Many of Oregon's beaches have tidepools where you can search many fascinating types of marine life. Kids discover what lives in the ocean's depth and they have a blast doing it. So do I and I am not a kid any more.
There are certain beaches on the Oregon Coast where tidepooling is better than others and below I tell you where these are and give you a map to help you find them.
First I want to talk a bit about beach safety. You have to do tidepooling when the tide is going out or at low tide. If you begin at low tide, you must be aware that the tide has changed and is now coming in. If you are out in rocky areas that are surrounded by water or even totally submerged at high tide, you need to get out of there before the water reaches you. It can happen faster than you think it will. Not only can you be trapped with no way to get back to the beach, but you can be knocked off your perch and into the churning water by a large wave.
These large waves are called sneaker waves because you have no idea they are coming. The waves may be a distance away from where you are and suddenly a mini-tsunami strikes, you are knocked off your feet, surrounded with water, and possibly unable to stand up.
The rule is: Never turn your back on the ocean. It is easy to become so mezmerized by what you are finding in the tidepools that you lose track of where the ocean is. Tidepooling is best an hour before low tide to an hour after low tide.
These pools are alive with little creatures. You will see starfish, sunfish, sea anemones, sea urchins, hermit crabs, small fish, barnacles, mussels, snails, sea weed, and more.
Some of the beaches listed below have rangers during the warmer months that roam the beach and help you identify what you are finding. The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area north of Newport has a visitor center and guided tidepool walks. Cape Perpetua Visitors Center which is south of Yachats have guided tidepool walks and presentations on related subjects.
You can also learn a lot about what lives in tidepools by visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Hatfield Science Center in Newport. They have pools where you can touch the marine animals and give tell you about what they are.
Be sure you respect the creatures you find. Some of them fasten themselves to the rock they are on so the moving water doesn't wash them out to sea where they wouldn't survive. If you pry them off of their perch you will endanger their life. If you take a tiny hermit crab out of the water to have a closer look, put him back where you found him afterwards.
Below is a map with a list of some of the best beaches for tidepooling. Double click on the map to make it larger. Click on the names to the left to see where the beach is and to read any notes about that beach.