We’ve lived in LA almost a year, but there are still so many areas we haven’t explored. Last weekend, we decided to check out Abalone Cove Shoreline Park and their tide pools. It was such a gorgeous drive, with amazing views. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you should definitely check it out and here is everything you need to know.
What is Abalone Cove?
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is located in Racho Palos Verdes, California. It has two beaches, tidepools, ane hiking areas. The park also includes a State Ecological Preserve. That means, don’t take any of the marine life or animals. The views of the ocean and Catalina Island are breathtaking. If you do visit Abalone Cove, make sure to wear sneakers so you’re prepared for the hiking. Although we did all have sneakers on, we were not ready for the hike down the large cliff to get to the tide pool. Mostly, I just wasn’t wearing clothing I’d normally wear to go hiking.
What are Tide Pools?
Although there is a lot you can do at Abalone Cove, we chose to visit specifically, so we could check out the tide pools.
So what is a tide pool exactly? They are the area along the shoreline of rocky coasts where ocean water gets trapped during low tide. The cool thing about tide pools is that you can see marine life such as snails, barnacles, mussels, urchins, and small fish during low tide.
Why Your Kids Will Love It
Visiting Abalone Cove was great for my kids for several reasons. First, in order to get to the beach, we had to walk down the large cliff. The hike was steeper and more demanding than I was expecting. It was totally doable for little kids. I noticed kids as young as 3 or 4 were doing the hike. However, you’ll definitely want to walk slowly and hold their hands. I held my daughter’s hand the entire way down and up, as there are a lot of uneven surfaces and some big steps here and there.
My kids did enjoy the hike, but they were even more excited when we got to the beach because there were tons of large rocks for them to hop over. They also loved being able to run in the sand and jump over all the little inlets.
Once we were at the tide pools, they got so much joy out of looking for all the little sea creatures. They were so excited when they spotted a bunch of tiny crabs and snails in one of the pools. They also got to see crabs, sea urchins, coral, and mussels.
How to Incorporate STEM Learning
Whenever I can, I try to think of ways to incorporate STEM learning into everyday activities. Visiting Abalone Cove made it so easy. There is science happening all around us at the beach, so I talked to the kids about low tide, and the sea life we saw.
If you’re not sure what to talk about with your kids, I’d just use it as a chance to allow them to explore and act like scientists. Every time they ask a question or make an observation, they are acting like a scientist – so tell them that! Just helping them to think about what it means to be a scientist will help them be more excited about science and want to learn more about their surroundings. Help them remember the questions and observations they made at the cove, and then do research on what you saw when you get home. This is such an easy way to incorporate STEM learning in a fun and approachable way.
The Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit is during low tide so you can check out the pools and also have the best access to the beach. Before you visit, just make sure to check for the low tide times. When we visited in late November, low tide happened to be around 2 pm.
What to Bring
Besides wearing clothing and shoes appropriate for hiking, you might also want to bring towels. If it’s warm day, you might want to wear a swimsuit or clothing you don’t mind getting wet. My kids definitely wanted to swim, but it was cool that day and we didn’t bring towels or suits. Next time, I’d definitely let my kids wear their suits and bring towels so they could have explored the water even more.
We had a great day exploring Abalone Cove. My kids loved the adventure and I loved getting out in nature. It was definitely a gorgeous spot and so worth the effort. If you’re in Los Angeles anytime soon, you should definitely check it out. It’s totally worth the drive down to Ranchos Palos Verdes.