning and sand fun, but the water is unsafe for swimming.
Address: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123