7 Best Tide Pools in Florida: Explore with Curious Kids

This blog brings the collection of the best tide pools in Florida to relax, rejuvenate, swim, snorkel, shell, or kayak, and have one of the best times of your life. Here are my favorite 7 must-visit tide pools in Florida that you cannot resist stopping over.

Florida’s captivating blend of beach parties, serene lakes, secluded nude beaches, and vibrant orange groves never fails to create an unparalleled tapestry of uniqueness and beauty. Florida is something no other place can offer!

Best Tide Pools in Florida

Let’s go for tide pooling in Florida!

Best Tide Pools in Florida

1. Lawdermilk Beach

Lowdermilk Beach is one of the most underrated tide pools in Florida, nestled near Naples. It boasts soft, white powdery sand that feels like walking on a cloud. With each step I took, it felt like my feet were sinking ever so slightly, leaving a trace of my presence behind. I loved the place!

Last year my sister’s kids came along with me, and for a while, I could let them loose from my watchful eyes. The liberties here I enjoyed at the beach are immense, and with Lowdermilk’s 1,000 feet of beachfront, there was ample space for my family to relax and enjoy.

Things to do in Lawdermilk Beach

  • The park also boasts not just one, but two playgrounds for children. With swings, slides, and climbing structures, the park is always filled with laughter and vibrant energy. It’s a paradise for little adventurers.
  • Families can gather around the pond, feeding the ducks and watching them waddle. The atmosphere is incredibly welcoming, and it’s a wonderful experience for both kids and adults.
  • For those seeking a bit of friendly competition, Lowdermilk Beach has sand volleyball courts ready for action. Grab your friends or join a game with fellow beachgoers, and enjoy the thrill of spiking the ball over the net.
  • If you’re ready to spend US $15 – US $20, I recommend taking the Naples Beach Yoga classes on Lawdermilk Park Beach. The best part, you do not need to reserve beforehand
 Lawdermilk Beach, best tide 
pools in florida
Lawdermilk Beach

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2. Norriego Point

Norriego Point is the best tide pool in Florida for exploring as it forms a unique peninsula between stunning Destin Harbour and the Eastern Pass. It looks like a landmass bridge connecting The Gulf of Mexico and the Bay.

It is nestled at the end of Holiday Isle. In the height of summer, Norriego Point’s harbourside is the favorite destination for boaters seeking refuge. The gust-induced waves make the place very idyllic for watercraft and seeking peace. 

Things to do in Norriego Point

  • Bring your GoPro to get the best shot of underworld wildlife fish and hermit crabs
  • Norriego Point is the best place to explore the quiet view of the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the action of the Harborwalk marine from afar
  • You can enjoy a flurry of maritime activity – constant coming and going of fishing boats, jet skiers, paddle boarders, and fishing boats. Sitting and looking at the dynamic current of the East Pass is also very pleasing to the eyes 
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Tip: To get access to Norriego Point tide pool come to Holiday Isle turn onto Gulf Shore Dive and follow the dead end

Norriego Point, best tide pools in florida
Norriego Point

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3. Boca Chita Key

Are you in search of tide pools near popular Florida beaches? Boca Chita Key in Biscayne National Park is under the radar. From the Park, you can take the boat to reach Boca Chita Key. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the sun, salty air, and cool water.

Spanning an expansive area of 270 square miles, southeast from Miami to Florida Keys, Biscayne National Park is home to various undeveloped islands. As you traverse the coastline, you’ll come across the mesmerizing tapestry of mangroves. 

Things to do in Boca Chita Key

  • Look at the graceful shorebirds soaring through the sky while wading creatures gracefully traversing the near shallow. You can see seagulls, sea urchins, cormorants, pelicans, small octopuses, and so more cute wild fishes
  • Try to click the most awaited silhouette of the Miami skyline, juxtaposing nature’s beauty with you. The place looks very delighted in the evening
  • Take a great picture of Pinnacle rocks formed by fossilized coral reefs
family-friendly tide pools in florida, boca chita key
Boca Chita Key

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4. Red Reef Park

Red Reef Park in Boca Raton is a new spotlight for the people of South Florida to enjoy a super clean, easily accessible, and family-friendly beach. Red Reef Park stands out as a favored snorkeling destination for captivating undersea exploration.

Hence, if you’re in search of a tide pool in Florida for snorkeling and spot sea critters, eels, hundreds of colorful marine fishes, spottail pinfish, damselfish, snooks, barracudas, and undersea lives like coral, and sea plants – then this place is the perfect spot!

Things to do in Red Reef Park

  • Bring your travel binoculars and camera to spot various colorful and varied types of birds. The park’s heavy foliage is a great boom!
  • Bring your kid to the northern end of the boardwalk in Red Reef Park at Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre to enlighten him about the marine environment
  • Let your kid enjoy beautiful carousel rides at Sugar Sand Park

Tips: There are occasions when the waves can reach considerable heights. It is strongly recommended to assess the beach condition prior to venturing into the water

red reef park, tide pools for kids in florida
Red Reef Park

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5. Coral Cove Park 

Coral Cove Park is one of the most family-friendly tide pools on Florida’s east coast sitting on one of the best beaches of Jupiter Inlet Colony settlement just south of Blowing Rocks Preserve. The rocks are with a lot of sea caves in their bluffs.

The sand beneath your feet feels so vibrant and golden, making you believe you’re in some fantasy world. The sere atmosphere and untouched beauty make it ideal to rejuvenate for couples and solo travelers. 

