by Gudrun Enger, of Kitchen Gadget Girl
It had been years since I visited Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a wonderful outdoor tide pool and marine reserve on the San Mateo Coast, just north of Half Moon Bay, along highway 1. Well known as a destination for school children, it is also an interesting stop for any marine science enthusiasts.
Before going, be sure to check the online tide chart, as it is not worth visiting unless the tide is low. When the tide is low, you can walk out and visit the tide pools, checking out starfish, sea anemones, hermit crabs and other creatures. Across the waves, we also spotted several harbor seals lounging in the sun.
Established in 1969 by James F. Fitzgerald, the reserve has deep historical importance for the area. Moss Beach is the site of several important fossil discoveries, including a baleen whale, estimated to be between 2 and 5 million years old. As you look up at the cliffs from the beach, you are drawn to think about how the coast has changed over these many years.
For picnicking, check out the tables near the ranger station at the top of the hill, or bring your picnic down to the beach. The beach is also lovely for walking, flying a kite, or building sand castles. Do not, however, bring your dog – they are not allowed on the beach and in the tidepools!