Exploring Tide Pools in Cayucos, Cambria and Morro Bay
Exploring tide pools is a great way to discover sea life that would normally be under the water. Twice a day at low tide, you can journey along Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to discover a variety of sea creatures in shallow pools of seawater on the beaches of Cayucos, Cambria, and Morro Bay. While tide pools can be found throughout many California beaches, Estero Bluffs State Park is a top spot for local residents and visitors who want to view a variety of marine life and is located just a ten-minute drive from Cayucos State Beach.
What is a tide pool? Tide pools are rocky areas close to shore that have pools with seawater. They can be small shallow puddles closer to shore or huge deep holes further out to sea. Tide pools form at high tide when the ocean covers the rocks and can be explored at low tide when the waters recede.
Tide Pooling Tips
- Wear good shoes and prepare to get wet. Rocks are covered with algae and can be slippery
- Be on the watch for waves and never turn your back on the ocean.
- Avoid stepping on living creatures.
- Look and touch, but please don’t take anything home.
- Wet your fingers before touching animals and touch gently.
- Look closely and focus on each tide pool, as you will see more life movement.
GUIDE TO WILDLIFE FOUND IN TIDE POOLS
Do you ever wonder why crabs walk sideways? It’s because their legs are on the side and their knees bend outwards. They can’t walk forward. Crabs seek damp shady crevices and rocky ledges. If you pick one up, make sure it doesn’t fall from your hand and gently place it back where you found it.
Mighty Mussel Clusters
Mussel Clusters can be found in clusters up to the millions on rocks, pier pilings, and other structures. The California Mussel is the most common mussel found in the California intertidal zones. They are usually dark blue and have other animals attached to their shells.
Sea Anemones, the sunflowers of tide pools
Fun fact: Sea anemones are related to jellyfish. Because of their strange appearance, they are sometimes known as the aliens of tide pools. When an anemone has its tentacles extended, it's waiting to trap and eat something yummy. When an anemone has its tentacles folded in, it may already be eating.
Sea Stars, the VIPs of the ocean
Sea stars can be found in several color variations on the Central Coast, such as orange, purple and brown. They live only in the sea and their relatives include sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers. Be very careful when handling a sea star because their lifespan is only up to three years if they’re lucky.
There are great areas in and near Cayucos to discover tide pools. Our favorites are the Cayucos Tide pools just north of Cayucos Pier, north Morro Bay beach, and the south end of Fiscalini Ranch. So get out there and have some fun! Don't forget to visit us at the best Cayucos Hotel!