Woods cove is a small cove located in south Laguna Beach. The cove has rocky outcroppings in the north, south and several in the middle of the small cove. The best tide pools location is the northern bench area and the rocky outcropping in the middle. Woods cove has a great variety of marine life including urchins, sea stars, anemones, mussels, barnacles, limpets and plenty of small fish that are easily visible. The northern area is mostly flat and good for viewing the wide variety of marine life. This area has two large pools, one on the upper part that has lots of upper tidal zone life ( snails, limpets ) and a lower pool that has lower tidepool life like urchins, sea stars, mussels and barnacles.
Location, Parking and AmenitiesThere are two entrances to the cove each located on Ocean Way on either side of Diamond Street in south Laguna Beach. Free parking is available on Ocean way but is nearly impossible to find an available space. Additional metered parking is available on Pacific Coast Highway and the side streets scrounging the area. Be prepared to walk a good distance in summer months. There are no restrooms or restaurants.
Tide Pool AccessAccess to the beach and the tide pools is from one of two staircases. The staircase leads to the beach and the tidepool areas are just a short walk away. Note that the cove and most of the beach is underwater at high tide.
Points of InterestThere are three separate tidepool areas located in the cove. The southern rocky outcropping is rugged and has a good variety of life. This area is difficult to walk on and the least accessible for the ordinary visitor. The rock grouping in the middle of the bay provides an easy way to walk up to the rocks and see the wide variety of marine life clinging to vertical rock walls and large rocks. The third and best tidepool area is to the north ( Cactus Point ).
The middle group of rocks provides great variety both from a terrain and marine life perspective. There are large rocks with nearly vertical sides covered with mussels, barnacle, red and brown algae. A few sea stars can be seen in the lower tidal areas. There are several smaller rocks covered by aggregating sea anemones and solitaire anemones. This area provides a great way to see a variety of marine life easily as long as there is a low tide.
The tidepool area to the north is exceptional both in variety and numbers. This area has two large pools, one located on the upper terrace and the other located on the lower terrace. The upper pool has marine life suited for the upper tidal zone. This pool has lots of snails, limpets, crabs, barnacles and plenty of small juvenile fish.
The lower smaller pools have lots of urchins and sea stars. Many of the pools also have an abundance of sea anemones and red algae. These pools are so packed with live there is hardly any rock showing. The lower terrace also has vast beds of mussels and various barnacles. The deep channels that separate the small islands are covered with a variety of brown algae easily visible at low tide. There is also a smaller tidal area that has lots of sea grass, brown algae and anemones at the base of the northern section.