James Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

During periods of low tides, pools form along the rocky depressions. In them you find marine life that are not always available to nonswimmers like me.

I heard of James Fitzgerald Marine Reserve from the hubby who suggested we take a short stop here on our way to Monterey last spring. To maximize our time and fully enjoy the tide pools, I called ahead of time for the low tide schedule.

The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is west of CA Hwy 1 in Moss Beach at the westend of California Avenue. Look for the large highway sign that says California Avenue and a smaller sign for the Marine Life Refuge just below. Drive to the end of the road and park in the lot. [source]

Best time to go: May and June generally have the best (lowest) tides and they stay low longer. Check a tide table before you go to be sure you get there at the right time of day. Tides are measured in feet: 2.0 means the water is 2 feet above sea level. Go when tide is less than 1.5 (minus tides are even better). Tide pools will be exposed about 2 hours before and 1.5 hours after low tide. [source]


Signs along the entry of the reserve.

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The rocky crags are full of marine life. Inspect carefully.




Established in 1969, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is one of the richest intertidal areas on the California coast. Extensive shale reefs are home for a wide variety of marine life, such as giant green anemones, limpets, purple sea urchins, crabs and snails. In fact, over 25 new species have been discovered at the reserve. It's best to see the tide pools during the low minus tides which expose the rocky shoreline to view. [source]




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Large beds of mussels. Careful where you step.

Also calling this home are the harbor seals. Keep your distance.

There is a little beach area, but people come here for the tide pools.

It's one of the best spots I've seen, rarely known around these parts.

BTW, I had the most amazing vacation so far. It wasn't a relaxing one. I was on my feet walking and sweating. I am happy that I didn't overdo it with picture taking and I have just enough photos I thought, but still too much to get organized right away.

Will blog about this later after the other posts in queue.


  1. Oh I'm looking forward to your amazing vacation pictures! Re-the Marine Reserve it is reassuring to know that there are still places like these where you can observe marine life in all its glory.

  2. for some reasons, my heart always beats faster whenever i see underwater creatures. ang ganda! effortless viewing of the colorful corals!

  3. wow, this is an amazing place. great for exploring. the corals are beautiful! (i wish i had an underwater camera when i was snorkeling in Coron) the rock formations are awesome--great composition!

    looking forward to your vacation photos. i'm also in the process of organizing my Coron shots.:p

  4. oh my. *inggit* i would spend hours just staring at those treasures. thanks for taking us along your trip with those pictures.

  5. What a great place for exploration!

  6. This is something I can easily do since I'm not into diving or snorkeling hahaha! I guess one just have to wear shoes with good traction as certain areas there must be really slippery.

    Welcome back from your vacay!

  7. i want to see more photos of these. i can't imagine i will be seeing those marine life so near - they're so beautiful.

  8. amazing! im not sure if this was the one that was featured in NatGeo magazine months ago. i really hope we can implement this on some of our islands here.

  9. A fine series showing what an amazing place this is to visit and look…and look some more. Excellent shooting.

  10. A small marine paradise. We should avoid touch nature in all the parks.



    Barcelona Daily Photo

  11. What a great place to explore! Love the sea pool shots.

  12. I guess the only "collecting" is with the camera. That's not a bad alternative!


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