Explore Del Norte County: Crescent City Tide Pools
Exploring a tidepool has a pretty big return as far as investments go. With a little bit of planning and smart shoe choice, you will be mesmerized by tiny aquatic worlds that are literally at your fingertips. With rich colors and swirling creatures in front of you, and dramatic seascapes as your backdrop, what’s not to love?
Tide pools are magical, partly because they are temporary. There are typically two low tides a day that reveal these vivid pools. Information on low tide is readily available online with easy-to-read charts. Plan to explore the lower tide if possible, so you can get the best access to the pools. Tides are measured in feet compared to average water levels. Aim for less than a foot or even lower – something like ‘-1.3ft’ would be good.
For most of us, flip flops on the beach are a requirement for California vacations. But you will want to leave them in the car for something more sensible like tennis shoes or closed-toed sandals. Navigating the craggy rocks and crouching for the best views is much easier with sturdy shoes.
Be patient. There is a good chance that your approach to the pool scared the sea creatures into hiding. Within a few minutes, the sea life will start to remerge. With some luck, you may see a hermit crab scurry or a sculpin fish glide through the algae.
Be gentle. Tide pools are a delicate habitat. Please do not disturb or remove the residents. Single-finger touches are welcome. Sea anemones are particularly fun as they wrap their rubbery tentacles around your fingertip.
If you can’t get enough communing with these critters, check out Ocean World’s tidepool and animal exhibits.
Where to Find Tide Pools in Del Norte County
Enderts Beach Tidepools
Within the Del Norte County Redwoods State Park, you’ll discover Enderts Beach. Take a short trail from the parking lot to Nickel Creek Camp. Explore a jagged ravine to the east, thickly layered with ferns and continue to walk another short path to the beach itself. Low tide reveals puddles of vibrant sea stars, urchins, and giant green anemones. If you’d prefer some expertise, check out Redwoods National Park information station to see if they are running any ranger-led tours of the tide pools.
Pebble Beach Tidepools
You won’t regret driving down Pebble Beach Drive. Beautiful homes dot one side of the road and breathtaking beaches line the other. Along the drive, you’ll find Point St. George. The south side of the beach harbors a quiet cove that is safe from the untamable waves of the Pacific. The pools are plentiful, and you may just find yourself nose-to-nose with a sea star. Don’t forget to listen to the waves and admire the vast swirling ocean. This is an awesome part of the tide pool experience.
Tidepools at Battery Point Lighthouse
You definitely need low tide to explore around Battery Point Lighthouse since it’s the only time you can access it. The lighthouse is a historical wonder, housing shipwreck exhibits and itself withstanding a tsunami that crashed upon Crescent City in 1964. On your way to the more than 160-year-old structure, you will wander over delicate tide pools. Wait quietly to spy the shelled inhabitants like barnacles, crabs and snails. There are likely sculpins lurking too. Exploring these tide pools is a tranquil yet exciting adventure you will always remember.
12 Sea Creatures You’ll Spot in Our Tide Pools
Can you find all 12? Snap photos then share them with us to earn your Del Norte County patch!
- Ochre sea star
- Leather star
- six-armed star
- Giant green anemones
- Moon glow anemones
- Channeled top snail
- Thick Horned Nudibranch
- Gumboot chiton
- Cancer crab
- Flat porcelain crab
- Spotted triopha sea slug
- Pork belly tunicates
A shout out goes to our marine biologist friend, Emily Pierce. All tide pool photos provided by Emily Pierce @emilythemarinebiologist