We have been to many beaches in the surrounding area for the surf, swimming, sight-seeing, and even the flavors, but this weekend was different: after watching a popular You Tuber head to a beach and show off his marine life finds, my son specifically asked to “wake up super early” to go see some tide pools at low tide. After explaining that the actual time of low tide changed with each day (and subsequently thanking the stars…or should I say moon?… that low tide today was at 1:51 p.m.!) we began to look up the best local tide pools in the L.A area.
We came across this gem of a site: Calfornia Beaches.com and decided upon White Point Royal Palms Beach Park in San Pedro. Armed with our buckets and beach shoes, we were not disappointed!
Official Website: White Point Royal Palms Beach Park
Location: 1799 Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro
Kid Friendly? Absolutely! Rock scrambling best for 5+. We had an 8,11 and 15 year old and all enjoyed it.
Fido Friendly? Dogs are allowed on the boardwalk and picnic areas; no dogs allowed on the beach.
Cost: Metered parking at main entrance; flat rate parking fee to enter and drive down to beach.
Attire: Beach wear (shorts and t-shirts are fine), sunscreen, and sturdy beach shoes for scrambling wet barnacle-covered rocks. Flip flops are very slippery and NOT recommended! I would opt for an old pair of sneakers next time.
What to Bring: There are areas for beach lounging (albeit very rocky), so a beach umbrella, blankets, basic beach gear, and a sack lunch would be perfect. On the other side of the park, there are grills and picnic benches, so you could really go all out and make a BBQ of it! This would not be a top choice for sun bathers.
The Main Event: White Point Royal Palms Beach Park begins atop the cliffs of White Point. At the top there is a play structure, bathrooms, a small grassy area and beautiful views of the ocean and tide pools below.
Across the street is White Point Nature Preserve. A short drive (and a $10 parking fee) down the hill, there are 2 beach areas: White Point and Royal Palms. Royal Palms is off to the right and offers rocky shore exploration, a small path along the shores, picnic tables, and grills.
White Point is off to the left and also offers rocky shore exploration, a rocky beach area with some sand, some rocky tide pools, and a sandy tide pool suitable for the little tykes to splash around in.
Tidepool exploration was our goal, so we spent our day on the rocks, peering into crevices, holes, and under rocks. Walk slowly and look carefully and you won’t be disappointed. Oodles of creatures are there to admire, including crabs, hermit crabs, snails, starfish, fish, barnacles, clams, mussels, and so much more. While we were hoping for an octopus, we were thrilled to find numerous sea hares instead!
The park was very clean and there were bathrooms, garbage cans, doggy stations, and a lifeguard station. There were only a few pieces of floating debris, and in this case, a sad irony that we disposed of in an effort to leave our beaches in better shape than we found them:
Easter Eggs (unexpected extras): This park is directly across from White Point Nature Preserve. Time allowing, be sure to take a stroll through this quick and easy hike, featuring native plant gardens, an amazing hands-on nature center, and some historical military remnants, including a Nike Missile Launch Pad from the time of the Cold War.
Things to Note: This is not a sunbathing type beach. The shores are rocky, the swimming is poor. Sea life exploration is magnificent at low tide and scuba is popular at high tide. Be sure to check the tide schedules!