La Jolla has tons of opportunities to get out and explore nature, but one you may not have tried is visiting any of the La Jolla tide pools! Whether you hit up Shell Beach at the end of Scripps Park or head to Dike Rock north of Scripps Pier, you won’t regret the trip for these 5 reasons.
1. Natural beauty
This pretty much says it all. Tide pools are gorgeous, from shimmering colors of rocks and algae to striped and spotted fish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures. Make sure to go at low tide for the best view. Note: please do not touch anything, as you can hurt delicate organisms or disrupt the pH level and kill algae they require to live.
2. Not your everyday beach activity
If you’re bored with regular beach activities or the weather’s a bit too cold for a swimsuit, the many tide pools near The Cove are a great alternative. They’re also not too much of a time or energy commitment, so they make for a great lunch break or after-work refresher! No need to go in above your knees, especially since you’ll want to avoid stepping on any wildlife. You may want to keep an eye out for surprise waves, however.
3. Incredible biodiversity
Tide pools are home to very adaptable species, as the shifting cycles of tides means that they must survive both under and above water, in sun and wind, as well as in strong and mild currents! Seaweed, lichen, crabs, mussels, anemone, abalone and many more species of plants and animals live there. See the tide pools now because oceanic conditions are always changing, especially with the atypical weather we’ve had the last few years. What’s here now may not be here in two years!
4. Learn something new
While you definitely don’t need to be well-read to enjoy the tide pools, it can be fun to know what you’re looking at! Facts are more interesting and memorable when you have something really cool to attach it to. Did you know the starburst sea anemone stings other anemones to fight over territory? We found this helpful guide from Scripps that points out things to look for and what they are. Skip to the fifth page for a good illustration of where to find what.
5. Meditative and restorative
La Jolla tide pools with their intricate visual details and gently flowing water are great to use for mindfulness. Looking at a complex thing for a while is a good way to step out of the hassles of everyday life and revive your spirits. For a double dose of focus and peace, try closing your eyes and listening to ocean noises.
A few tips before you go: Make sure to wear shoes that will protect your feet from sharp rocks and prevent you from slipping! Nobody wants to fall in and get wet, and you might damage the tide pools if you do. Bring a camera, as tide pools make for great photo opportunities (though you might want to consider waterproofing options). Early morning in the summer and late afternoon in the fall and winter will probably get you the best tide pool visibility.
Photo credits to Roger Wagner and Kenneth Hagemeyer from flickr.com