Looking south from the top of the bluff

Cayucos Tide Pools

This little known town in central California has some great tide pool locations to explore. They may be harder to find but the scenery and location is definitely worth the visit. These tide pools are located at the base of a long stretch of bluffs and headlands just to the north of the town of Cayucos. There are large exposed rocks with high wave action along with lots of calmer water. There are plenty of barnacles, mussels and limpets in the more wave exposed areas. The calmer waters have lots of algae, sea anemones, hermit crabs and snails. Another great location to explore is Harmony State Park located just to the north of this location.

Location, Parking and Amenities

The tide pools are located along Pacific Coast Highway ( Highway 1 ) halfway between the town of Cayucos and Harmony State Park. There are five turnouts on the west side of the road. Park in one of these turnouts and follow the path to the beach areas. There is a large network of trails that lead form the parking areas to the beach. There are no facilities at this location.

Tidepool Access

The tide pools are located near the headlands or points in the terrain. These locations have the most diversity and numbers of animals. Follow a trail from the parking lot to the beach. Once on the bluff top overlooking the beach, find a trail that leads down to the beach or tide pool area.

Points of Interest

This location is several miles long with lots of things to see. There are three beaches that may see a handful of visitors each day so this area is not very crowded. Choose a parking area and start walking down the beach. My favorite places to explore are the locations located at the points. These locations are exposed to more wave actions that provide more food for the animals. Animals in these locations have lots of mussels, barnacles and tube snails.

There are also many tide pool areas that are more protected from stronger wave action by reefs located just offshore. Areas behind these reefs will support animals and algae that prefer less wave actions. Visitors will find lots of small pools with sea anemones, lots of snails, hermit crabs and limpets. Smaller crabs can be found in all of the locations.

Exploring the beaches in this location can be fascinating and rewarding. There are lots of interesting things to find washed up on the beach. Look for the various types of sea shells, discarded crab shells, clams and other animals found in deeper water. One of the best places to visit is Estero Bay. It has a good headland along with a fabulous beach to explore.
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