Living in a Southern California beach town you get accustomed to seeing the ocean every day. It's not that you don't appreciate the beauty of the Pacific, but you get used to knowing that it is there...like that tree in your front yard...it bids you good day on your way to work and greets you hello on your return. It is always there. Then one day you decide to take a closer look to learn what this old friend, the Pacific Ocean, has hidden within her.

But, before we can get to that, let's eat!

Zinc Cafe

On any given early morning in Laguna Beach, you will find Zinc CafĂ© buzzing with activity and most likely a line out the door, but don't fret, because the service is fast and the food is worth the short wait you might have to endure.

Quiche

Above, The Quiche Breakfast plate with papaya salsa. This is a light quiche that was the perfect size to satisfy my hunger without making me feel like I had eaten half the eggs in the chicken coop. The papaya salsa added a spicy kick to the subtle onion and pepper flavors.

Breakfast Burrito 

Above, the Breakfast Egg Burrito. Over-stuffed with eggs, onions, peppers, tomatoes and salsa was more than enough to fill the belly of my 25-year-old brother.

Muffin and OJ 

Above, a Millet Muffin. While my brother and I caught up, the kiddos enjoyed slathering butter on the millet muffin and drinking big gulps of fresh squeezed orange juice. They loved that our waiter told them that it was a "graham cracker" muffin and kept asking how it was possible the cook got the graham crackers into the muffin. I left them to ponder that one.

After our breakfast we quickly loaded the car to head down to the Treasure Island Beach's tide pools, so we could make sure to arrive at the perfect time for low-tide. (Take Wesley Drive to the end and you come to public parking. The pay station takes credit cards or cash)

Treasure Island Beach is surrounded by one of Laguna's most elegant resorts, Montage Laguna Beach. To get to the beach we walked through beautifully groomed flower beds, benches nestled at lookouts, and public art pieces by premier Laguna Beach artists. Once we reached the water I couldn't help but notice that we were the first footsteps on the virgin morning sand. Eagerly the twins and their Uncle started playing "tag" with the waves.

Walking on the beach 

After our game with the waves we reached the rocks where the tidepools lay. All at once, as if we were on a treasure hunt, we began searching for sea life that may be hiding in the shallow pools. Immediately, the twins spotted sea anemone's and thousands of muscles. A Laguna Ocean Foundation docent, who volunteers their time at the tidepools to help with any questions that a visitor may have about them. This is a free service offered by the Foundation and the docents spend on average 30 hours a week at Laguna Beach tide pool beaches. Jake, our docent, gave us a guide to exploring the tidepools. The pamphlet had pictures of sea life that were easy to identify in their habitat. We found coralline algae, sea lettuce, large clumps of rockweed, and hermit crabs. When Jake informed the twins that the barnacles beneath their feet were actually alive the kids exclaimed, "Wow, that is awesome!" They then took to looking VERY closely trying to discover the mysteries of the barnacle. Jake also pointed out "crabs cove" a small cove nestled among the rocks where crabs gathered to find food. Consulting our pamphlet we were able to find black turban snails, hermit crabs, and a few other creatures. The highlight of our trip were the Sea Stars that we had seen in one of the outer pools. Jake took the twins and Uncle to a far off rock where he explained that Sea Stars feed on muscles. This is a primary source of their diet and is what attracts them to the tidepools. What an incredible sight to see. We explored for a while longer before making our way back to the car and back home.

Tide pool 

Tide pools 2 

After our time at the tidepools I couldn't help but think of my old familiar friend, the Pacific Ocean, in a new light. The bounty she hides in her waters is fantastic. Whether a local of Southern California or a visitor, the tidepools of Laguna Beach is a sight that you will not want to miss!

You can experience the tidepools for yourself at the following Laguna Beach locations:
Treasure Island Beach
Picnic Beach
Woods Cove
Shaw's Cove
Moss Point

Below is the Emmy award-winning video: Tidepool Scene