Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Exploring Tide Pools

Growing up along the Gulf Coast and then spending several years on the East Coast, I have spent many years falling in love with the beach.  Living the last decade in the deserts of Arizona has been an adjustment to say the least.  I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the desert but there is just something about the crashing of  waves upon the sand and the wide open spaces of the beach that is so peaceful.  Even in the midst of the crazy coastal thunderstorms, there is such beauty and peace in experiencing the awesome power of our Creator.

Because I am forever drawn to the ocean, I want to cultivate a curiosity, amazement, and love for the coast in my children.  So, on a recent family trip to California, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take the family to explore and learn about the unique ecosystem found in the tide pools.  After doing quite a bit of research, I was convinced that Crystal Cove State Park would provide the best experience for our family.  And, boy was I right.  It is about a 30 minute drive from Anaheim, where we were staying, and proved to have fantastic ocean life. There was a toll road that cost $6.50 but we avoided that on the way back:)

Here are some pictures of the ocean view and the path to the beach.

If you are interested in visiting these tide pool, I would suggest parking in the northernmost (#1) parking lot at Crystal Cove State Park.  This parking lot has beach access that is more stroller friendly.  We initially went to the #2 parking lot and our stroller couldn't take the steep steps that led down to the beach.  There are restrooms and showers at each parking lot but nothing at the beach so take everyone by on your way down:)

We went in October and it was still around 80 degrees.  We were really wishing that we had let the kids come in their swimsuits and them shower off and put on clean clothes when we were done.  It would have been a much easier and thorough clean up.  Oh, well.  That will be something to remember for next time.

Here are a few pictures of the ocean life and tide pools that we were able to explore.

We were amazed as a seal swam right up and rested on a rock nearby.  That is not something that we get to see in the desert!

Here is the "stroller friendly" trail down to the beach.  My wonderful hubby brought the babies down to enjoy the ocean.  The other trail had steep steps and we didn't feel like it was doable with a stroller.

And this, my folks, is what pure joy looks like.  This was the first time that Seth was old enough to really enjoy the beach and he couldn't remember ever having been there before.  I think the best way to describe how he felt about the beach was "You had me at hello".  Haha.

This beach was perfect for our large family.  We are definitely marking this one for future trips:)

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