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The San Mateo County Coastside around Half Moon Bay has a wealth of tide pools that are easily accessible for the whole family.


Tidepooling is visiting a rocky inter-tidal zone along a coastline where the ocean meets the land during high tides so that the area is covered in sea water. During low tides, the water recedes revealing fascinating sea creatures and seaweed which have specifically adapted themselves to the inter-tidal zone. These tide pools form a microcosm of life, hosting an incredible diversity of sea creatures such as limpets, mussels, young crustaceans like crabs, sea anemones, starfish, barnacles, urchins, sea cucumbers, and chitons.

Other Marine Life

You'll find a wealth of other marine life around Half Moon Bay and Coastside tidepools . There are a variety of sea birds, many of whom travel up and down the coast, some nesting on the Farallon Islands 26 miles off of San Francisco. Keep your eye out for seals, whales, and dolphins; it's a favorite spot in Northern California to see these beautiful creatures up close.

Tidepooling Etiquette

When visiting tide pools, the first thing to remember is to make sure that the whole family protects the animals in the tide pools.

  • Many of these organisms will die if exposed to prolonged sunlight, so always put them back where you found them.
  • Never try to pry organisms off the rocks, this can hurt or kill them.
  • Please don't collect sea life, even sea shells, from these Half Moon Bay Coastside tide pools.
  • Finally, watch your step to avoid crushing the animals that call these tide pools their home.

Major Tide Pools from Moss Beach to Pescadero

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve & Seal Cove Beach - (650) 728-3584

Moss Beach, California

Pillar Point Harbor
Half Moon Bay (Princeton By The Sea), California

Redondo Beach
Redondo Beach Road, Half Moon Bay, California

Cowell Ranch Beach
Highway 1, Half Moon Bay, California

Pescadero State Beach
Highway 1, Pescadero, California

To maximize your time visiting Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo County Coastside, consider an extended stay in one of our hotels or Bed & Breakfast Inns. You can find all the available rooms for any date using our Book A Room service.