nullCrystal Cove State Park is both a beach and a wilderness area with many hiking trails, beaches, and historic beach cottages.

This 3-mile stretch of beach along the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the state park system's newest additions.

Heading inland, the park covers 3000 acres of hills, canyons, and trails. It also includes primitive campgrounds that only backpackers can reach. 

To read about Crystal Cove trails, click on this link

nullThe beach system includes seven distinct areas. Each has its own character. The beaches connect during low tide – forming one long stretch of beach. But during high tide, the water blocks the way along the rocks.

Most beaches at the state park require a steep climb down the stairs or ramps towards the beach, so be prepared. You can avoid those steep inclines if you are at the Moro Campground.

Tip: Try to pack light for this beach trip. Just remember that you have to climb the same steep stairs or ramp on the way back up.

nullThe beaches here are great for surfing, body surfing, rock climbing, and sea life exploration at the tide pools

Along the 3-mile stretch of beaches is an excellent pedestrian and bike trail. You can take this very easy hike instead of the El-Moro Canyon trail. The advantage: great views of the cliffs and the ocean. The disadvantage: You can hear the cars along PCH.

For additional exploration, try the other beaches at this state park, each with a distinct personality:

Moro Beach

Moro is the southernmost beach, closer to Laguna Beach and across from the new Moro Campground. Park in the day-use lot and walk through a short tunnel to this easily Crystal Cove Boardwalk above the beachaccessible.

Moro Beach is popular with bodyboarders, stand-up paddleboarders, surf fishermen, and kayakers.

Reef Point

Reff Point is popular for swimming, surfing, scuba diving, and tidepools. It also has Little Treasure Cove and Muddy Creek, emptying out onto the beach from Muddy Canyon.

Historic District at Los Trancos Beach

This beach is home to the historic district with vintage cottages. You can snag a reservation at if you are lucky and persistent.

The parking lot is across the Pacific Coast Highway with a tunnel under the road. Walking through the tunnel to the cottages is a lovely experience – with green vegetation and running water.

At the cottages and right on the sand, you can enjoy a meal at The Beachcomber Café.

Pelican Point

The beach slopes gradually, so it’s a narrow beach at high tide and a wide beach with rocks in the surf at low tide. There are tide pools at the north end near Pelican Point, where scuba divers enter, searching for even more marine life.

Treasure Cove Beach

nullTreasure Cove Beach is popular with surfers and scuba divers exploring the reefs in Crystal Cove Underwater Park.

In the wall facing Treasure Cove is a cave that is accessible at lower tides. This area also has many tide pools to enjoy at low tide.

Little Treasure Cove

This beach is the northernmost boundary of Crystal Cove State Park. Little Treasure Cove is best when the rocks and tide pools are exposed at low tide.

On the bluffs above is an observation tower marking the best spot for whale watching.