The world's best beaches with rock pools

Rock pools: discover wild marine life

Rockpooling is a brilliant way for both kids and adults to explore the coast and to learn more about the plants, fish, and sea creatures that inhabit beach rock pools. There are lots of beaches with rock pools in the UK if you're planning a staycation, as well as stunning sites in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that have epic beaches and the opportunity to spot whales, seals, and even kangaroos.

  1. Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset
  2. Whalers Way, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
  3. Hannafore Point, Cornwall
  4. Botanical Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada
  5. Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, North Wales
  6. Kaikoura, New Zealand's South Island

Once you've spent your day exploring the beach, you'll be in a prime position to enjoy the ice cream stalls, cafes, and seafood restaurants in the area. Many beaches on our list are perfect for surfing and sunbathing in the summer months, but the rock pools are well worth a visit even in the autumn and winter.

1. Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset

There are lots of beaches in Dorset with rock pools, but the conservation area of Kimmeridge Bay has to be one of the best. The Kimmeridge rockpools are filled with rare species like long-clawed crabs and strawberry anemones, and there's a small aquarium nearby that's free to visit. Located on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Kimmeridge Bay is on a walking trail so it's also great for hiking and cycling. When to comes to water-based activities, it's a haven for surfers and snorkellers.

See if you can find: cuttlefish and dragon nets

2. Whalers Way, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

There are lots of pretty rock pools on the Eyre Peninsula, but if you're looking for something wild and impressive, head to Whalers Way. This rugged coastline is a little harder to access, and you'll need a special permit from the visitor's centre before you can enter, as well as a car that can handle rocky roads. Once you get there it's truly worth the journey, with pools of bright blue water and unforgettable sea views. The sun shines here for most of the year but it can rain heavily in June, July, and August, and the rocks can get slippery so make sure you bring appropriate footwear.

See if you can find: not just marine life, but ospreys, emus, lizards, and even kangaroos

3. Hannafore Point, Cornwall

Hannafore Point is located in the Looe Voluntary Marine Conservation Area and is regularly listed as one of the best Cornish rock pools. The perfect spot for a sunny day out, it has lots of rocky outcrops with dozens of starfish and crabs, as well as lots of different kinds of seaweed. There are regular events planned throughout the year with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, where you can learn more about the sea life in the area and get some top rock pooling tips.

See if you can find: a nursehound shark's empty egg case, otherwise known as a mermaid's purse

4. Botanical Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada

There's no better spot for highlighting Vancouver Island's eco-diversity than the sandstone rock pools of Botanical Beach. Lined with evergreen trees and overlooking a bright blue bay, explorers come from far and wide to check out the sea cucumbers, orange starfish, mussels, and anemones that fill the dozens of pools. You'll have to hike a short way through a forest to get there, but that only enhances Botanical Beach's magical feel. Port Renfrew is only a short' drive away for accommodation, restaurants, and shops, but many visitors choose to camp in the wilderness for the full Vancouver Island experience.

See if you can find: the purple sea urchins that bury their way into the stone

5. Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, North Wales

Anglesea is an island off the coast of Wales with miles of sandy beaches and lots of historical sites. If you're looking for the best rock pooling on the island, head to the areas around Trearddur Bay, where you'll find crabs and lobsters nestled in between the rocks. The beaches are great for sunbathing too, with soft white sand and clear blue sea. If you're spending the whole day there, make sure you stick around for the bay's famous sunset, which you can take in from a beach-side restaurant.

See if you can find: blue rayed limpets, sunstars, and sea hares

6. Kaikoura, New Zealand's South Island

Kaikoura is around a two-hour drive from Christchurch, through some of the world's most beautiful scenery. Snow-capped mountains, fir tree forests, and rugged coastline will pass you by on the drive before you arrive at this quaint beach town with its thriving rock pools. You'll see lots of fossils and giant clams, but the main attraction here are the seals- they love to play, sleep, and sunbathe in the rock pools on the bay. It's also a prime spot for whale watching, and you can watch from the coast or take a boat trip to see them up close.

See if you can find: baby seal pups swimming in the pools- but make sure you stay at least 10 metres away

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