North Laguna Beach

You'll never have enough time to explore all the coves and beaches tucked away in north Laguna Beach. Just relax and enjoy the spectacular views, hiking and bicycle trails, and a variety of water activities.

Even the drive along Pacific Coast Highway is a treat.

Listings are arranged from north to south.

Crystal Cove State Park
(also known as El Moro Canyon)

This 2,700 acre park in the San Joaquin Hills features over 3 miles of rocky coves and sandy beaches. It's located in the unincorporated area between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach.

In the southern section of the park, you'll find El Moro Canyon, with its grassy terraces, wooded canyons, and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Offshore, divers and snorkelers can enjoy the 1,140 acre underwater park. The beaches are popular with swimmers, surfers, tidepoolers and kayakers. Lifeguards are available. Parking fee.

Beaches at Crystal Cove State Park include:

Pelican Point

This is the northernmost entrance to the park. You'll find four bluff-top parking lots with beach access to Treasure Cove and Crystal Cove. There are paved bluff-top trails, overlooks, and steep beach access ramps. This is the best area in the park for those in wheelchairs. There are numerous accessible trails and plenty to see. The area boasts a major native plant restoration project. The Tidepool Walk is a five foot wide boardwalk that takes you from Parking Lot 2, through drifts of native plants. It ends at the bluffs overlooking the tidepools, where you'll enjoy sweeping ocean views. Facilities include outdoor showers, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, dressing rooms, and pit toilets on the beach. Popular activities include surfing, swimming, tidepooling, diving, snorkeling, kayaking and bike riding.

Los Trancos (Historic Crystal Cove)

Park at the large parking lot on the east side of Pacific Coast Highway. Cross the highway at the pedestrian crosswalk, or, better yet, take the access tunnel under the highway. Handicapped parking is available on the ocean side of the highway, in the Historic District. The Historic District is not quite as impressive as it sounds, simply a collection of funky beach cottages from the 20's and 30's. You'll also find a visitor center and a sandy beach with tidepools. Popular activities include swimming, tidepooling, diving, snorkeling, kayaking and bike riding. Facilities include wheelchair-accessible restrooms, dressing rooms, outdoor showers, and pit toilets on the beach.

Reef Point

From the parking lot, you can access three beach areas. Take the trail to the north, then down a steep ramp to the beach and tidepools at 3.5 Cove, or take the stairway to Scotchman's Cove. To the south, a steep ramp takes you to Muddy Creek, a popular body surfing spot. Popular activities include surfing, swimming, tidepooling, diving, snorkeling, kayaking and bike riding. Facilities include wheelchair-accessible restrooms, dressing rooms, outdoor showers, and pit toilets on the beach.

Camping is available at the El Moro entrance, but it's not for the faint of heart. You must hike inland about three miles, packing in your own water and supplies. The trail is mostly uphill, and can be strenuous. There's no direct access to the beach, though you will enjoy outstanding views from the trails.

For more information see Crystal Cove State Park.

Crescent Bay Beach and Park

Enjoy outstanding panoramic views from this park on the bluffs overlooking Crescent Bay Beach. This is a good spot for watching seals and sea lions lounging about on Seal Rock just offshore, and it's one of the best spots in Laguna Beach for watching passing gray whales during the winter and spring migrations.

The park is well-manicured and features paved wheelchair-accessible walkways. It's a lovely spot to take a stroll. The park is located off Cliff Drive in north Laguna Beach.

Crescent Bay is a large sandy cove with rocky outcrops and tidepools at either end. This is a popular beach for skim boarding, volleyball, skin and scuba diving, surf and rock fishing, body surfing, and body boarding.

Be aware that there may be rip tides, and the surf can be dangerous at times. Exercise caution when entering the water. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Volleyball nets and restrooms are available at the beach.

The beach is accessible from a stairway off Cliff Dr and from a steep ramp off Barranca St. There is free parking on the street or in adjacent residential neighborhoods.

North Laguna Beaches and Coves

In this section of Laguna Beach, you'll find a series of small sandy coves snuggled up against the bluffs. Offshore, the Marine Life Refuge is very popular with skin divers and scuba divers. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, but there are no facilities. Both free and metered street parking is available.

Shaw's Cove

This small, secluded beach is very popular with the Laguna Beach locals for swimming, boogie boarding, diving, tidepooling, and rock and surf fishing. Skimboarding is not allowed during the summer. For tidepools, try the south end of the cove. Take the walkway at the end of Fairview Street to get to the beach.

Fisherman's Cove and Diver's Cove

These two small coves are accessible from walkways 20 yards apart in the 600 block of Cliff Dr. Fishing is not allowed at Diver's Cove, and swimming can sometimes be hazardous at Fisherman's Cove, because of the rocks. Popular activities include swimming, diving, and body surfing. Diver's Cove is particularly popular with families.

Laguna Beach Marine Life Refuges

The coastline of Laguna Beach from Crystal Cove State Park down through Dana Point is part of a system of Marine Life Refuges. Because of the abundance and variety of plant and animal life in this area, it's a favorite for diving, snorkeling and tidepooling.

Although you should be careful not to disturb the habitat, fishing is allowed in most areas. The beaches along Heisler Park, however, are more protected, and fishing is not allowed there.

For more information see OC Marine Life Refuge Map.

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