BeachNuts Beach Guide for:
Crystal Cove State Park
Sandwiched between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean just north of Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove is a coastal jewel.
Featuring 3.5 miles of beautiful sandy beaches and 1100 acres of off-shore water that has been designated as an underwater park, Crystal Cove is an excellent place for both diving and swimming.
Crystal Cove State Park has been featured in several movies, including Beaches, in which Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler spent time at this pristine waterfront preserve.
The beach portion of the park is served by 6 major parking lots directly off the Pacific Coast Hwy. These parking lots are never filled, and it is only a short walk from them down a paved path or a set of stairs to the sand.
The beach includes six major coves providing a mix of sandy and rocky shoreline. Three major areas within the park have excellent tidal pools, and the shoreline attracts many species of waterfowl on their winter migratory flights up and down the coast. There are 2 major swimming beaches: the area in front of the historic cottages and Muddy Creek. The rocky outcroppings in abundance along the beach also provide excellent areas for diving, fishing and snorkeling.
Day Use AreasReef Point
Access to this popular beach is from the Reef Point parking lot.. A quarter-mile trail travels to the north and descends down to the beach at 3.5 Cove. A stairway delivers you to the popular Scotchman's Cove, and to the south, a ramp travels down to Muddy Creek, which is an excellent body surfing area.
Features: Excellent swimming area, tidal pools, diving, and surfing an underwater trail system
Facilities at Pelican Point parking area: Four parking lots each providing rest room facilities, showers, and drinking water.
Access to the beach: A paved path from P1, P3, and P4 rest rooms leading down to the beach
Facilities on the beach: Pit toilets
Features: Tidal pools, surfing, historic cottages. Good swimming in front of the historic cottages
There is a parking lot at the access way to the historic district. A tunnel under the Pacific Coast Highway also provides access to the Crystal Cove cottages, and there is a pedestrian crosswalk at the Los Trancos signal light.
Facilities at Los Trancos parking area: Rest rooms, nature center, drinking water, and showers.
Access to the beach: A paved pathway to the right of the rest rooms; through a tunnel (under the highway); through the historic district
Facilities on the beach: Pit toilets behind the green cottage on the beach
Features: Historic cottages
Diving at Crystal Cove / Reef Point. Divers refer to this cove as Scotchman's Cove. With its rocks and reef, it makes for great diving. To avoid having to cross the shallow area with its expanse of large, round boulders, enter the water from the beach area to the east of the rocky outcrop.
Crystal Cove offers a little bit of everything. The beach is popular with swimmers and surfers, kids can have a lot of fun exploring the tidal pools and sandy coves, and there are facilities for those who enjoy fishing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and even roller-blading.
Woodlands area nearby offer camping, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, with about 17 miles of double- and single-track trails. Bobcats and coyote are sometimes spotted, so campers and hikers are advised to be considerate and tread carefully through these animals' homes. Hiking the beach is also great. At low tide, you can walk along the 3 miles of coastline. Separating the sandy beaches are rocky points, which can be treacherous at high tide if there is a strong surf running, so you need to take care.
Crystal Cove really does offer something for everyone.
Rest rooms, nature center, drinking water, and showers.
Excellent tidal pools
2 major swimming beaches
Six major coves providing a mix of sandy and rocky shoreline.
The rocky outcroppings in abundance along the beach also provide excellent areas for diving, fishing and snorkeling.