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Orange County Beaches: Laguna Beach

The artsy, oceanside town of Laguna Beach boasts some of the most beautiful and active sea life and gorgeous beaches. While the area has a quirky vibe drawing many unique personalities and several of the beaches are Southern California hidden gems.

Laguna Beach gets crowded during summer and on holidays and parking becomes limited. During peak season, Laguna operates a free beach trolley that stops along the highway at all the popular beaches to pick up and drop off beach-goers and circles back to the public parking lots.

You can park for free at many of the beaches operated by the county with the OC Parks Pass.

Get free entry to State Beaches and Parks with the California Explorer Annual Pass.

Orange County Beaches: Laguna Beach

Agate Street Beach

Location: Ocean Way & Agate Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Agate Street Beach is a long, sandy beach that connects to neighboring beaches Pearl Street and Bluebird. Visitors can find beach access via the stairway at Agate Street and Ocean Way. There are rocky cliffs with with homes perched on the bluffs above the sand. A few rocky areas at the water’s edge offer opportunities to explore tide pools at low tide, but keep in mind that, like other OC beaches, this is a Marine Protected Area and collecting is against the law. Also during low tide, walk to the end of Pearl Street Beach to explore the Keyhole Arch Rock. There are no restrooms at this beach and board surfing is not allowed in the afternoons from June through September.

Aliso Beach

Location: Coast Highway & Aliso Way, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Also known as Aliso Beach County Park, this well equipped stretch of sand is a short walk from the large parking lot off Coast Highway. This popular beach park draws many visitors due to its collection of amenities that include a snack bar, restrooms and showers, a kids pirate-themed play structure, fire pits, and more. Aliso Creek flows through the sand to meet the ocean – while the shallow waters are enticing for kids who want to splash and play without fighting the surf, this water is primarily contaminated runoff and we highly encourage you to stay out of it. Speaking of surf, the waves can be unpredictable and powerful at this beach so stay close to little ones. There is a fee for parking in the lot here.

Anita Street Beach

Location: Gaviota Drive & Anita Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

This narrow beach is accessible via a ramp and stairway at the end of Anita Street. There are no facilities at Anita Street beach and parking is available on the surrounding streets. Due to the nature of the access point, Anita Street Beach gets less traffic than other neighboring beaches.

Bluebird Beach

Location: 1585 S Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Bluebird Beach is located at Coast Highway and Bluebird Canyon Drive, stretching out in front of the Surf & Sand Resort. Easily accessible for resort guests and local beach bums alike. Bluebird Beach connects to neighboring Agate Street Beach and Pearl Street Beach and beach goers can easily walk the long, narrow stretch of sand with Keyhole Arch Rock in the distance and Halfway Rock just offshore. There are no facilities available to the public on the beach here, but resort guests have access to all resort facilities. Street parking is available in the surrounding area.

Brooks Street Beach

Location: Brooks Street & Ocean Front, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

At the end of Brooks Street, take in the view at the seating area at the top of the stairs. Brooks is one of the most popular surf spots in OC and is not recommended for swimming or body boarding. Access the sand at the staircase and make your way down to the water. Explore the tide pools here, taking care not to damage the inhabitants of the rocky shore. For those who want to get in the water, head north to Oak Street Beach, or south to Cress Street Beach. There are no public restrooms here and metered parking is available nearby.

Christmas Cove Beach

Location: 30801 S Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Tucked below the bluff near the Montage Resort, you can access this gorgeous beach via the paved path at the bluff-top park. Follow the ramp down and to the right to get to Christmas Beach. If you go left, you’ll land at Goff Cove Beach. Take in the scenery and the beauty of the surrounding rock formations. Offshore, you may see charter boats in search of migrating whales. At the water’s edge, explore the rocky tide pools to see anemones, star fish, and other local marine life. Parking is available on the street along Coast Highway.

