California’s Pacific Ocean offers a wide variety of recreation, but there are few beach pastimes that are as relaxing as snorkeling. A simple mask, snorkel and fins allow you to see undersea life in their natural habitat, and at your own pace. There are four separate and distinct areas that we highly recommend:
- The Channel Islands National Marine Park allows snorkelers to explore kelp forests that are full of marine life. There are also caves that provide a unique perspective, and it’s considered the best spot off the California coast for snorkeling and diving. However, be aware that the area also has high winds and strong ocean currents, and it is recommended for those who are strong swimmers.
- La Jolla is in the southernmost portion of the state near San Diego and is very family friendly. The cove is ideal for snorkelers of all levels, and even children who want to experience this underwater world for the first time. This area is part of the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve and one of it’s major bragging rights include some of the clearest water in Southern California. Just a few miles away in La Jolla Shores is another really good spot where swimmers can routinely see harmless leopard sharks in late summer.
- Located just a little over 20 miles southwest of Los Angeles is Catalina island, and it’s home to crystal clear water. It’s here that visibility routinely exceeds 75 feet and active sea life is extremely plentiful. The island also features several tour and travel companies that can supply all of the equipment needed and show you the best spots on the island.
- Orange County’s Laguna Beach completes our list, and it won’t disappoint. The region is full of tide pools at Heisler Park Ecological Reserve and has all sorts of interesting marine life.