Explore the Outdoors of Mendocino County
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Tide Pools


Tide Pools

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Tide Pools are a fun place to explore and the Mendocino Coast has lots of tide pools.

Low tide is the best time to visit tide pools. When visiting tide pools, be sure to watch your footing and keep an eye on the sea. Rogue waves can hit at any time and wash unaware beach goers into the sea. Also make sure that you look and don’t step on or touch the sea creatures in the tide pools. Tidepooling is a fun family activity. Here is a resource for information on tidepooling as a family.

Below are a few of my top picks for tide pools to visit on the Mendocino Coast. Want to know what is in the tide pools of the Mendocino Coast? Check out the tide pool aquarium at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and/or swing by the Noyo Center for Marine Science in Fort Bragg.

Before visiting tide pools - brush up on your ocean safety with the Mendocino County Water Safety Coalition’s Ocean’s 12 Tips.


MacKerricher State Park

Mackerricher State Park is one of the best tide pool spots on the Mendocino Coast. Follow the board walk out to Laguna Point and you will come to stairs leading down to the tide pools.

Guide’s Tip - Before going down to the tide pools, check out the observation platforms along the boardwalk. There are informative signs about the wildlife and history of the area. The furthest out platform is a great place to see harbor seals and watch for whales.


Sea glass at Glass Beach. Photo taken 3/15/2019

Glass Beach

Where is Glass Beach?

To get to Glass Beach go to Noyo Headlands Park - North Entrance off of Elm Street in Fort Bragg. From the parking lot, walk due west (toward the ocean). When you get to the ocean, you are at the main site of Glass Beach. There are no signs designating it as Glass Beach. Yes, there is still glass at Glass Beach. You will see people collecting it and know why there isn’t as much as there once was.

Guide’s Tip - Definitely go at low tide and don’t expect to be overwhelmed by sea glass. Take your time and wander about a little bit along the edge of the tide pools. Pause and look down at the pebbles under your feet - many of them are bits of tossed sea glass. I like to stroll to the north past the large pond like tide pool.


Sea anenome in the salt water aquarium at Point Cabrillo.

Point Cabrillo Tide Pool Aquarium

To learn more about tide pool creatures and the marine environment, check out the tide pool aquarium and marine science exhibit at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. The tide pool aquarium is located in a small building just east of the lighthouse. Usually there is a sandwich board in front of it.

Bowling Ball Beach is a unique inter tidal area south of Point Arena. Photo by June Ruckman

Bowling Ball Beach is a unique inter tidal area south of Point Arena. Photo by June Ruckman

Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball Beach is on Mendocino County’s South Coast. You will marvel over the round rocks and the striated sandstone cliffs and tide pools. Definitely go at low tide.