The Oregon Coast is going to be experiences some “big” low tides starting in late May. There’s nothing quite like a beach visit during an extreme low tide; suddenly a place you’ve always known looks and feels entirely different and enchanting. Areas of sand and rock that go unseen are exposed for human eyes and we can’t help but want to look and touch.

Turns out, there are right ways to enjoy the intertidal rocky areas, and there are wrong ways. We are here to share a few tips with you so that you’re not the “wrong” kind of tide pooler. Because no one likes being wrong.

Tidepooling Do’s: 

Do take pictures. The best thing to take away when you’re tide pooling are the memories you made, and the pictures you took. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words. (Plus we’d love to see your pictures and you can tag us on Instagram @visitrockawaybeach)

Do be patient. Creatures that live in the intertidal areas are shy. You would be too if you spent all your time at home, under water, with limited visitors. All of a sudden they get put on display for hundreds of people to see and their instinct can be to hide or just not move. But have a little patience, and spend some time on a single tide pool watching closely and slowly. You’ll be surprised what might pop out to say hi behind a string of seaweed. Watching for things to move on their own is always a better idea than moving rocks and risking crushing these delicate animals.

Do touch – gently. They’d probably all prefer it if you didn’t touch them, but many creatures like anemones and star fish can handle a little petting, assuming you’re gentle and ensure your fingertips are wet before touching them.

Do watch where you step. You might be thinking that you’re just climbing over some rocks to get to a pool of water, but those rocks could all very well house other living creatures that, while not as colorful and dynamic as starfish, still don’t want to be crushed by your footsteps. So always watch where you’re walking. Step on bare rock or sand whenever possible. And remember, climbing rocks also puts you at risk of falling and hurting yourself; so be careful.

Do bring your tide book. The tide might be low when you go, but it won’t stay that way forever. It’s important to know how long you have and when you need to start heading back to shore for your own safety. Don’t be the person who gets stranded by incoming tides. Always pay attention to the time’s in your tide book.

Tidepooling Don’ts

Don’t take it with you. It’s tempting, we get it. But shells are rarely ever empty and even if they are they won’t be for long, as this precious real estate can create habitats for other organisms to live in. (Think hermit crabs, or limpets.)

Don’t forget to put it back. If you do pick up a shell, crab, or other creature to observe it closer, remember to keep it near the water and don’t forget to put it back when you’re done. Should you be inclined to move rocks or seaweed for a better view, please put them back when you’re done. Only pick up those creatures or plants that aren’t attached to the rock itself. If you have to pry something off a rock, it will likely die or at least leave it very vulnerable to the incoming tide and wave action.

Don’t forget to watch the time, and the tides. Yes, this was also kind of on the “Do” list but it’s just that important. Keep your eye on the tide and what its doing, and give yourself plenty of time to get back.

It’s important to be a respectful tide pool visiter and model good behavior and tide pool etiquette to others. We appreciate your help keeping the tidepools safe and enjoyable for everyone this summer!

Share your photos with us on Facebook and Instagram @VisitRockawayBeach.


(503) 355-2291

Rockaway Beach Oregon

Visitors Center at the Wayside
Look for the Red Caboose!

103 1st Ave
Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Visit Rockaway Beach Office At City Hall

276 US-101, Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

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