Orange County is lucky enough to have some of the greatest beaches in California, and along with those come some of the best tide pools around! Here are the spots that made our list of the best tide pools in Orange County. Make sure to check the tide schedule to be sure you’ll catch a glimpse at these beautiful creatures!
Little Corona Tide Pools – The Little Corona tide pools are a hidden gem tucked away in a residential area of Corona Del Mar Beach. These pools are some of the nicest around, and home to a vast array of sea critters. Some of the sea life you will encounter are sea anemones, hermit crabs, small fish, and crabs. The sea anemones are some of the most vibrant you will ever see, and come in all shapes and sizes.
Shaw’s Cove – The tide pools you will find at Shaw’s Cove are one of the most extensive and diverse in all of southern California. The variety of plants and animals is incredible. The marine life you will encounter are too many to list, but a few things you will see are mussels, barnacles, sea anemones, urchins, fish, and tons of sea stars. There are few tide pools where you can see such a large array of animals in one place!
Crystal Cove – The upper area of Pelican Point at the Crystal Cove tide pools is covered with small pools where hermit crabs are plentiful. Small mussel and barnacle beds are found sporadically on the rock areas, as well as the lower portions of the rocks that are covered by colonies of aggregating sea anemones.
Wood’s Cove – Often, you will find two separate pools at Wood’s Cove in Laguna Beach. The upper pool is home to marine life such as snails and limpets. In the lower pool you will find creatures like urchins, sea stars, mussels and barnacles. There is also an awesome rock arch that makes a great photo op near the tide pools!
Dana Point – Dana Point has a marine protected area behind the Ocean Institute building. Just walk behind the building and you will find a staircase leading to the beach. The tide pools are filled with anemones, crabs, snails, fish, mussels, barnacles and a variety of algae. Though the sea life is very enticing, there are very strict rules against removing animals, shells, and rocks, as well as rules against even picking anything up out of the tide pools, so please be mindful and help protect our sea life!