Tide Pooling on the Southern Oregon & Northern California Coast

Vacationers can discover a large number of interesting creatures including limpets, tiny crabs, sea anemones, starfish, urchins, sea cucumbers, mussels, barnacles, and chitons that somehow survive in tide pools.

Tidepools are areas along the coast that trap saltwater into shallow pools along the intertidal zone – the zones between the high and low water tides. Tidepooling is discovering the fascinating aquatic life living in those pools.

In the cool water of the Pacific Ocean, the life in those pools can be explored safely. The species can be handled without fear of anything other than a pinch from a defensive crab. Please be kind to this amazing life. Don’t pry off organisms that are attached to rocks and return all life and rocks in the condition and position as you found them as prolonged exposure to sunlight can kill them.

Keep a lookout for rocky coastlines and beaches (not jetties) with lots of rocks as these create the best conditions for forming these shallow tide pools. Grab waterproof shoes, or sneakers with good traction that can get wet, and head out just before low tide to explore for this amazing organisms that have adapted to this tough environment. Since the water can be quite cool, warm clothing is also recommended.

tidal pool little crabAlways be conscious of the ocean and plan your retreat as the tide returns. When exploring, be sure to face the ocean and keep an eye out for ‘sneaker waves’ that can pop up anytime.  ‘Sneaker Waves‘ can be dangerous or even deadly.

The best time to go is during low tide – the lower the better. There are a few minus tides during the year. There are usually several in the late spring during very early times in the morning. These repeat again in the fall but are typically at night. They are called minus tides because low tide is exceptionally low. There are several websites that display tide tables. One of them is Saltwater Tides.

Gold Beach – Port Orford Tide Pools

Spots include Rocky Point, Sisters Rocks, and north and south of Otter Point.

Brookings – Harbor Tidal Pools

Harris Beach State Park and Lone Ranch, both located just north of Brookings, are great places to visit and start tide pooling.

Bandon Tidal Pools

Coquille Point off of Kronenberg County Park is a prime location. A bit further south is Face Rock.

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