Crystal Cove State Park is a large California state beach with over three miles of waterfront that Orange County visitors will enjoy, not just for the amazing beaches, but for the history and nature too. This park, which straddles the city border of Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, has several different beach access points and separately named beaches (see the list of beaches below). The central part of the shore has colorful and rough looking, yet wonderfully restored historic cottages that are open to the public. The nature lovers will enjoy abundant tidepools and trails that lead up into the hills.
At lower tides the park’s beaches can be combined into one long beach walking route, but at high tide when the sand is mostly wet, it is best to access each one individually. When the tide is out, there are tide pools to discover at each of the rocky points of this state beach.
There area paved pathways on the bluff above the beaches that allow visitors to walk from beach to beach at any tide. Several incredible coastal viewpoints looking down on this mostly undeveloped shoreline. Inland this park has an extensive network of hiking and mountain biking trails that lead to higher elevation vista points and backcountry tent camping areas.
At the center of the park shoreline is the Crystal Cove Historic District where there is a restaurant and bar, The Beachcomber Café and Bootlegger Bar. Behind the beach at this location there are refurbished old cottages that the state parks department rents out to the public. Reservations are required and the soonest you can get one is six months from now.
Camp spots in the park’s Moro Canyon Campground are easier to get than the cottages. Like the cottages they must be reserved online through the ReserveCalifornia system.
State park rules prohibit dogs on the beaches and the backcountry trails. They are allowed on paved paths and in other paved areas of the park if they are on a leash.
See the list of the six different beaches at Crystal Cove State Park below.