Things to do in Coral Cove Park

  • At Coral Cove Park you can relish the peace and tranquillity with ample space for yourself. The warm sand and crashing waves just add a cherry to the cake
  • The view of dramatic rocks which are part of the Anastasia Limestone of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge is something you cannot miss out on! You’ll find living worm reefs created by marine worms
  • Visit the natural bridge hiking during the sunrise or sunset that stood like a sea arch against the waves. The tiny tidal pools are a must to explore!
  • Coral Cove Park is also one of the tide pools in Florida for shelling. Walk north along the beach up to Blowing Rocks and south to Jupiter Inlet to find the best shells
coral cove park, secluded tide pools in florida
Coral Cove Park

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6. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Although the formal attraction of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is the garden it is also famous for gorgeous coquina rock formations along the Atlantic beach. It sits between the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean, near St. Augustine.

The rocks carved by the elements into bowls create beautiful shapes like circular holes that act as tide pools for people to enjoy and marine animals to live in. The ancient spreading oak tree, the Florida tide pools, and the clear springs of Florida, altogether are great photography opportunities for visitors. 

Things to do in Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

  • Explore the garden trails and picturesque waterfront along the Matanzas River. The place is blossoming into a haven of natural beauty
  • Go for hiking along the Bella Vista trails, spanning 1.7 miles. The scenic Jungle Road and bike trail indeed make you nostalgic

Note: The beach has a lot of rocks so remember to get your beach shoes.

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

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7. Bahia Honda State Park

The Bahia Honda is the well-known natural tide pool in South Florida spanning over an area of 500 acres where people of Florida Keys cannot stop coming. Bright teal water, gentle waves, swaying palm trees, and sugar-white sand make it the best for soaking up the sun, hiking along the shores, or beach combing. 

If you’re interested in doing fun activities such as snorkeling, or kayaking this is the best place. I recommend taking the Bahia Honda kayak rental and enjoying the small tide pools. In the pools, you might see octopi, conch, and so more. Bahia Honda State Park is a beautiful place, you should check it out to know things to do!

Things to do in Bahia Honda

  • Bahia Honda State Park is one of the famous birding spots in Florida. 
  • Camping sites are available for travelers. Even if you’re on a road trip between Key West and Miami, this camping spot is ideal. Don’t forget to check out my camping list!
  • You can take a snorkel tour to enjoy the water more professionally

Note: Florida’s inviting waters to swim stand in stark contrast to the cooler temperature found in Bahia Honda tide pool across the Northeast or Pacific Northwest

Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park, Picture – runwildmychild

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Tide Pools Facts To Know

I love how beautifully I can run wild and at the same time slow down to enjoy the tide pools at the beach and have a good look at my surroundings. Coming to the tide pool will surely give you the chance to observe some amazing things! 

Here are the tips for exploring tide pools in Florida with kids:

A cautionary tale of tides and the path to the shore 

To fully enjoy the enchanting allure of tide pools, it is imperative to visit during low tide. Always consult the local tide report to ascertain the precise timing of this opportune moment. 

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In 2021, I ventured forth without such preparation, longing to explore the tide pool, only to encounter a formidable high tide that inundated the pool completely. 

Look up rather than always looking down

On one of my recent tide pool trips in California I was looking up at the ocean, and boom, I saw a small pod of dolphins playing – what a special treat I got!

However, check your steps. Tide pools are home to many little creatures like snails, hermit crabs, and more. So, be careful where you step and on what you step.

Enlighten your knowledge of local marine life

If you’re exploring tide pools with your children, be prepared for countless instances of inquiries like – “Mama, what’s this?”, or “Papa, what’s that?” Responding with a simple “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” may appear peculiar, don’t you agree?

Hence, I recommend either buying a pocket-size marine life field guidebook from a local bookstore or enlightening your knowledge online to identify which creatures are what. The common animals you’ll encounter are – 

  • Seashells
  • Octopus
  • Coral
  • Barnacles
  • Algae
  • Anemones
  • Crabs
  • Starfish
  • Small fish
  • Seaweed
  • Sea stars
  • Snails
  • Sea Urchins
  • Starfish

Wear an appropriate tide pool dress

You can head to the pools in your everyday clothes but remember to carry spare clothing. The rocks are sticky and slippery, and the terrain is always wet, so dressing up properly is important. 

Moreover, the important thing is to wear sturdy waterproof boots, carry rain gear, and a towel. The shoes are essential – get shoes with good grip and closed toes. 

If you see me, you’ll laugh but, I always walk like “a crab” using both my hands and feet to stay low to the ground. Or else, slipping down is very common. 

Respect the marine animals

Remember, it’s their house you’re visiting and not the other way around. Be very gentle, do not pull attached animals like sea anemones off a rock or keep the rocks unturned, and lot many like such things. 

Always remember to keep the rocks or animals where you found them, as one mistake can potentially harm marine life.

Conclusion

The United States is home to various tide pools, but this blog will highlight the must-visit tide pools in Florida. Tide pools are one of the natural phenomena that are the result of powerful waves, outflow from coastal dune lakes, or even rainfall. 

These shallow pockets of water along the beach are all-year tourist attractions. When ocean tides from the Gulf surge in, these tide pools transform into vibrant ecosystems, teeming with diverse marine life and beautiful green algae. 

So, when are you planning for your next visit?

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FAQs: Best Tide Pools in Florida

1. Which are the best kid pools in Florida?

A. Lawdermilk Beach and Red Reef Park offer the best kid-friendly pools in Florida, providing ample space for children to explore and discover marine life.

2. Which one is the best tide pool in the Florida Keys? 

A. In addition to its iconic Florida Keys landscape, pretty sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and mind-blowing sunsets, the park is renowned for being home to exquisite tide pools. 

3. What is the best time to visit tide pools in Florida?

A. Each day witness two low tides and two high tides. Morning low tide is my favorite, as the beaches see fewer crowds. Therefore, it is advisable to arrive at the pool approximately an hour prior to the zenith of low tide and commence the journey back to the shore half an hour before the onset of the rising tide.

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