Where and When to See King Tides in the Bay Area This Winter

2 min
King Tides pour onto the sidewalk as people walk by and watch at Rincon Point in downtown San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2019. (Lindsey Moore/KQED)

Another round of the year's highest tides is set to roll into the Bay Area in early February.

These king tides, as they are colloquially known, occur when the sun and moon are aligned so that their gravitational pull tugs Earth's waters a few feet higher than usual.

Along San Francisco's Embarcadero, for example, at Rincon Point near the Bay Bridge, the forecast calls for a high tide of 7.26 feet on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 11:20 a.m.

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These days, the tides are frequently observed as a preview of a climate-change-driven rise in sea level, and how it might affect coastal communities.

The California King Tides Project lists more than dozen viewing events in the Bay Area and throughout the state, taking place Saturday, Feb. 8 and Sunday, Feb. 9.

Activities include a guided birding tour of Oakland's Arrowhead Marsh with the Golden Gate Audubon Society, a beach cleanup at Bodega Bay, and a hike through the wetlands of Marin’s China Camp State Park.

This link contains a full list of events. Below is an interactive map showing the times and locations of the February king tides. Use the plus and minus signs on the lower left side of the map to zoom in and out.

February will mark the second wave of king tides to hit the Bay Area this year.

Sebastian Jasper plays in the pools of water resulting from the spilling of king tides onto the sidewalk at Rincon Point in downtown San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2019. (Lindsey Moore/KQED)

People who want to see the tides in person can upload their photos to the California King Tides Project’s interactive map. The project’s website also reminds folks to watch their footing when they view or photograph the high water:

“The most important thing to remember is to be safe! Take extra precautions when you walk on slippery areas or near big waves, and always be conscious of your surroundings and the weather conditions. Don't turn your back on the ocean!”

These extreme high tides occur several times a year. After February, the next chance to spot king tides in California will be in June.

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