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Discover Orange County's Best Tide Pools

Best Tide Pools in Orange County - Tide Pools
Camille Reddick
Camille Reddick
April 28, 2023

When stress hits, Orange County is the perfect place for turning the tides toward relaxation. In fact, wading in glistening, soothing tide pools is a popular Southern California pastime. Beach explorers love to peer into warm, frothy tides that are stilled by rock borders to look for marine life and one-of-a-kind shells. Beyond the calmness of the pools, surfers ride along translucent peaks before returning to golden sand warmed by the SoCal sun. Tide-pool hopping is perfect for families, friends, or couples looking for a great way to spend a day in Orange County. Here's your look at Orange County, CA's four best tide pools!

Rockpile Beach in Laguna Beach, CA


Boulders jutting from the celestial sand and water at Rockpile Beach create cities of tide pools. It can be fun to skip from pool to pool while watching surfers take on the world-class surf break located at this beach. Visitors will find a wonderland of marine life thriving just below the water's surface. Be sure to pack water shoes to avoid the sting of purple urchins and jagged rocks!

Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna Beach, CA

While the name of this beach is an exaggeration, visitors will still have to cover around 200 steps to reach intrepid views at Laguna's Thousand Step Beach. Framed by sandstone cliffs that jut into the water like eternal giants, this beautiful beach is known for its steep steps leading to one of the best shore-break spots in Southern California. There's also a sea cave with a complete walkthrough! When exploring the tide pools here during high tide, be sure to inquire with the lifeguards about any submerged rocks that could trip you up! Overall, Thousand Step Beach is best when a visit is timed for low tide.

Crescent Bay Beach in Laguna Beach, CA

bluffs overlooking the beach

With its cliffs and caves, Crescent Bay offers some of Laguna Beach's best views. Sculpted into the shape of a golden crescent, this beautiful beach is bordered by mansion-topped bluffs. While bodysurfers are obsessed with the swells that pitch right into the sand, pool explorers will love exploring underwater wonders using a rock shelf at the beach's south end during low tide. The rock outcroppings along the beach are also magnets for sea life.

Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach, CA

large rocks on the coast

Aliso Beach is one of Laguna's most popular beaches, offering easy access to sand, surf, and amenities. Flanked by tide pools on both sides, this lovely spot makes it easy to enjoy an idyllic afternoon while skimmers practice their attempts to conquer the heavy shore break nearby. In fact, the skimboarding conditions are so perfect here that Aliso Beach has hosted world championships. While visitors are free to explore this beach's great tide pools, guests must avoid entering the creek because the runoff in the water may contain illness-causing bacteria.

Start Planning Your Orange County Adventure

Hopping from beach to beach to discover the best tide pools in Orange County, CA is a fun, wholesome activity that allows you to relax by reconnecting with nature. This adventure is sure to have you working up an appetite. Fortunately, Orange County is nearly as famous for its cuisine as it is for its epic tide pools. This rundown of the places for the best pizza in Anaheim will help you find a perfect spot for a crowd-pleasing dinner or lunch. Just call it a day of "pools and pizza."

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