San Diego is famous for having some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. So, how do you find a less populous shoreline to explore? At the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and Cerezo Drive in the north county coastal town of Carlsbad exists a rare stretch of sandy solace veiled from suburbia by sea cliffs. There’s plentiful (free) street parking. Walk along the few miles of trail that hug the edge of the bluffs. Next, head down the stairs paralleling the intersection and walk a few hundred feet north to find the totally amazing tide pools. Look for the usual suspects, but also the lined shore crab (aka tide pool garbage collector) or Southern California’s wooly sculpin, a lurk-and-lunge hunting fish that also boasts a famous San Diego IPA to its name.
Check for the lowest tides. To get to the tide pools, from I-5, take the Cannon Dr. exit towards the ocean, turn left onto Carlsbad Blvd., and look for the Cerezo Dr. traffic light. No dogs on beach.