Cleo Street Beach

Location: 120 Cleo Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

This narrow beach is scattered with stones and boulders and is a popular spot for scuba divers seeking to explore the sunken remains of the Foss 125 barge. No public amenities are available here. Parking is available in the surrounding community on Cleo Street or S Coast Highway.

Crescent Bay Beach

Location: Where Cliff Drive intercepts at North Coast Highway (Cliff Drive and Barranca St)

Beautiful, multi-million dollar houses sit on top of golden sand, and reefs linger below the turquoise green water. This is Crescent Bay Beach. This beach is home to tide pools and “body-whomping,” the Laguna Beach specific term for body surfing in the water that slaps the shoreline. When the waters are calm, Crescent Bay is a good spot for snorkeling.

Crescent Bay is not necessarily suitable for splashing in the waves because of the sharp surf, however, the amenities are fit for a family day on the sand. This beach offers bathrooms, disability access, showers, plentiful parking, and skim boarders to admire. This beach is also dog friendly – they must be on leash and are welcome September 11 through June 14. They are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm June 15 – September 10. 

Cress Street Beach

Location: 150 Cress St

Cress Street Beach Laguna Beach CA
Steps to Cress St Beach

Do you get overwhelmed by crowded beaches? If so, Cress Street Beach should be your go to “castaway” beach. On top of the bluff sits million-dollar homes with picture perfect views, and rock formations create a sandy pocket beach below. There are strong rip currents here making for a less family friendly atmosphere. There also are no amenities found here. But dozens of wildlife species just offshore attract curious SCUBA divers. Public metered parking can be found on PCH. On-leash dogs are welcome September 11 through June 14. They are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10. 

Crystal Cove State Park

Location: 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach

Crystal Cove State Park is one of Orange County’s State Beaches. It features 3.2 miles of beach, 2,400 acres of undeveloped land, 57 campsites, and multiple hiking trails. There are three main entrance points to Crystal Cove: Pelican Point, Los Trancos, and Reef Point. Crystal Cove may be most well known for the historic district where visitors will find 46 cottages. Development of the cottages began in the 1920’s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district can be accessed by parking at the Los Trancos parking area and walking down to the sand where there is a restaurant and exhibit center.

For beachgoers, Crystal Cove includes seven coves and plenty of rocky areas for exploring tidepools. The Crystal Cove Underwater Park extends the length of the beach and is a Marine Protected Area. The waters here are quite popular for diving and snorkeling. Crystal Cove is ideal for long family beach days, surfing, paddle boarding, hiking, and camping. Dogs are not allowed on the beach or on hiking trails here. There is a 3-mile paved blufftop trail for walking and biking, and on-leash dogs are allowed on this paved trail.

Diver’s Cove

Location: 631 Cliff Drive

SCUBA divers flock to Diver’s Cove, a protected cove so even on the heaviest of days, the swells are mild and allow for significantly more divable days. A short distance from shore sits an active reef with native wildlife including everything from the California Garibaldi to sea stars to urchins. With the ability to easily access the shoreline, the cove is a family destination. The beach offers a small lot with metered parking and nearby street parking. Restrooms and additional amenities can be accessed a short walk away at Heisler Park.

Emerald Bay Beach

Location: Access through Emerald Bay Complex – 76 Valley Inn Drive
*Closed to the public

If you are lucky enough to be invited, this private beach offers a half-mile sandy beach to residents of Emerald Bay. This beach is the only one of its kind in the state. There is a park in the cove that boasts a grass area, tennis and volleyball courts, fire pits and picnic tables. While not public, amenities are aplenty so having an invite here is sure to be a treat. 

