Low Tide - Best Dates and Times
The Best Times for Visiting the Tidepools
Late fall and winter are the optimum times for a visit to the tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument: unlike the summer months, when low tides occur in the middle of the night, the good low tides - including the outstanding negative low tides - in fall and winter occur during daylight hours when the park is open.
You can find information about the low tides at Cabrillo from the charts below, or from this link (courtesy of Ed Parnell at Scripps) which show the charts for 2015. You can also find the charts for 2016 here. There is normally a 2 hour viewing window before and after the low tide. Please review the Tidepooling Tips and Rules to Protect the Tidepools to help ensure a safe visit for both you and this fragile ecosystem. Please don't pick up any tidepool critters; you may touch things gently, and please do not pry anything off the rocks. Prying off the animals will most likely kill them as they are hanging on for their lives waiting for the tide to come back in.
Nature's Windows of Opportunity
Of course, the best time to visit the tidepools is as close to the low tide time as possible, but Mother Nature has built in a four-hour window of opportunity for you. A general rule of thumb is that the tidepools can be visited approximately two hours before low tide time (when the tide is receding) and two hours after (when the tide is coming back in). Please keep in mind that the tidepool area closes at 4:30 PM. Be sure to read Tidepooling Tips and Rules to Protect the Tidepools to ensure a safe visit for both you and this fragile ecosystem.