There are numerous Bay Area tide pools along the Half Moon Bay Coastside. Tide pools are rocky pools of salt water that are often created only at low tide, where you can view thousands of species of exotic marine life, wildlife, fauna, and flora. Northern California tide pools are exceptionally abundant due to the rocky nature of the shoreline. They are an opportunity to see some majestic creatures in the wild that are often only available in large scale aquariums. The Bay Area tide pools also offer magnificent views and natural sandy beaches to compliment your visit. Most California tide pools are protected to ensure future preservation, take only pictures, leave only footprints. Please do not collect sea life, even sea shells, from these Bay Area tide pools.
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
Moss Beach, California
This is the place to marvel at the diversity of California tide pool geology and aquatic life. At low tide the exposed Bay Area tide pools and concentric rings of offshore rocks beckon you to explore. In quiet pools, look for hermit crabs, purple shore crabs and starfish. One of the more common algae is the brown, thirty-foot long feather boa kelp. If you look up quickly, you may catch a harbor seal watching you. From the sheltered sandy cove at the south end of the Reserve, take the trail to the bluff tops to return to the parking lot. Walk through the tangled garden of an old estate and through a century-old forest of wind-sculpted Monterey cypress trees. In the spring, California gray whales migrate north offshore. In the summer and fall, brown pelicans skim wave tops.
Seal Cove Beach
Moss Beach, California
These tide pools are part of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and can be accessed from the Reserve parking lot or from the south entrance off of Cypress Ave near the Moss Beach Distillery.
Half Moon Bay (Princeton By The Sea), California
There are two tide pool areas at the Point you can access from the parking lot at the base of the Point. Following north on Capistrano Rd at the Pillar Point Harbor entrance off Highway 1, you turn left at Mezza Luna and follow the streets west to towards the Air Force Radar Station at the end of West Point Avenue. At a minus tide, you can walk out a hundred yards with views of the open ocean, the Harbor, and Half Moon Bay in the distance.
Redondo Beach Road, Half Moon Bay, California
This tide pool area is just south of Half Moon Bay near Cameron’s restaurant. The best access point is from the parking lot at Poplar State Beach at the end of Poplar Street. You then walk south about a mile along the beach to the tide pools.
Cowell Ranch Beach
Highway 1, Half Moon Bay
This secluded beach is just a mile south of Half Moon Bay. Look for the parking lot access and then walk along the path to the bluffs and down the steps to the beach.
Pescadero State Beach
Highway 1, Pescadero, California
Traveling south from Half Moon Bay, you arrive at Pescadero Rd going towards Pescadero. There is a parking area there off Highway 1.