Tide Pools in Northern California!

A couple of weeks back,  we went to California (just a couple hours north of San Fransisco)!!!! We had a lot of adventures including our fun at the tide pools! We studied the tides before we left as well as what to expect at the pools, but were unprepared for the great fluctuation in low tides would be day to day!

As you may know, tide pools are created with the rise and fall of the tides which changes every day. For example, the first day low tide was about 6:30am. Two days later, low tide was around 9:00am – so we realized how important it was to look up the actual time of low tide in the exact location we would be visiting.

The first beach we went to was called Goat Rock, which had no goats, but nearby there are a TON of cows. Thankfully, it didn’t smell like anything other than salty ocean. At that tide pool it was super rocky. The algae on the rocks made it slippery and often difficult to walk on. Plus we had to be extra careful not to step on the sea creatures attached to the rocks. A lot to look out for! We saw many different types of shells {we now have an official collection of shells and stones!} and we even saw a pod of dolphins doing their iconic arcs in the waves. We were so excited to see so many sea animals like mussels, clams, barnicals, sea snails, sea anemones and starfish. Unlike what they show on YouTube, turns out those creatures have a SUPER strong grip and they are HUGE… it makes sense of course, since the waves are crashing onto them twice every day… holding on tight would be an important way of life! It was a BEAUTIFUL beach and because low tide was early evening, we were lucky enough to catch the sunset!

Goat Rock Beach – 6:45 PM


Biggest starfish at Goat Rock Beach!
A lovely sea anemone!


A few days later on our pursuit for cool sea animals, we ended up at Dillon Beach. Now we thought that tide pools could only occur on rocky beaches but it turns out you can find them in the sand! I know what you are thinking right now, MIND BLOWN!!!!! Anyway, there were small rock caves and gigantic rocky cliffs and large boulders which around it held pools of water at low tide which contained incredible amounts of CRABS! SEA ANEMONES! FISH! SHELLS! GIGANTIC STARFISH!!!!

It was so much easier to traverse the pools on sand compared to the slippery rocks. The day was sunny and warm, the water relatively calm and FREEZING! It didn’t stop us form walking barefoot and we stayed as the tide started to rise. It happens faster than you might think!

When we got back home to school we checked out many of the stones and shells we found (including the body of a crab!) under the microscope. Stay tuned for the “Tide Pools Up Close” post, coming soon!

If you are ever near an ocean, your visit isn’t complete without heading to the beach at low tide to check out the incredible underwater life forms – it’s a visit we will never forget!

Dillon Beach: 9:25 am


more starfish!
Gigantic crabs everywhere we looked


Sea Kelp


a crab shell in lovely condition.

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