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A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California

Posted by Jody on February 22, 2012

Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California

By now, you may have noticed that Greg and I really enjoy going tidepooling! Not long ago, we had the pleasure of visiting the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument, located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula (just west of San Diego). This park is an exceptional place to see tide pools chock-full of marine life. We were not so fortunate as to see an octopus or sea stars this time around, though. That would have taken a much lower tide level, and our December morning visit just happened to fall during a higher tide. If you have the luxury of time, check out the tide prediction charts provided by the Park Service (courtesy of  Scripps Institution of Oceanography).  Tide pooling, like beachcombing, has advantages if you can plan to explore at the lowest possible water level.

Gooseneck Barnacles, Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, California

Look Closer! Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, California

Still, even at high tide, if you look close enough and take the time to really peer into even the littlest pools, you’ll see limpets, top snails, chitons, barnacles, and hermit crabs.  Striped shore crabs, aggregate anemones and beautiful green-blue solitary anemones are also plentiful here in the high and middle intertidal zones.

A Closer Look. Tide Pool Chitons, Limpets,Top Snails, and Marine Plants

Do yourself a favor and study up a little bit before taking a trip to the tide pools. A good book on intertidal marine life will serve you well! I’ve seen people just glance around and leave, thinking there’s nothing to see. That’s a shame! Greg and I have always been amazed at what really is living in those puddles of sea water!

Solitary Anemones, Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

If you are planning a trip to the area, be sure to have a look at the Cabrillo National Monument website for Tidepooling Tips and Rules to Protect the Tidepools. Keeping in mind that tide pools are home to an abundance of marine life, the National Park Service tells us: “For all present and future visitors to experience and enjoy the healthy and diverse tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument, guidelines are needed to minimize the impacts on organisms from the high levels of visitation.  The overriding consideration is the preservation of tidepool organisms, so no plant or animal should ever be disturbed if there is a possibility of injury.  These organisms are best enjoyed in their natural state, so the best policy is to simply observe them where they are.”

We’d sure love to hear about your favorite tidepooling spot! Please feel free to post a comment, or consider submitting a Guest Post. Happy Tidepooling!

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4 Responses to “A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California”

  1. 1annecasey said

    Loved this post! Our family are dedicated foreshore/rockpool explorers, spanning three generations. My husband and I love exploring rock pools with our two sons (aged six and seven and a half). In fact, I have a post in progress about this! Our two favourite spots are on Sydney’s Middle Harbour near our home, and Seafield, Quilty, Co. Clare, Ireland (near where I grew up). We have been to the former this afternoon, and will be at the latter in two weeks from now! Yay!!

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