Cabrillo National Monument offers some of the very best viewing of the plants and animals in intertidal zones in southern California. The National Park Service has tried to strike a balance between preserving the ecosystem and yet allow visitors to explore the life in the tidepools up close and personal.
All times: Pacific Time.
Low tide events begin when the tide passes below 0.7 feet or 9:00 AM (whichever is later).
Low tide events end when the tide rises above 0.7 feet or 4:30 PM (whichever is earlier).
Access to the tidepools is controlled by NPS and may be limited or unavailable without notice.
The tidepools are covered with water throughout most of the year during tidepool access hours (9:00 am – 4:30 pm). During the winter and spring on the days before and after a full or new moon, the water pulls back and we get to look at the life that is invisible to us most of the time.
The low tides from mid-April to mid-September happen during the evening, night or early morning hours so we are unable to peek in. However, from about the middle of September through the early part of April, it’s tidepool season! From mid-December through mid-February, we get some incredible low tides during Park hours.
Generally, whenever the low tide is +.7 or less, it is possible to see into the tidepools. However, at that depth, the window of opportunity is very short. A low tide of -1.5 or lower means that you can spend a lot more time in the tidepools. It is best to come early, especially on weekends with low tides because parking is limited. The official Cabrillo National Monument website offers in-depth information on the tidepools.