Travel Blog

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: CALIFORNIA KING TIDES ARE COMING!

Photo by @alyfromuk2us

California King Tides are coming to Santa Cruz in 2020! January 10 – 12 and February 8 – 9, the impressive tides will hit the shores of Santa Cruz County! These naturally occurring and predictable events are when the highest tides occur. But that’s not all, during King Tides we also experience some of the lowest, most dramatic negative tides. These extreme low tides pose prime conditions for tide pooling, miles of beach walking, and extended beach exploration.


Photo by @pfoulger

And an added natural beauty and bonus to these upcoming King Tides – the full moon (or nearly full moon) that will light your beach path and adventures! As the date approaches use a tide chart to see when the lowest and highest tides occur. And although the most dramatic tides are happening on the dates mentioned above, a few days before and after will still present extreme tides.

So now that we gave you a few need-to-know details and some general King Tide info, let’s get to planning your visit! Look below for some of the best places and ways to enjoy the upcoming #SCKingTides:


Photo by @nettisaurus

TIDE POOL AT LOW TIDE

Tide pooling is at its best during King Tides. The exceptionally low tides reveal an underwater world of creatures and habitats well worth the find. From the regular finds like crabs, mussels, anemones, and starfish to the more rare finds of urchins and octopus, the low tides are a fascinating peek into the Monterey Bay. Before you go, be sure to reference a tide chart (yes, timing DOES matter since you need to go around the lowest tides) and pick one of our suggested beaches on our Tide Pooling Guide. Beaches like Natural BridgesDavenport LandingSanta Maria’sWest Cliffand Pleasure Point are listed.


Photo by @dgsc

TAKE A WALK ON THE BEACH – A LONG ONE

During the lowest tides you are able to cover a lot more ground on your beach walk! Many spots that are usually un-walkable become walkable as beach sand is revealed to guide your steps. A few of our favorite long stretches are from Aptos to Capitola, the collection of Live Oak Beaches, and Watsonville beaches to Aptos. And for the little explorers, try the shorter low tide walk from New Brighton State Beach to Capitola Beach.


Photo by @jscwab_24

WATCH THE HIGH SURF FROM THE COAST

If you’d rather post up on the coast and watch the impressive high tides, places like West CliffPleasure Point, and Davenport will be excellent spots to view the high surf. But be sure to watch from a safe distance since the waves can reach new distances, and when coupled with a typical winter swell of larger waves, can be dangerous if too close.


Photo by @alohagiselle

SHARE YOUR #SCKINGTIDES ON SOCIAL

We would love to see your Santa Cruz County photos during #SCKingTides! Tag @VisitSantaCruz on social and use the #KingTides and #SCKingTides hashtags. And for those high tides, consider uploading your photos to the California King Tides Project who help people visualize future sea level by observing the highest high tides of today. The shoreline photos during King Tides create a record of the changes to our coast from sea level rise. 

KING TIDES FROM PLEASURE POINT 

Last year we took our own advice and enjoyed the California King Tides at Pleasure Point. Enjoy the photos and don’t miss 2020’s King Tides!

Last Updated: December 2019

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