The tide pools on the Monterey Peninsula extend all around the Monterey and Pacific Grove waterfront areas. Each area is slightly different depending on location but the diversity of animals is similar. There are areas with large rocky areas with shallow pools flooded by the water during high tide along with boulder fields with more gently sloping areas. It is best to take the leisurely drive around the peninsula and stop at each of the parking areas to explore the area and find the one that interests you. My favorite is marked on the map.
There is no singly tide pool location but a vast area that extends around the entire peninsula. There are many parking areas and places on the side of the road to park. The areas to the north have a moderate bluff with foot paths for visitors. There are stair cases and pathways that lead to each tide pool area. The southern areas more toward Pacific Grove are generally more flat with a longer beach.
Tidepool AccessAccess to the tide pools is from the parking area or side of the road. There are several dirt paths are stair cases in some cases that lead down to the tide pool area.
Points of InterestHere is a guide of the locations starting from the Monterey bay aquarium district. Follow ocean ave south and the first place visitors can easily visit is the Pacific Grove Marine Garden Park. It has a nice flat beach with easy stairway access. There are low boulder fields along with racked rocky out crops. There are lots of limpets, algae and crabs typically found in this area. The exposed areas have more mussels and barnacles.
The next stop on the drive is the area near Alisomar and Ocean View Blvd. My favorite location however is about ½ mile from this intersection. Both these location have a parking area and a long rocky area that stretches out into the ocean. This location is great in that it has lots of very exposed areas where mussels and Gooseneck barnacles, anemones and urchins and has more protected areas with lots of other barnacles, limpets, snails and crabs. For the algae enthusiasts, there is also a good range of brown, green and red algae in these areas. The more exposed rocks can be quite dangerous during high wave events to check before venturing out too far. This area also have a shallow lagoon area that has lots of calmer water that is replenished during higher tides. v Continue driving south and stop off at Alisomar State Beach. This tide pool location is wider in that there are lots of low rock formations between the beach and the ocean. This reduces the wave action and also the diversity of marine life in some areas. There are lots of snails, limpets and thousands of hermit crabs in the protected pools.
Once past Alisomar State Beach, the road turns into 17 mile drive near Spanish bay. There are a few locations to stop and park but they become limited the further south. There are some outstanding locations along this area that are also worth exploring. This area provides so many smaller locations it is easy to find a place to yourself except on busy tourist weekends.