Fisherman’s Cove at Boat Canyon

Location: 665 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach

This south facing beach located at the bottom of Boat Canyon is also referred to as Boat Canyon Beach. Fisherman’s Cove is just north of Diver’s Cove with parking on Cliff Drive. While amenities are lacking, divers and snorkelers flock to the rock wall. At high tide this beach can be dangerous and is not the safest beach for swimmers. There are no amenities at this beach, but restrooms and other amenities are available at nearby Heisler Park. Fisherman’s Cove also has a large northern rock that can be dangerous during periods of high swells. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Goff Cove Beach

Location: 30801 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach

This south facing beach is protected by a large triangular rock, which allows for an inviting, family friendly destination. Goff Cove beach is perfect for SCUBA diving, looking through tide pools, sunbathing and swimming. This beach has numerous amenities including a grassy park, picnic tables, lifeguards, benches, and trails. Metered parking can be found on Pacific Coast Highway, Lot 8 off of Wesley Drive, or in Lot 7 by Montage Resort. Goff Cove is accessible through a stairway on a paved path where at the bottom if you turn left is Goff Cove and to the right is Christmas Cove Beach. Dogs are not allowed on the beach at Goff Cove.

Irvine Cove Beach

Location: Irvine Cove Drive and Riviera Drive, Laguna Beach

Irvine Cove is a private beach only accessible to members of the gated community, Irvine Cove in North Laguna Beach. Also known as Cameo Cove, this beach features two coves that are popular for SCUBA divers, surfing, swimming and skimboarding. There is a rockwall that is a visible division between the two coves during low tide. During the periods of low tide, beachgoers are blessed with a rock arch to access the northern cove. Amenities include showers, restrooms, picnic tables, volleyball courts and on-duty lifeguards. Due to the nature of this beach one may only access the coves as a guest of the gated community. Parking is available throughout the community.

Main Beach in Laguna Beach

Location: S Coast Highway and Broadway St, Laguna Beach

Main Beach is the most active and has the best energy for those who are looking for more amenities and accessibility. This southwest facing sandy beach allows for locals and tourists to enjoy a grassy park, picnic tables, boardwalk, volleyball and basketball courts, restrooms, on-duty lifeguards, and a playground. Metered parking is available along PCH (Highway 1), along side streets, and in nearby public parking lots. While surfing is not allowed here during the summer months, swimmers, sunbathers and skimboarders flock to Main Beach to soak up the Southern California experience. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Middle Man Cove

Location: 30801 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach

Nestled between Goff Cove and Treasure Island Beach is Middle Man Cove. This south-facing cove is not easily accessible. In order to see this beach, one must climb over rocks from either Goff Cove or Treasure Island making this a more difficult beach to enjoy. High tide makes the access points difficult so checking conditions is a must if beachgoers plan on attempting this Cove. There are not many amenities here except for a park and the rock arch but the seclusion makes this cove worthwhile. Parking here is best through the same access as Goff Cove and Treasure Island Beach, which can be found on Pacific Coast Highway at metered spots. Due to there being no lifeguards on duty and rip currents being strong, this beach is not recommended for swimming. Dogs are not allowed on the beach here.

Moss Street Beach

Location: 101 Moss Street, Laguna Beach

Moss Street Beach is another rocky, secluded beach that offers minimal amenities but is one of the best spots to snorkel and SCUBA dive because of the reefs near Moss Point and Woods Cove. The beach entrance has a block wall and a steep stairwell that opens into the small beach and rock shoreline. Divers love this beach for its active reefs and easy entries when conditions are mild. Tide pools are exposed during low tide for those looking to explore the rocks for marine life (remember to watch where you step, and please no collecting!). Parking is lacking here but metered parking can be found on the street and on Pacific Coast Highway. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Mountain Road Beach

Location: 101 Mountain Rd, Laguna Beach

Mountain Road Beach can be found at the bottom of a steep stairway. Next to the stairs is the Garden of Peace and Love where you’ll find a bench and a flower garden. Mountain Road is a narrow beach so during high tide the beach becomes washed out, but it’s a popular spot for diving. Despite how narrow the beach is, there is a permanently affixed lifeguard chair and lifeguards are on-duty during peak times. This beach offers no amenities and metered parking can be found on Mountain Road with additional parking along PCH. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Oak Street Beach

