Tidepooling: An adventure for Everyone

Tidepooling: Starfish in tidepool at Half Moon Bay

Photo credit: anitakhart via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

I didn’t understand tidepooling when I moved to the Bay Area. I wasn’t totally sure what it was and why you would plan your day around it. Turns out, it’s a really fun adventure. For everyone.

The idea is that when the tide goes out, little pockets of water and sea life are left behind in the rocky landscape craters, these are the tidepools. This is when it gets fascinating. Each of these craters holds their own little world, their own ecosystem, that creatures and plants have adapted to. It is like looking down into an aquarium.

When my husband and I decided to give this a try, we just went to Half Moon Bay during low tide and picked a random spot off of Route 1. (I can’t even remember the name or exact location, sorry!) And, I was mesmerized by these little pools which were teeming with life that is usually far from view. My husband and son were just as captivated as I was. We went from pool to pool investigating each cavity, looking for crustaceans and urchins, and hoping to find an octopus. We did not find an octopus but we were not disappointed in our discoveries in each unique tide pool.

Tidepooling: a close up image of a tidepoolIf you want to be more organized than I was; Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve  is a popular place to explore the tidepools, Santa Cruz County has several great spots and Crab Cove in the East Bay is highly recommended.

I can’t wait to go again. This is an activity that would be awesome to do with out of town guests, kids or no kids. Next time I’m going to refer to this Tidepooling Trip Planner on KQED Science 

I would love to hear about your tidepooling experiences, especially if there is an octopus involved!


About Jessica H

I have spent my life exploring my surroundings. I grew up in Michigan and made a career in marketing. I followed my husband to NY, NJ and now CA for his career. I have a passion for traveling and experiencing other cultures. I love being out of my comfort zone. I currently work as a contracted Marketing Product Manager at Google. I love the Bay Area. The sun, relaxed environment and access to outdoor activities is very different from the East Coast.

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