The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve was such a fun adventure over winter break. It’s just under an hour from our place in the South Bay, so it was a perfect day trip for a few hours. Since it was a little cooler in December, we opted to wear rain boots instead of going barefoot, which was great for sharper rocks and moss. They also made it so we could go out slightly further in the water.
The reserve has a large area of tide pools. Visitors can walk all over exploring, and are asked to be careful not to step on or touch sea life. We checked the tide schedule beforehand (more info here). Be sure to go during low or negative tide for the best chance of seeing sea life. The day we went was fairly busy since it was over the break, but there was still plenty of space to explore and we saw tons of creatures.
As with all Northern California beaches, be sure to take a layer or two! It ended up being fairly warm the day we went, but things can change quickly and can turn cool if the wind picks up.