The tidepools at Whites Point

Whites Point Tide Pools

One of the best features about this location is the easy access. There is a parking lot right next to the tide pool area. The tidepool area has a large rock bench area about the height of a medium tide. The top of this bench is covered by huge beds of mussels and barnacles with hardly any bare rock showing. The area closest to the parking lot is located in the higher tidal zones. This area is packed with snails and hermit crabs. The area to the south is a mix of rock benches with deep channels. These channels are ideal habitat for a variety of marine life and should be explored.
The tidepools at Whites Point Looking toward the parking lot from tidepool area The large pool on top of the upper bench Seagulls are a common site A shallow pool in the tidepool area Aggregate sea anemones in a shallow pool Barnacles form thick clumps on the more exposed areas Many channels intersect the rocky area creating good tidepool habitat One of the hot spring areas. Notice the white or light grey area that is actually mats of bacteria
Whites point is located in San Pedro at the end of Kay Florentino Dr. This is a small street that intersects West Paseo Del Mar. Follow Kay Florentino Dr to the end and turn left and park as close to the tidepool area as desired. This is a self service fee area. Restrooms are available at the north end of the parking area.

Tide Pool Access

Access to the tidepool area is easy. Simply exit your car, take a few steps and you are there.

Points of Interest

The tide pool area has three main areas to explore. The first area is closest to the parking lot. This area can be identified by an old foundation that was once a hotel built around the hot springs. All that remains of the foundation is a 1-2 food concrete wall that is deteriorating. This area has lots of snails and hermit crabs in the pools that surround the rocky areas. Small fish and also be seen darting back and forth.

The next area is the elevated large rock bench area. The top of the bench is covered with large beds of mussels and barnacles. There is also a large pool on top of this area that is packed with urchins, sea anemones and algae. Plenty of small fish also inhabit this pool. The mussels and barnacles are so extensive there is hardly any bare rock showing. The outer edge of this rock bench forms a cliff that falls off into the ocean. The lower sections of this cliff area are covered by a variety of algae. A few urchins and anemones can be seen in the larger protected cracks.

Note that very few if any sea stars are in this location as the sea star wasting syndrome has reduced the populations to few if any animals. The abundance of mussels and barnacles is the result of the reduced number of sea stars. Sea stars are the primary predator for mussels and barnacles and without the key predator, the populations increase dramatically.

The third section of the tidepool area is the vast area to the south. This area is composed of large rocky areas that have many shallow and deep channels that run through the rocks. This creates lots of vertical surfaces ideal for limpets, algae and more mussels and barnacles on the outer edges. Sections of this area can be particularly difficult to walk on so care should be taken exploring this area.

Another point of interest is the hot pools in this area. There are a few pools of water that have what looks like a white or light grey slimy coating. This coating is actually billions of bacteria that are specially adapted to use the sulfur from the hot springs as an energy source. The hot spring locations can also be found by following the odor of rotten eggs.
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