Location: Gaviota Drive and Oak Street, Laguna Beach

Oak Street Beach is rocky and narrow with no amenities. Oak Street doesn’t allow surfers, but just to the north is Brooks Street Beach where surfers can be found enjoying the waves. There are lifeguards on duty on the narrow SCUBA diver-friendly beach. The reef juts out from the beach making for a small sandy area for sunbathing. Metered parking can be found on Oak Street and PCH. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Pearl Street Beach

Location: 1791 Ocean Way, Laguna Beach

At the end of Pearl Street is a stairway that leads out to Pearl Street Beach. This quaint beach has an arch with a keyhole which gives this beach its nickname, Arch Cove. Surfing is not allowed here but tide pools are a huge draw at low tide. There are no amenities here, however there are lifeguards on-duty. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Picnic Beach at Heisler Park

Location: 400 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

Picnic Beach boasts a grassy park and lots of picnic tables with views of the blue-green crystal clear water. This beach sits next to Diver’s Cove making it a destination for SCUBA divers and snorkelers alike. Tide pools are a popular activity here as well during low tide. Amenities are plenty; beachgoers have access to restrooms, showers, trails, accessibility, and more street parking is available than in most of Laguna Beach. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Rockpile Beach

Location: 375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

On the southside of Heisler is Rockpile Beach, where rocks and boulders jut out of golden compacted sand and surfers flock to the waves. This is a more advanced surf spot, so novices need to pack up and find something a little more mild. Swimming is not allowed here, as it is a designated surf area. The rock formations during low tide allow for great tide pool exploration. Parking is available on Cliff Drive. On-leash dogs are welcome, but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Shaw’s Cove

Location: 1009 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

Shaw’s Cove is a tucked away cove that during high tide is barely a beach at all. The entrance is found between cliffside homes and is typically dusted by SCUBA divers. There are no amenities but the cove is active with sea life on the reef. Dogs are not allowed on the beach between 9am to 6pm from June 15 through Sept 10. With a flat rock, tide pool exploring is popular during low tide. 

Sleepy Hollow Beach

Location: 629 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Laguna Beach

Right off of Sleepy Hollow Lane lies a quiet beach where you are sure to find space to sunbathe even during the peak of summer. There are no amenities at Sleepy Hollow, so you’ll have to walk north towards Main Beach where you can find every amenity under the sun. SCUBA diving, sunbathing, and bodyboarding are popular here year-round and easily accessible. 

St. Ann’s Street Beach

Location: St. Ann’s Street, Laguna Beach

St. Ann’s Street Beach by far has the strongest rip current in Laguna. This location has two sections, one designated for swimming, and the other is the popular surf beach, Thalia. Due to St. Ann not being a steep beach, skimboarders do not frequent here. This beach does have lifeguards, making it safer during times of strong rip currents. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10. Metered parking is available on St. Ann Street and there are no amenities. 

Table Rock Beach

Location: Table Rock Drive, Laguna Beach

This skimboarder beach is tucked below homes atop the rocky cove. On the south end there is a rock arch that hides another cove and is the lone access point. This beach is difficult to access but is found at the end of a long stairwell on the sand. Parking is a trek from the Highway but worth it for the private cove. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10. There are also no amenities here and rip currents can be strong so swimming is not advised.

