If you’re looking for a change of pace and some new scenery, head to the Florida coast. There, you’ll find beautiful tide pools just waiting to be explored. Florida has some of the best tide pools in the country. Here are our 5 favorite ones that are surely worth a visit, as they aren’t too far away from major metropolitan areas like Miami or Tampa.
Before you visit these tide pools
Before we show you the four most exciting tide pools in Florida, please beware of the risks that hiking to a tidal pool or swimming in one brings. You can slip, or the ocean decides to act up. Not all tide pools.
Whichever tide pool you’re visiting, always take the following precautions when exploring tide pools:
● Never hike to a tide pool without a mobile phone
● Never swim in a tide pool alone without anyone watching over you
● Don’t blindly stumble around barefoot in a tide pool (You could hurt yourself or other creatures)
● Watch the waves, currents, and tides
● Don’t take selfies too close to the water
● If you get in trouble or spot a swimmer in distress, call the Fire Department at 911
The tide on Florida’s east coast
The eastern coast of Florida faces the atlantic and can be dangerous, as the tide and surf can be very strong.
Fun fact: Florida’s east coast is home to the world’s largest tidal power plant. The plant, located in St. Lucie County, generates enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes.
Luckily, the tides are predictable. With proper preparation and timing, you can ensure you visit the tide pools during a safe time window.
Please always check the updated daily and monthly tide data.
1.Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Nestled between the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean, Washington Oaks Garden State Park features 425 acres of seaside view along State Road A1A in Palm Coast. That’s a 1:15h drive from Orlando and an hour’s drive from Jacksonville.
The park is a beautiful place to explore, run, fish, have a picnic, relax and take the kids for a stroll. Across the park is a secluded beach full of coquina rock, some sporting circular holes, others constructing bowls that form tide pools with plenty of marine life out and about.
This beach is excellent for walking and relaxing. Unfortunately, the beach is full of rock and rip currents, making swimming difficult. Make sure to wear swimming shoes.
The best time to visit is during low tide, so you can explore tide pools when the water is warm, and the water is clear. The beach has easy access from the parking lot. Just follow the trail from the park’s entrance.
After we visited, we drove for around an hour to kayak with manatees, alligators and sea otters. You know… the type of animals that are too big to fit into tide pools!
2.Coral Cove Park
Coral Cove Park is the perfect place if you’re looking for a quieter beach with the great benefits of paddleboarding and snorkeling. The beach offers a dramatic coastline of rocks creating small waterfalls and tide pools. During low tide, there are plenty of unique coral outcroppings with abundant marine life crawling around. Lots of fun for adults and kids!
This family-friendly beach is located on the northern side of Palm Beach County, around 5 minutes from Jupiter. It has free parking with many hidden, quaint access points. It is recommended to wear swimming shoes, especially for kids. Some rocks have sharp edges that can hurt your feet.
3. Bathtub Reef Beach
Located on the east coast of Stuart, Bathtub Reef is a favorite beach among families because of its soft white sand and crystal clear water. The beach is excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. In addition, it is idyllic for kids and casual swimmers.
The beach is home to hundreds of marine creatures, including endangered sea turtles. During low tide, the reef makes a great barrier and creates a shallow tide pool. Watch out for any signs put up by lifeguards. Avoid swimming in the red flag area.
4. Red Reef Park
Reed Reef Park is a great family destination in Boca that offers many activities. The park features barbecue and picnic areas, walking trails, and a picturesque beach. Unfortunately, the waves can be pretty high sometimes. Check the beach conditions before going in.
Red Reef beach is home to lots of diverse marine animals and is great for snorkeling, even for beginners. Kids can enjoy swimming and exploring the reefs at the tide pools near the beach entrance. Make sure to visit during low tide to access the pools.
The beach has convenient access, with several boardwalks that lead to different access points. In addition, residents of Boca Raton can buy a yearly pass ticket.
5. Tigertail Beach
In our article about Florida’s warmest beaches during winter. We mentioned tigertail beach, which is located on Marco Island and is a decent option for tidepooling, beachcombing and bird watching.
Did you discover other tidal pools in Florida that are worth checking out?
Please let us know in the comments, and we’ll add them to our growing list.
Tried-and-tested Gadgets for Shoreline Shenanigans!
The following gear has shaped all our tide pool adventures.
We consider many of these gadgets “buy it for life” and all of them are a worthwhile investment to have a fun and safe tidepooling experience.
Vibrams provide the durability and grip required to conquer craggy, slippery rocks. Warning: Once you go Five Fingers, you’ll likely never go back!
Ever since a rogue wave caught me off guard and corroded my phone, we have used these cases whenever we go tidepooling. They work for most phones.
Safe fun for kids!
It is easy to catch a bruise when tidepooling. This rash guard protects your kids if they want to sit down to take a rest. You will also need less sunscreen 😀
Vibrams are too expensive as they will grow out of them fairly quickly. Saguaros are much cheaper and come in tons of colors.
To complete your Pokédex!
Cheap snorkeling masks are dangerous as they trap CO². So invested in these . Still look as good as new after ~80 snorkel trips, as they are easy to clean.
We like making memories, but aren’t avid videographers. So we didn’t splurge on a GoPro, but bought this one instead. The best: it works using voice commands!