There are four distinct tide pool location Crystal Cove State Park. The northern most area is called Pelican Point. This area has a large flat tide pool area with lots of smaller shallow pools that are easy to walk in and see the marine life. There are plenty of barnacles and mussels to see along with animals that prefer calmer waters. The better tide pool location is further south near the Reef point and Rocky Bight areas. There are larger rocks that are more exposed wave action. These location are preferred by gooseneck barnacles, tube worms, sea anemones and lots more. There are numerous smaller pools that provide perfect habitat for all kinds of marine life. The area is relatively easy to walk on but watch your step as the area is covered with marine life.
Shaws Cove tide pools are amazing in the variety of marine life and ease of access. Parking can be challenging but worth the wait. This location has two of the three common tide pool types, flat bench areas and rocky areas with large surge channels. The section to the south is a large flat area that supports huge amounts of mussels, barnacles, really large sea anemones and urchins. The smaller pools are usually filled with small juvenile fish darting about. It is just a short walk to the tide pool areas both north and south of the staircase. Look for the massive tube work colonies located at the base of the surge channels on the norther tide pool area.
The tide pools at Treasure Island and Goff Island are great places to see huge numbers of sea urchins. The deep pools at these locations have hundreds of purple and a few red sea urchins. There are public restrooms in the resort area on the top of the cliff. There are also has lots of mussels, barnacles, sea anemones and lots of shore crabs. The small bays have crystal clear blue water that looks like a tropical paradise. This area is quite popular and one low tide days, there are volunteers to help with questions about the tide pool life.