Crystal Cove Tide Pools

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A couple months back we experienced amazing Orange County tide pools down at Crystal Cove. It is a fabulous place to take your kids tidepooling (is that a word?!) in OC.

During our tidepooling adventure we spotted THIRTEEN starfish! My 6-year-old daughter was so fired up she exclaimed, “The is the best day of my life!” No joke.

Gotta love the enthusiasm something as simple as a visit to tide pools can evoke.

I highly recommend taking your kids down to visit the Crystal Cove tide pools and here are some tidepooling tips if you go!

Getting There

Crystal Cove State Park can be reached by parking in the public lot off Los Trancos and Pacific Coast Highway.  Be prepared, it is pricey, like $15 to park for the day when attendants are present.  If you happen to eat at the Beachcomber restaurant while visiting, they will validate your parking with a purchase of $15 or more.

Here are great directions on how to get to Crystal Cove Beach.

Check the Tides Before You Go

Most important thing to do when taking your kids to Orange County tide pools is to check the time of low tide.

This is a great Orange County tide chart I searched for Crystal Cove high and low tides.

Remember Your Shoes

The best places we found to spot starfish were out towards the water where there were large rocks, which entailed walking over bumpy surfaces to get there.  They were mostly tucked on the underside of  large rocks. Not good for barefeet!  I suggest a good shoe that can get wet. Flip flops are OK for adults, just be careful, but for kids, shoes like a Crocs would be ideal.

Check Out What You Can See First

When we were there volunteers were passing out brochures on the type of sealife we could spot in the tide pools.  It might be fun to check out this gallery on what you can see at the Crystal Cove tide pools before you go so you know what to keep your eye out for.

Have fun and happy tide pooling! Do you have any tips to share?


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  1. 1

    Going to the Crystal Cove tide pools is always so fun. Alot of people overlook it as they just want to hangout on the beach, but they are totally missing out.

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    Totally agree!!

  3. 3
    Caroline Moreno says:

    Corona del Mar tidepools (on the far left side of the main beach when facing the ocean) are great, too and parking is free if you park on the street on top of the hill 🙂

    • 4
      jen says:

      Ohhhh, thank up for the tip! We haven’t been there!

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