Along the coast of Southern California, there’s an alluring alternative to snorkeling. Tidepooling is so intriguing that, in Laguna Beach, docents patrol the rocky outcrops where these pools form. These experts help people identify the oddball creatures that adapt to various conditions, which range from being completely submerged in saltwater to being lightly sprayed. For children, tide pools are like aquariums come to life, with showy anemone and sea stars. Also in abundance are blue band hermit crabs, with blue stripes around the legs; black turban snails with a life span of up to 100 years; sea hares that excrete a purple ink when disturbed; and juvenile opaleye perch that breathe air, very unlike a fish.
Stellar spots along the coast
- Shaw’s Cove, a semi-secluded locals’ beach in Laguna Beach
- Bird Rock, at the northern end of Main Beach in Laguna Beach
- Reef Point, Rocky Bight, or Pelican Point within Crystal Cove Beach, a state park south of Huntington Beach
Before you go Wear water shoes, and check the tides. Low or negative tide is best. Step gently and collect nothing, as these are state-protected areas.