Crystal Cove State Park is a premiere destination for adventurous visitors to hike, board, camp, and swim among the natural beauty of the state park. This scenic national landmark is a must visit for those who like their vacations outdoors. Located in beautiful and historic Laguna Beach, California, Crystal Cove State Park stretches just over three miles along the Pacific Ocean coastline and encompasses almost 4,000 acres.
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It was established as a state park in 1979 and has been a favorite of hikers, scuba divers, and other nature fans since then. There have been over 180 different species of bird observed in the state park at different times of the year, some rare and endangered! The state park has also served as inspiration for many “plein air” painters, which is a specific brand of landscape painting that originated in France. It is still visited by many landscape painters today.
The largest attraction at Crystal Cove the natural beauty located there. Guests come for the outdoors, natural experience and choose their own adventures based on what they are looking for and how much time they plan on spending. Generally speaking, the attractions are divided into the beaches, hiking trails, and camping.
Beaches - Crystal Cove, as can be assumed by its name, is renowned for its beautiful beaches and coves. A map of them all is available on the state park website. The three main beaches to make sure to check out are Moro Beach (easily accessible through a short tunnel, this beach is most popular with body boarders, day visitors, and stand up paddle boarders as well as kayakers and surf fisherman), Reef Point (featuring a trail that leads to 3.5 Cove, a well-known body surfing area), and Pelican Point (with a coastal nature walk through the bluffs). There is also a tide chart on the website, so guests can plan the best time to visit. Guests visiting should make sure to follow all ocean safety guidelines.
Hiking - Hiking is another popular activity for people visiting Crystal Cove. There is a map with all hiking trails available on the website, as the state park has 18 miles of trails leading visitors through 2,400 beautiful acres of wilderness and coastal sage. For guests who plan to camp out, there are three options for environmental camping (one canyon and two higher elevation). The upper, higher elevation trails offer hikers views of mountains, vistas, and the Pacific Ocean. The lower elevation trails lead hikers through woodlands with oak and sycamore trees and the scenic Moro Creek. All trails have great likelihood of spotting many diverse species of wildlife!
Camping - Many visitors to the state park choose to camp on the grounds. There are options for camping: Moro campground features electricity and bathrooms, while some of the other campsites are considered primitive. Reservations are required in advance, as well as a deposit. No pets are allowed. Please read all rules and regulations prior to reserving - especially those concerning trash and fires. Reservations can be made as early as 4 days in advance and as far out as 7 months.
The natural beauty at the state park makes for a great, interactive field trip experience for students of all ages and grades. The curriculum based education programs, that are available for school groups as well as other educational groups, are offered year-round. Reservations are required in advance and, in order to make sure the park is preserved, they are limited to one group in each area per day. If the class would like a guided tour of the state park, there is a small fee that applies to both students and adult chaperones (one is recommended for every 10 students). There is a maximum number of students as well, which is 60. Field trip teaching guides are available on the website for download prior to arrival at the state park. These guides can help teacher’s lesson plan as well as preparing the students for what they may experience. Contact Crystal Cove for additional information and to reserve space.
Picnics are always welcome for guests visiting Crystal Cove, and there are picnic tables located close to most of the parking lots. The Historic District also is home to the Beachcomber Cafe and the Shake Shack. Visitors are responsible for picking up after themselves and helping to preserve the state park.
Crystal Cove State Park, 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651, Phone: 949-494-3539