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Pismo Beach’s Secret Tide Pools

When it comes to the beauty of California’s Central Coast, there’s more than meets the eye. In our very own backyard, we can discover hidden beaches, mysterious staircases to nowhere, and secluded coves that are unknown to the ordinary traveler. But when you stay at the Inn at the Cove,  you get to live like local with unparalleled access to one of Pismo Beach’s best-kept secrets: the Shelter Cove tidepools. With a premier location along Pismo’s ocean bluffs, the Inn at the Cove is perched just above Shelter Cove, overlooking the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean. Read on to find out how to access the tidepools, and discover the beauty that lies beneath the surface.

Finding Shelter Cove

Your journey to discovering Shelter Cove begins at the Inn at the Cove. If you aren’t a hotel guest, you can find free parking at Dinosaur Caves Park nearby. Located just behind the Inn at the Cove, you’ll see a gazebo, bluff-top walkway, directing signs, and stairway/ramp access to Shelter Cove (also known as Elmer Ross Beach). As you make your way down to the beach, you’ll understand how Shelter Cove got its name. A rocky point to the west provides some protection from the open ocean, sheltering the cove from crashing waves, hence, Shelter Cove.

Photos: (c) @jessica_araruna, @paigethoman, @desirea_b

Tide Pooling at Shelter Cove

While Shelter Cove is only three acres of beach access, it is home to numerous untouched tide pools that let us peek into the world that exists during low tide. Before you head down to the cove to begin your tide pool adventure, use the Pismo Tide Schedule to make sure the tide is low, because that’s when you’ll see the most creatures. As you go about exploring the tide pools, keep these things in mind:

• Life on the rocks is fragile and beautiful. Do not harm or leave the tide pools and sea life worse than before.

• Move slowly and be patient. This will ensure that you do not disturb the natural life along the beach.

• Be very gentle when handling the tide pool animals. Many animals make the rock their home and are connected to it, so be careful to walk only where you can see bare rock and only pick up organisms if it can be done so easily.

The National Park Service says that many tide pool animals can be touched, but it is important to remember that we want to protect these priceless commodities and secure their survival for future visitors and generations. For more tide pooling tips, visit this blog. For a closer look at the Shelter Cove tide pools, enjoy the video below.

Show us on Instagram!

Whether you’re strolling the beach, exploring the tide pools, or kayaking through sea caves, show us on Instagram with #CentralCoasting. You can even take your photos to a new level by renting a Go Pro from Shore Cliff Hotel, located just down the street. Every month, a random #CentralCoasting entry is chosen, winning a free 1-night stay at a Martin Resorts property!

Photos: (c) @wtvz, @ambersnap, Fullerton Biology




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