California and North Lake Streets
Moss Beach, CA 94038
Days and Hours Of Operation
Sunrise to sunset
2 and up
DescriptionWelcome to one of the richest intertidal ecosystems along the Pacific Coast. Twice a day, up to 200 species of scuttling, wriggling creatures are stranded by the retreating tide in 30 acres of tide pools.
Step cautiously across wet, slippery rocks. Foam bubbles flecking the surface of newly formed pools quickly burst, revealing a bustling community of crabs, mussels, clams, urchins, starfish, and anemones.
A roving naturalist is sometimes available at low tide on weekends. Visit NOAA's tide charts to check for low tide. Also, visit the Marine Reserve's website for more information.
From San Francisco, take 280 South to Highway 1 South toward Pacifica. Stay on Highway 1 until Moss Beach, which is before you hit Half Moon Bay. Turn right at California Street and drive west to the end. The parking lot is on the right side; walk down the path to the beach.
SamTrans bus service is also available for direct service to the reserve.
SFKids Tips*If you arrive and the low tide is not low enough, go to the park across Highway 1, bring your lunch to the picnic area near the Ranger Station at Fitzgerald parking lot.
*Bring water boots if the water is too cold. Bring an extra change of clothes for kids.
*Review the rules with your kids before going down to the tides.
*There are other tidepools in Linda Mar in Pacifica and Point Reyes in Marin.
What We've Heard"We have gone for years and my kids love this little excursion. It is not far from the City and it has parking. We often bring out-of-towners to see the Pacific Ocean. This is better than any science class or any museum." — Pat L., dad of a 6- and 8-year-old