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Dana Point Tide Pools

Dana Point Tide Pools are found on the west coast in Southern California. Exploring tide pools can be a fun interactive learning experience for your whole family!

Tide pools are amazing little windows into marine life. You can actually see little sea creatures swimming about, swimming for cover, or just hanging out. What an amazing kid activity for you and your family! Another great thing is it’s FREE to look and watch at the tide pools!

Count how many different animals and plants you find. Take pictures or take away memories but NEVER take away anything from the tide pools!

Print this FREE Tide Pool packet from the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association and take it with you to the Dana Point Tide Pools.

It has a cool list of Tide Pool Animals that you might find.... Like .... Arthropods, Crabs, Cindarians, Echinoderms, Sea Stars, Fish, Molluscs, Sea Hares, and Snails. There are also drawings of what each animal looks like. Print your free copy right here!

Tide pool rules need to be reviewed with family and especially your little ones before going to the tide pools.

These are state mandated laws for the Dana Point Marine Protected Area.

Dana Point Marine Life Refuge

Dana Point Marine Life Refuge and Tide Pool Area

HINT - The best time to explore and find sea life in the Dana Point tide pools is from Winter to Spring during afternoon low tides.

One real good spot is directly behind the Ocean Institute! The picture above is from that specific tide pool area.

The tide pool area behind the Ocean Institute has a SECRET little beach you can enjoy!

No lifeguard is on duty at this beach, swim at your own risk.

If you prefer a calm beach for your toddler, check out Baby Beach! It’s within walking distance of the tide pools.

Tide Pool Rules - protect marine life and preserve our ecosystem.

  • Never remove animals, shells or rocks from the tide pools.
  • Never pick up animals, observe them where they are.
  • Walk gently, taking care not to step on plants or animals.
  • Never turn over rocks.
  • Never pick up moving shells.
  • REMEMBER- never remove anything from the tide pools.

Parking is free in the parking lots next to the Ocean Institute, please park in the Dana Harbor/ Dana Cove Park parking lot adjacent to the Institute and not directly in front of the Institute.

The most important thing to remember is to be safe and have fun on your trip to the tide pools. It gets slippery with the wet rocks and the waves crashing against them. Keep the kids close to the shore and make sure they have good closed toe walking shoes for their safety.

Don’t forget to make this part of your family vacation planning, day trip, weekend getaway or camping excursion.

Doheny State Beach, is one of the best family beaches in Southern California! It is so close to the Dana Point tide pools that you will want to make sure you put it on your to do list!

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