San Diego tide pools and the best tide pools in San Diego
San Diego tide pools
The ecological systems that occur where the sea meets the land are some of the most beautiful and diverse on the earth. San Diego tide pools are one such community. Tide pools are usually found on rocky shores that are covered and uncovered daily by the rising and falling ocean tides. However, they can also exist on sandy beaches. San Diego tide pools, like most others, are best viewed at low tide. See the chart for San Diego tides.
More on San Diego tide pools
Tide pools can be small, shallow puddles found high up on the shore or huge, deep holes nearer to the sea. They're created when the rising and falling tides of the of the ocean covers the rocks or beach twice a day. Tide pools that are below the low-tide line, are filled with ocean water most of the time. When tide pools are above the low-tide line, they may be exposed to air much of each day, which poses a special challenge to the organisms living there.
Life in a San Diego tide pool
Many different kinds of plant and animal life call San Diego tide pools their home, nourished with fresh oxygen and food delivered by the daily ocean tides. Animals that thrive in tide pools include sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, barnacles, mussels, snails, crabs, limpets and anenomes. The Red and Pacific Octopi also live in tide pools. Various algae such as Palm Kelp, Scouring Pad and Surf Grass can also be found in San Diego tide pools.
Life in a tide pool can be a challenge
Organisms living in a tide pool are often exposed to extreme conditions. For example, they may have to survive both wet and dry conditions because smaller tide pools often dry up in between tides. Animals can hide under cool, damp rocks and moist seaweed so that their bodies don't dry out before the tide comes in again. During a big rainfall, the tide pool may fill with fresh water, a sharp contrast to the usual salt water environment. Also, the water temperature in a tide pool can vary greatly between hot and cold days.
Where are the best San Diego Tide Pools?
Although much of the San Diego Coast is lined with long stretches of sandy beaches, there are also many rocky areas that offer excellent opportunities to explore tide pools. Remember that San Diego tide pools are best viewed at low tide. See the chart for San Diego tides for the best time to see the following San Diego tide pools.
- Cabrillo National Monument - the rocky shore at the tip of Point Loma has a lot to offer at a good low minus tide.
- Ocean Beach - a small San Diego tide pool area is at the foot of Newport Avenue under the Ocean Beach Pier.
- Tourmaline Surfing Park - many tide pools are nestled in the sandstone west of La Jolla Boulevard at the north end of Pacific Beach.
- Shell Beach - fairly good San Diego tide pool area at low tide at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla.
- Dike Rock - a rocky area just to the north of Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Located on UCSD property and part of the La Jolla Underwater Park marine reserve.
- Flat Rock - great views from San Diego tide pools that have been etched into this erosion-resistant slab of rock protruding out to sea at the base of Torrey Pine State Reserve. Walk south along the beach from Torrey Pines State Beach or take the trail down to the beach from the top of Torrey Pines Road.
- Cardiff State Beach - a nice tide pool area is by the bluffs at the south end of the parking lot.
- Swami's - can be identified by the gold domes on the Self Realization Center in Encinitas. Access is by a set of wooded stairs that lead to the tide pools on an extensive flat area.
- San Onofre State Beach - reached by Basilone Road off I-5 just north of the border checkpoint. A cobblestone tide pool area can be found north of the campground.
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