Tidepooling in San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monument is a great vacation activity for people of all ages and physical ability. You can find tide pools anywhere there is a rocky shoreline and a tide. If you live near or are visiting the San Diego area, I recommend taking the family on a tidepooling expedition to Point Loma. There is a nominal fee per vehicle to enter Cabrillo National Monument, but otherwise this activity is totally free!
The section of shoreline at Cabrillo along the Pacific Ocean makes up the perfect environment for this exciting family activity. Once the water recedes during low tide, many species of sea life remain trapped in the nooks and crannies created by the rock formations. This allows up close and personal discovery for all ages. Tidepooling in San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monument can be just as educational as it is fun.
What You’ll See
One of the neatest things about tidepooling in San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monument is that each time you go you’ll see a different mix of marine life. You’re likely to see starfish, anemones, crabs, fish, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of an octopus. (They’re camouflaged well, so look closely.)
What You’ll Need
No special equipment is required to go tidepooling in San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monument, but be sure to have sturdy, non-skid shoes, as the wet rocks can be very slippery. A windbreaker might also come in handy to protect against the strong ocean breezes.
When to Go
The lowest tides are best for tidepooling, and because these occur during the daylight hours only during the winter months, you’ll find the best tidepooling in San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monument from November through March. You can check the Point Loma tide chart for current tidal conditions.
Rules to Follow
As with any natural marine area, you should not move rocks or disturb the habitat in any way. Touching is permitted, as long as it is done gently, and you do not remove the animals from the water. Collection of any items, whether alive or dead, is strictly prohibited.
How to Get There
This tidepooling spot is located within Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma, CA. For a detailed map and directions, check with SanDiego.org.
Additional Information on Tidepooling in San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monument
During most low tides, park rangers or volunteer docents are available to answer questions and provide guidance. A slide show is also shown daily at the park’s Visitor Center. Call 619.557.5450 for show times. Although access is relatively easy, rough terrain and changes in surface elevations make this location prohibitive for wheelchairs. For a list and detailed description of alternative tidepooling locations in San Diego County, be sure to check with the San Diego Natural History Museum.