Explanation of Tidepool Rules

Tidepool Rules


Tidepool Rules and Regulations

Zone 3 Closure

Zone 3 Sign
A new sign installed in July 2011.

TPERP Volunteers help protect Zone 3, by advising park visitors of the closure and directing visitors to the open areas in Zones 1 and 2. Volunteers explain to visitors why Zone 3 is closed. It’s for restoration and it serves as a research control area.

Bot Dots in Zone 3
“Bot Dots”, or orange reflectors extend from the closure sign to the west, marking the closed boundary as far as possible into the lower intertidal. Visitors are not allowed past the sign, or the bot dots.

No taking of items in Tidepools

No buckets in tidepools
While bringing a bucket to the tidepools is not against the law, it is against park policy. Volunteers can ask visitors to leave buckets in their car, or turn them upside down on the beach, so staff can ensure animals, or shells are not being kept in the buckets.

The removal of any animal, shell, or natural resource from the rocky intertidal area is against Federal law. This law will be enforced. Volunteers can advise visitors of this law and explain why it’s important for the health of the tidepools.

Hermit Crab


No injuring wildlife

Owl limpet
Owl limpets firmly attach themselves to the rocky substrate. Prying up an owl limpet off the rock, would injure, or quite possibly kill the animal. This is against the law.
No Carving in tidepools
Carving initials into the sandstone is destruction of a natural resource.

Dogs must be on leash

Dog on leashDogs are only allowed in the lower, coastal area of the park. As a result, quite a few dogs may be found in the rocky intertidal area of the park. They must be on a leash and pet owners must pick up after their pets.

No swimming

Swimming is not allowed anywhere in the park. It’s dangerous and could be harmful to the resource as well.

No smoking

No campfiresNo camping is allowed in the park. Camp fires are not permitted. No source of open flame is allowed.

No smoking

Cabrillo National Monument is a smoke-free park. Smoking is not permitted in any buildings, or within any of the park’s grounds, which include the tidepools, trails and parking lots.

No fishing

FishingThe Marine Mammal Act of 1972. Major revisions and additions to Southern California MPAs went into effect in state waters in January 2012. Fishing of any type is now banned in the park. Volunteers should contact law enforcement rangers if they see someone fishing in the park.

No bikes on trails

Bicycling is not allowed on the trails. Bikes must be walked, or left in the paved areas of the park.

No bikes on trails

Surfers must arrive by boat


No recreational activity is permitted within 300 yards of shore, but enforcement of this regulation is difficult. The park will enforce the no entry rule. Currently, surfers are not allowed to enter the water from the park and must come by boat.

Tidepools close at 4:30pm


The tidepools close at 4:30pm. This is to ensure everyone makes it out of the rocky intertidal area of the park by the overall closing time of 5:00pm. It’s time to start asking people to return to their cars at 4:30pm, but it’s a loose closure time. This can be difficult when visitors want to stay for sunset. Volunteers can recommend visitors stop at the cemetery, or head to Sunset Cliffs for a sunset view. Again, this is a window closure time, so visitors need to start heading to the parking lot at 4:30, but should not be cleared out of the tidepools before that time.

Last revised 23-Sep-20