5 Must-Visit Tide Pools In Florida: Explore The Coast From A Different Lens

It’s hot and you’re looking for a way to escape the unbearable Florida heat. Even though Florida has no shortage of natural amenities to keep you cool and refreshed, may we suggest you try something new and slightly unconventional?

Apart from the abundance of refreshing options that Florida provides such as swimming holes, mineral springs and ocean waters, it also happens to house quite a few beautiful tide pools which can be an incredible summer past time when the heat gets too much to handle. So try immersing yourself in a world of snorkeling, marine life and exploring the underwater world by taking a look at the best tide pools in Florida.

Safety Precautions

Before we get into exploring the tide pools, it’s vital that readers – and first timer travelers – are informed about the dangers that visiting tide pools entails in general and that they’re aware that individual research is needed during the preparation for your trip. 

Here are some general and essential tips to think about:

  • Always wear proper footwear when you visit tide pools. Our personal suggestion would be to be prepared with both hiking (where needed) and water shoes to avoid injuries.
  • Always have your phone with you and be prepared with offline maps if need be. Taking a power bank along can be a big plus.
  • Never hike there alone and never go into the tide pool on your own. Bring a buddy to watch over you when you’re inside. 
  • Watch out for the rip currents, waves, and tides.
  • Don’t walk on lava rocks barefoot. 
  • If you bring kids along make sure they’re wearing rash vests and follow all safety tips. 
  • Use reef-safe products. 
  • If you’re not a good swimmer, stay close to the shore. 
  • There are no lifeguard services at most of these destinations so in case of an emergency – either yours or someone else’s – be prepared to call 911.

1. Red Reef Park

Located in Boca Ranton, FL Red Reef Park is the ultimate family-friendly destination that offers it all: boardwalks, picnicking opportunities, easy hiking trails and beautiful beaches. 

When the tide is low, beautiful tide pools emerge for you to enjoy. There you can also snorkel – it’s one of the best snorkeling destinations both for beginners and experienced – and appreciate the marine life. Just be sure to check beach conditions before you decide to head for the tide pools. However, the abundance of amenities that you can find in Red Reef Park will be available for you anyway, despite the beach conditions.

Seeing as it’s a family-frequented spot, many parents like to bring their kids to explore the tidepools, so it’s extremely important that you follow all safety guidelines if you decide to visit with your little companions.

Red Reef Park captured y @bannerbesnappin on IG.

2. Washington Oaks Garden State Park

Located only 62 miles from Jacksonville, FL, Washington Oaks Garden State Park is a 425-acre area of land exposed directly to the sun, with the seaside making it an absolutely ideal destination for beach goers who’d like to have a picnic, try fishing, exercise, or just chill with loved ones. 

Across Washington Oaks you will find a coquina rock-clad beach that boasts a decent number of tide pools with a massive variety of underwater flora and fauna. 

Be extremely careful with these waters. They’re not recommended for swimming because of rogue rip currents. Even during low tide, swimming is dangerous so practice caution if you decide to take a look at Washington Oaks beautiful tide pools and stick to other on-land activities that are guaranteed to help you have a good time nonetheless.

Coquina Beach in Washington Oaks captured by @Bill McBride on Flickr.

3. Bathtub Reef Beach

Bathtub Reef – nestled on the east coast of Stuard, FL – is an incredible reprieve from the hustle and bustle of our daily life. Apart from its beautiful flora and fauna (both on-land and underwater) and absolutely breathtaking coastline with a sea of all shades of blue,  it’s actually one of the less dangerous beaches where people can go for a casual swim. Not to say that there aren’t any unsafe areas there, but it’s still a real breath of fresh air after so many beaches with deceptive waters. 

Apart from snorkeling, Bathtub Reef Beach is actually an ideal scuba diving destination too where you’ll be greeted with the plethora of underwater wildlife and even endangered sea turtles. 

Make sure to visit during low tide to enjoy exploring these beautiful tide pools.

Bathtub Reef Beach. Source: @Alexandra on Flickr.

4. Norriego Point

Norriego Point is probably one of the most unique destinations on this list. The whole area is a peninsula-like piece of soft sandy land that merges with the gulf of Mexico while being nestled in the middle of Eastern Pass and Destin Harbor –  with a greenish shade of water on one side and dark blue waters on the other.

Naturally, it is an ideal destination for all sorts of water activities and forms some of the best tide pools once tides lower. 

Norriego Point is a must-see and one of the most picturesque places you’ll find in Florida. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Norriego Point captured by @Webb Warren on Flickr.

5. Coral Cove Park

Coral Cove is the perfect spot for big groups of visitors and solo travelers alike. Its relatively quieter and more peaceful demeanor – compared to other beaches along with the opportunity to snorkel and paddleboard in the clear blue ocean – makes it one of the most cherished destinations in the whole of Florida.

There you will find small waterfalls formed by the beautiful limestone rock formations during high tide, and naturally, beautiful marine life. 

Don’t forget to bring your camera (preferably a film camera. Just sayin’) and make sure you don’t miss the equally beautiful sunrise and sunset.

Once again, don’t forget to be careful and follow all safety tips.

Beautiful sunset at Coral Cove Park. Photo source: @palmbeachesfl on IG.

Final Thoughts

Sure, the selection on this list isn’t the biggest, but these picks are the most sought-out destinations for tide pool-exploration and with good reason. However, we all know that Florida isn’t short on beaches with rogue and deceptive waves, so technically you can find a lot of other tide pools that aren’t known to the general public and as a result didn’t make the list. Either way, despite the complications that come with beaches like these, they’re also accompanied by an array of activities that can make your experience all the more memorable. 

So why not start planning your visit to the best tide pools in Florida and make a mundane day on a beach one of the most memorable of your life?


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about tourist destinations, sometimes life happens, weather happens, property owners happen, etc. We always recommend you go to the official web page and/or the relevant state authority page of your destination to check conditions, times and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!

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