Tide Pools are Cool


This post is long overdue since daytime low tides, which lead to the best tide pooling opportunities, happen most frequently in the late winter and early spring. Now’s the time to enjoy this free and wonderful outing with the family.

tide pool overview

If you have been thinking about tide pooling with your kids, the first thing to do is check out the tide chart. You want to look for a zero or negative number (during daylight hours of course) and visit about an hour before the lowest tide. Here’s the chart from lajollasurf.org. Can you spot the tide pooling opportunities this Sunday and Tuesday???

San Diego, California

32.7167° N, 117.1733° W

2015-03-14 11:03 AM PST   0.38 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-14  5:49 PM PST   3.51 feet  High Tide
2015-03-14  5:55 PM PST   Sunset
2015-03-14 10:31 PM PST   2.35 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-15  4:45 AM PST   5.17 feet  High Tide
2015-03-15  5:59 AM PST   Sunrise
2015-03-15 11:58 AM PST  -0.17 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-15  5:56 PM PST   Sunset
2015-03-15  6:31 PM PST   4.05 feet  High Tide
2015-03-15 11:42 PM PST   1.81 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-16  5:49 AM PST   5.66 feet  High Tide
2015-03-16  5:57 AM PST   Sunrise
2015-03-16 12:43 PM PST  -0.65 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-16  5:57 PM PST   Sunset
2015-03-16  7:07 PM PST   4.63 feet  High Tide
2015-03-17 12:37 AM PST   1.13 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-17  5:56 AM PST   Sunrise
2015-03-17  6:42 AM PST   6.10 feet  High Tide
2015-03-17  1:24 PM PST  -0.98 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-17  5:58 PM PST   Sunset
2015-03-17  7:42 PM PST   5.19 feet  High Tide
2015-03-18  1:25 AM PST   0.45 feet  Low Tide
2015-03-18  5:55 AM PST   Sunrise
2015-03-18  7:32 AM PST   6.38 feet  High Tide

The kids and I visited a terrific spot in January, and when we were leaving Gage asked if we could make visiting the tide pools an every weekend activity! Here’s why…



sea nettle


Many San Diego families love the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument. They are great, especially when the rangers are out to guide visitors. But I find them difficult to get to because you (and your babies!) must climb down slippery and somewhat steep rocks. Note: it’s important to wear water shoes or an old pair of tennies with traction at all tide pool spots. Not flip flops!


I absolutely loved visiting the tide pools at Tourmaline Beach right on the La Jolla/Pacific Beach boarder. The parking is free, easy and convenient. We simply walked out to the pools. The only climbing we did was over medium sized rocks, but it was not necessary to climb at all to discover cool sea life.


While we were at Tourmaline, Birch Aquarium Naturalists were also there leading organized tours. They showed us how to gently turn over the rocks to find the hidden treasures underneath. They were great about reminding kids to be gentle with the sea life and to put anything picked up back where it was found.

star fish


I am asked all of the time about the free things to do with kids in San Diego. You can’t get much better than tide pooling in my opinion. Of course, tide pooling is best for children who can walk independently and who will be gentle with the sea life you encounter. School-aged children can learn a lot about biology and astronomy. Check out this video from my friends at Birch Aquarium to give your kids a better understanding of how tides work before your special outing.



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