Thalia Street Beach

Location: 155 Thalia Street, Laguna Beach

Novice surfer? This is the spot to be for Laguna Beach surfing. There is nothing like Thalia Street Beach for surfing because of its consistency and calm waves that can be counted on year-round. Found at the end of Thalia Street, surf is the only activity allowed here because of how popular it is. There are no amenities here and during the winter months much of the sand gets washed away, leaving the beach quite rocky. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Thousand Steps Beach

Location: Coast Highway and 9th Avenue, Laguna Beach

Across the way from 9th Ave is the beach access to Thousand Steps Beach. The long stairwell is so long that many think there are literally 1000 steps. Once to the sand, there is a rock arch which during low tide opens up to Totuava Beach (see below). This beach is a popular destination for SCUBA divers, surfers, snorkelers, and skimboarders. Amenities include showers, restrooms, volleyball courts, and a lifeguard on duty. Dogs are not allowed at Thousand Steps Beach. Parking can be found along the street here.

Three Arch Bay Beach

Location: Coast Hwy and Vista Del Sol, Laguna Beach
No public access

Formally named Mussel Cove beach, Three Arch Bay beach is only accessible via three stairways located in the private gated community of Three Arch Bay. On the north end of the beach are three natural arch ways giving this bay its name. Due to the nature of this beach there are no amenities and rip currents can be strong. 

Totuava Beach

Location: Coast Hwy and 9th Ave

Situated between Table Rock Beach and Thousand Steps Beach is Totuava Beach. This beach can only be reached at low tide when the water goes out far enough to walk around the rock walls, or crawl through a small tunnel cave for access. Because of the nature of the tide, access to this beach can be dangerous even after entrance. There is currently no public access stairway. There are no amenities here and the most popular activities include sunbathing and exploration of the rocks. Parking can be found on 9th Avenue. Dogs are not allowed at Totuava Beach.

Treasure Island Beach

Location: Wesley Drive and Coast Highway; near the Montage Resort

This long beach stretches to Aliso Beach Park and has some of the clearest coastline in Laguna. This beach truly is a treasure. Snorkelers flock here because of the crystal clear water and its sandy shoreline. And the offshore rocks create a bit of a breakwater, so the waves are a bit calmer here than at neighboring Aliso Beach. Treasure Island Beach is also popular for tidepooling and sunbathing. Treasure Island offers various amenities including bathrooms, wheelchair accessibility, grassy parks, and a parking garage off Wesley Drive. Additional parking is available along the street and at nearby Aliso Beach Park, though it’s a bit of a walk if you park here. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Victoria Beach

Location: Victoria Drive, Laguna Beach next to the address 2713 Victoria Drive

Pirate Tower. That’s all locals need to hear and bam, you’re at Victoria Beach. There is also a man made pool that brought the Instagram crowd. If Instagram isn’t your thing this is a popular spot for skimboarders and for those who want some level of seclusion. Parking on Pacific Coast Highway is smart and then walking to the end of Victoria Drive leads to a stairwell that takes you down to Victoria Beach. The beach access point is inside of the neighborhood and it can be a bit of a walk from the Highway so be sure to scout out the stairwell before you park.

There are no facilities here, so you’ll also want to use the restroom beforehand. However, there is an emergency vehicle path and public walkway at the end of Dumond Drive. This access point is an easier walk from some of the parking along PCH. Victoria Beach has a volleyball court, the pool, the tower and is popular for swimming, snorkeling and skimboarding. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

West Street Beach

Location: Coast Highway and West Street

West Street Beach is a popular gay beach that offers numerous amenities. There are volleyball courts at the end of the beach and at the north end is Aliso Point where there are tide pools during low tide. The north point has a cobblestone path which is commonly known as Camel Point Beach. Parking is available on Pacific Coast Highway and there aren’t any further amenities. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

Woods Cove Beach

Location: Ocean Way and Diamond Street

Woods Cove lies between two rocky points below million dollar homes with views of the crystal clear California water. Tide pools are exposed during low tide and SCUBA diving is popular, though swimming can be unsafe as rip currents can be dangerous here. Parking is available on PCH and on Ocean Way. Lifeguards are on-duty and high tide swallows the sand making this a dangerous beach at these times. On-leash dogs are welcome but they are not allowed on the sand from 9am – 6pm between June 15 and September 10.

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Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith is lives in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side.