The Great Tide Pool | Monterey

The Great Tide Pool is located near Monterey, California. It is a very shallow area of rocky beach where the receding tide allows you to spot all kinds of ocean life. Another reason the Great Tide Pool in Monterey is so famous is because John Steinbeck frequented these tide pools. With patience and time, you can safely spot all kinds of sea creatures in the tide pools.

The great tide pool monterey
The Great Tide Pool is in a beautiful spot.


The Great Tide Pool is located along Ocean View Blvd/Sunset Drive in Monterey across from the Point Pinos Lighthouse. We parked just north of the junction of Lighthouse Avenue and Ocean View Blvd, and then walked down to the beach. There are lots of pullouts and parking areas along the road where you can walk down and explore the tide pools. Anywhere near Pacific Grove Rocky View has tide pools to explore. Hopefully this map will help you find where to go. Asilomar State Park Beach is just south of this area on Sunset Drive and is said to have great tide pools, too.

What to wear

Make sure you are wearing good shoes when you visit the Great Tide Pool. Flip-flops are an unwise choice, because as you hop from rock to rock, you need good footing. There are many shallow places where you won’t get wet, but we found ourselves venturing farther and farther from the beach, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting a little wet. Also, depending on the season and the time of day, you will probably want a jacket. It is always cooler and windier next to the ocean, so dress accordingly.

The great tide pool monterey
The water can be fierce, so watch carefully.
Sunset at the great tide pool monterey
This child is wearing his jacket AND my jacket.

What We Saw

As far as the things you might see in the Great Tide Pool, we mostly enjoyed spotting the different types of crabs. They are bright purple or orange, and nearly the size of your palm. They are very difficult to photograph, because as soon as they see you, they disappear under a rock. The easiest creature to spot was the hermit crab. We saw hundreds, and if you watch closely, you’ll see them walking along the bottom of a shallow pool.

The crabs claws were often the only thing we could see.
We did find some crab shells.
There were little hermit crabs all over.

There were also plenty of anemones. These weren’t very brightly colored, so at first we didn’t notice them. Eventually, we started spotting more and more. We saw a few bright orange starfish. They were a treasure to find because they were only few. Limpets and other shelled creatures were also very plentiful. We even found a few different shells just lying around the tide pools.

Anenome in The great tide pool monterey
The anemones blend in, so keep an eye out.
We were excited to find a few starfish.
There is a big variety of things to see in tide pools
This shell is beautiful!
We even spotted a seal in the shallow water near the tide pools.

When to Visit

If you enjoy tide pooling, check the tide chart and head to the Great Tide Pool. The best time to visit tide pools is about an hour before low tide to an hour after low tide. Our boys love finding creatures hidden among the rocks!

The great tide pool monterey
Make time for a stop at the Great Tide Pool.

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