When you visit HI Point Montara Lighthouse hostel, you have access to the Pacific coast and the creatures big and small that call the rock pools, marshes, and beaches along the ocean home. Whether you’re staying for a day or for a few, it’s worth making the time to explore the natural jewels around the hostel. Here’s everything you need to know about getting in touch with the local wildlife in this little corner of California.
1. You can go tide pooling in the hostel’s “backyard”
HI Point Montara hostel’s backyard is a cove where you can find everything from starfish and anemones to urchins and hermit crabs.
2. Ross’ Cove at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is the best spot for tide pooling
The reserve’s protected tide pools are home to a wider selection of invertebrates, including fish and little octopi.
3. A negative tide is a good tide
You want a 0 or negative tide for the best tide pooling – during the full moon and new moon of each month is even better. Check tide charts available online.
4. Wear sturdy shoes
You’ll need shoes that can handle the slippery rocks, and bring a jacket or a windbreaker.
5. Never turn your back on the ocean
Keep an eye on sneaker waves and changing tides.
6. Take only photos, leave only footprints
Never pick up or take anything that belongs on the beach or in the ocean.
7. Keep an eye out for whales…
From December to May, you may see grey whales from the hostel as they breach and slap their tales during their annual migration.
8. …And harbor seals
Harbor seals can be spotted on the rocks at the Fitzgerald Marin Reserve year round, and from March to June, you may see little pups being fed by their mothers.
9. Pillar Point marsh is best for bird watching
Nearly 20% of all North American bird species have been spotted around the protected marsh at Pillar Point.
10. Bring binoculars
Also bring a pen and a notebook to jot down any interesting sightings.
11. Respect the environment
Try to make as little noise as possible, and do not disturb any nests or birds.
Now you can go out and enjoy a piece of Northern California’s natural beauty! And that is after all one of the reasons why we hostel: to gain an appreciation of the world around us.