I started our beach tour with Leo Carrillo State Park located in Malibu. It is a hidden gem for any of us who grew up on the other end of LA but known to locals. Believe it or not, this was my first time at a tide pool and I loved it. There is so much to see within these rocks, I was just as excited as my kids. We saw so many crabs and hermit crabs, fish and star fish. I picked up a seashell and a hermit crab was inside. Fascinating! It is a small beach area so it is perfect for a toddler parent because you don’t have to walk far to get near the water and the restrooms are close.
- Parking? Yes, there is a parking lot that is easy to park. It cost $3 an hour or $12 for the full day. Just remember your license plate because you need it to enter it on the machine.
- Fee? FREE! Unless you are counting the parking fee.
- Restrooms? There is a stinky portable potty that I would not recommend. But I didn’t realize there is another one closer to the beach. I am having high hopes that it is better. When you have to go, you go. And I wouldn’t care but my 3 year old didn’t want to use it because of the stench. Do you think if I carry Febreze that it will eliminate any port o potty smells?
- Stroller accessibility? You walk under a bridge to get to the tide pool and beach area. I took my stroller and it was fine. I just left it at the edge with the bikes and it was still visible for me to watch it. The area is so small that it works if you plan to take a stroller. I just had my kids walk to the very edge of where the sand meets the path and then I loaded them in.
- What to bring? Bring a lot of water! The Visitor’s Center was closed both times I tried to go in to see if I can buy water. I had a couple of bottles but I still underestimated how thirsty we were all getting. And keep them in the shade or a cooler because they were getting hot. Also, if you have water shoes those are nice because my flip-flops were getting stuck in the rocks. Luckily my kids were fine. But just remember the usual and minimal beach accessories – picnic blanket, towels, sunscreen, snacks, and sand toys!
- Seagull warning: This rookie beach mom left her Panera Bread bag out while we went to look at the tide pool and a seagull managed to get my baggie of utensils and Panera chips! Luckily, I found the bag and the utensils. So make sure you hide your food!!!
- Crabs pinch! I handled my crabs with a shovel but one mom wasn’t so lucky and got pinched when she picked one up. So make sure your kids are careful too! I saw some people using shovels, buckets and sand sifters to see them.
Let’s make an aquarium: I thought it was so cute and creative that a group of young girls were collecting the sea life and making their own aquariums. Then they said they would release them after. I loved that they were engaged and learning about our sea animals and their habitat. The interactions with the tide pool ranged from just observing to collecting crabs in a bucket.