Parks >Crystal Cove State Park
8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA | Directions 9265133.564499 -117.819643
Daily, 6am - sunset
Can't go wrong – I shouldn't be telling the world this because then it will get too crowded, but this place is a gem! You can't go wrong by going here. Its kept like nature intended and is one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
Walkers Cove – Crystal Cove's 3.5 mile stretch is more of a day walker's beach than a swimmer's beach. Lots of people come by and pay the 10 dollar parking fee, just to don a fanny pack and bottle of water to walk all or part of the Crystal Cove length. Starting at the bottom, where the old El Morro Trailer Park people got booted out, a day hiker will see beautiful blue waters of Laguna Beach - I love how brilliant tourquoise blends into a bright royal blue out in the ocean. Occasionally a school of dolphins frolic nearby; sometimes a snorkler will swim around but no surfing is seen because the waves are consistently flat. Lots of rocks are in the water, and they become more numerous and striking the farther north one walks. Midway through this walk, hikers will see the Historic District, which is a crowded bunch of tumble-down, old homes. The Crystal Cove Society renovated some of the nicer beach cottages and regular people can rent these homes at reasonable rates - providing the tenets don't mind ghosts wandering those rental units at the dark side of Midnight! My friends stayed at the biggest rental cottage and after the strike of midnight, the kitchen cabinets started to open and close. The kitchen door flew open, and there wasn't much of a breeze outside! My friend got so creeped-out, but stayed hidden in bed, under a fluffy blanket and pillow. One of the gardeners there talks about a surfer kid who is seen wandering up the steep staircase late, late at night, when there is a full moon. But other than that, the place is quiet and no bad people even know where Crystal Cove is. Past the Historical cottages, the hiker will see more beautiful blue waters and at the northern-most end of the hike, there is a huge rock formation that resembles something right out of the Grand Canyon! There is a golf course there, and it's the point where Newport spoils the pure & wilderness of Laguna's Crystal Cove wilderness.
Dive into a crystalline cove or hike and camp the backcountry at this diverse California coastal park. – In Short
This still-pristine region of Orange County coastline features three-and-a-half miles of beach and 2,000 acres of undeveloped inland woods. Not only popular for swimming, surfing, sunbathing and scuba diving (there's an entire underwater park), the inland area is where locals and in-the-know out-of-towners enjoy hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Visitors can explore tidepools and sandy coves as well as fish and camp. Just be forewarned: It's not beach camping. After you park your car in the El Moro lot, you must hike inland about three miles, mostly uphill.
Best Beach of the OC – It was a great place to be. Relaxed, informital, beautiful, clean, and historical. There were not many people there and my whole family loved it. There is even a Ruby's milshake shack! The hiking is great. The views are beautiful. If you ust want to be on the beach, there is drop of road, where you can be dropped of while, in my case, my dad parked the car! I would recommend Crystal Cove to any beachgoer! There really is something for everyone.
Camping in Deer Canyon Campground – For day use this park is a wonderful way to get out of the city without having to drive. El Moro canyon is a great hike, although a few sections are a little steep.
I was less impressed by Deer Canyon Campground. According to the ranger there were 5 sites there, but it was more like two sites with five picnic tables (and a good helping of poison_oak). The evening was beautiful with a fabulous sunset and lots of cute critters (bunnies, etc.). The morning, however, included about 30 mountain bikers riding right through the campsite and about half as many hikers, which made breakfast a little crowded.
Also, if you are hiking towards the back of the park, watch your step. Rattlesnake is not just the name of one of the trails.
Water is crystal clear like the name of the beach – I am born and raised here in beautiful so. calif & my 1st visit to this place was 3 years ago with jr guards. Absolutely beautiful. However, the walk from the parking lot to the beach is not easy so if you have a physical disability you may want to think twice before going. The walk down is very steep and then of course coming back up. There are no facilities down on the beach. I am spoiled from Hawaii beaches, but the water here is warm enough to swim in and is just beautiful!!! One of the last few beaches in so.calif that is clean and beautiful. Not very many people go because of the walk from parking lot to beach is real steep. Don't forget anything in your car and think you can just walk back and get it. It is a hike.
What Fond Memories – Wow this brings back some great memories! This was my favorite beach when I lived in California a few years back. I also love Emerald Bay which is right beside it. Emerald Bay is a little more protected but very very tiny and hidden in a neighborhood so it has very little parking. Both have gorgeous waters. There is a scenic overlook between the two that I always thought is where I would want to get married! Great view, beautiful flowers and seals barking away down below, what more could you ask for.
Beautiful – This is one of the last true beautiful beaches in SoCal. It is very hidden from the highway, and many locals haven't even seen or visited this beach. If you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy gorgeous scenery, this is the beach to go to.
Crystal Cove - Awesome – Nobody there, clean white sands, warm water, awesome boogie boarding & surfing. SoCal's forgotten beach...
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