Tide pools, areas along the margin between the ocean and a rocky shore, often provide an opportunity to see sea life up close. They are also great places to let kids see creatures in their natural environment. The best time to go tidepooling is near a low tide*, the lower the better. And the best place to go at Point Lobos is Weston Beach, about halfway between the parking lots at Sea Lion Point and Bird Island along the South Shore road and trail.
There are two very important things to keep in mind if you decide to go tidepooling at Point Lobos.
- There are inherent hazards that you will face. The most serious is the threat of large waves knocking you down or sweeping you off the rocks. Never turn your back to the ocean. “Sneaker waves” can come in unexpectedly. The footing will probably be uneven and may be slippery. Be especially careful if you are unsteady on your feet or have children with you. You should wear boots or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
- The animals that you will see must not be harmed, nor may they be collected. Most of them cannot live outside their ocean environment. If you pick one up, you must put it back where you found it. Since Point Lobos is a nature reserve, even the shells and rocks must be left as you found them.
Please see our brochure titled Weston Beach Tide Pools to learn more about intertidal zones and the sea life you might see when tidepooling at Point Lobos, and more information about precautions for you and for the tide pool animals. It also provides tips on how to make the experience more meaningful for kids. You are encouraged to print this PDF document and bring it with you when you visit Point Lobos or anywhere else on the Monterey Peninsula that you may decide to go tidepooling.
For a 2016 schedule of low and high tides that could be useful in planning your visit, click here.
For a brief explanation of ocean tides, see Causes of ocean tides.