Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Best Tide Pools in Orange County- Your OC Tide Pool Guide

Lately I have had quite a few people email me for tide pool information.  As a result, I have decided to create a resource for people looking for some good Orange County tide pool information.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, so if you know of somewhere special that I missed, please shoot me an email or post a comment and I will be happy to add it. Orange County beaches are always great places to find educational family fun.  Remember, these tide pools are very fragile ecosystems and nothing should be removed or destroyed.  If you see anyone doing anything that they shouldn’t, don’t be afraid to speak up.  And if you see any trash in the area, pack it out.  The starfish will thank you.



January 20092

This state park is one of California’s gems.  There are some wonderful tide pools and many volunteer lead tide pool walks (view their calendar for details by clicking on the calendar icon on this website).  Crystal Cove is a great place to take out-of-towners because the beach is pristine and reminiscent of California beaches of yesteryear.  Plus there is a restaurant on the sand and a shake shack up at the top of the hill on PCH.  I LOVE THIS BEACH.  There is parking on the south end of the park on the ocean side of the highway, and on the inland side of the highway at the more popular  (ie: near food) north entrance.   Both spots are great places to park and head towards the tide pools which are in the middle of the stretch of beach belonging to the park.  This beach is located on Pacific Coast Highway between Laguna Beach and Corona Del Mar. Good directions can be found by typing the words “crystal cove” into Google Maps.



This is my favorite OC beach for tide pooling.  This beach is not commonly known by tourists (which means it isn’t usually crowded with people) and it has my favorite tide pools in the region.  I have seen more diversity of tide pool animal life here than anywhere else in Orange County.  Little Corona Del Mar Beach is located in Corona Del Mar  at the corner of Ocean Blvd and Poppy Avenue.  You park in the residential neighborhood above the beach (and oh what a neighborhood it is!) and then walk down the path to the beach. There are restrooms located halfway down the path.  


July 2007

This tide pool spot is a great one for visitors of Laguna Beach to explore.  I have heard from a couple different people that the occasional octopus can be spotted in this area though I have yet to see one.  Nevertheless, its a beautiful spot and a nice place to stroll the shops, play in the surf, and search for crabs and sea stars. Main Beach is located where Laguna Canyon Road meets PCH and Heisler Park and the tide pools are just a 10 minute stroll north up the sand.  If you type “Heisler Park Laguna Beach” into Google Maps, you will get accurate directions.


Photo Courtesy Flickr user Typefiend

Photo Courtesy Flickr User TypeFiend

This local spot is popular with divers, snorkelers, and tide poolers.  There are no bathroom facilities here so make sure you have emptied your bladder before heading down.  There is access to this spot at Fairview Street and Cliff Drive. A stairway off Cliff Drive leads down to the cove. Here are good directions. 


You don’t want to head to the beach to explore tide pools without checking the tide tables.  Nothing is more disappointing than arriving at a tide  pool only to find it under water!  Here is the online tide table that I use.  Follow the San Clemente, Newport Bay Entrance at Corona Del Mar, or Balboa Pier times depending on what beach you are visiting.


December 20082

Its important to know what you are looking at when exploring tide pools and the Doheny State Beach website has a great printable identification pamphlet.  Everything from limpets to purple sea urchins can be indentified using this handy dandy resource. Print out a copy and bring it with you as you explore the tide pools. 

Happy Exploring!

This post is participating in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursday. Click here and see who else has joined in on the fun!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch GIVEAWAY!!!!


Yes, its already that time of the year!  Fall officially starts next week and the Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch opens this weekend! From September 18 through October 31st, the pumpkin patch is open daily (for hours click here). Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch has always been one of my family’s favorite spots in all of Orange County and a visit to the annual pumpkin patch has become a family tradition. Why? Because in addition to lots and lots of pumpkins there is also face painting, bounce houses, carnival games, tractor races, tractor rides, a hay maze, a haunted house, paddle boats, bike rentals, pony rides, and the train! Whew!  And and we can’t forget the fun playgrounds or the zoo!  Let’s face it, its hard to beat Irvine Park.


Because I love and support all of Orange County’s Parks so much, I was absolutely thrilled when I was asked to host a giveaway! I love promoting the parks any time but being able to give something away to one of my readers is just icing on the cake. So what is the giveaway? How about 8 Train Tickets (which can be used for other Pumpkin Patch activities as well) and a Free Bike Rental! That’s a $57 value! 


How do you enter? Just leave a comment telling me which OC Park you love the most. Its that easy!  If you want an extra entry share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did.  Want another one? Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment letting me know! Good luck!

This post is participating in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursday.

Contest ends September 26th at 11:59PM.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

US Open Sandcastle Competition

Every year they come by the hundreds of thousands.  They converge on a strip of sand just a north of the international border, and watch as sculptors of sand create their masterpieces.  This year, we decided to join the masses and see what all the fuss was about. 

Entrants have only 5 hours to create a sand sculpture in the pursuit of $21,000 in prize money.  What they come up with is definitely above and beyond anything I have ever created with a shovel and pail.  Spectators file up and down the beach, checking out the progress of each masterpiece in progress, squeezing through the crowds to get a front row view of the action.

August 20101

Finally 2PM rolls around and the creations are complete (or as complete as they are gonna be).  The professionals draw the biggest crowds with their fancy camera crews and media attention but I think every sculpture was worthy of star treatment.

August 20102

August 20105

August 20106  

The oil spill in the gulf was a popular theme this year. I suppose looking out at California’s pristine beaches, its hard not to think about what has been happening on the other end of the country.

August 20103

August 20104

But most of all, creativity ruled the beach.



Collages65 Collages69  


If you would like to see these impressive sculptures be built right before your very eyes, be sure to head out to Imperial Beach next year. For more information, click here.